What God Has Said
Thursday of Advent 4
22 December 2016
God hides His omnipotence under the humility of the flesh. In this way He makes foolish human wisdom. The human mind thinks it knows very well what is impossible and will enforce this untested prejudice even upon the God who spoke the human mind into being. Imagine! The mind that God lovingly created now deigns to dictate to God. This is what parents used to call "back talk."
 
Our ignorance leads us to talk back to the One who spoke us into existence. Instead of blessing God with our speech (Ps 145:21), our dictating curses the weakness of God in becoming man. It pronounces impossible that the one who is eternal should come into time and become a man for us men and for our salvation. It judges God's wisdom as foolishness when He who is omnipotent refuses to exercise it but makes perfect His power in weakness. It mocks God's death in Christ as a fiction, a myth; perhaps literarily poignant, but at bottom a lie. God would never permit any such thing to happen to Him, or so the perverse human mind dictates.
 
Our human depravity is shown up for its self-loathing in this cogitation about God. We humans conclude that God could not have become man in Christ because we cannot imagine God to have gone to such extraordinary lengths for sinners like us. Could the eternal God really have chosen to be constrained by time? Could the omnipotent God really have chosen to be born into weakness of the virgin? The miraculous answer to this query is an exultant, "Yes. Amen. Yes." The sinless one is given for the sinner. The omnipotent one is given for the powerless. The eternal one is given for the mortal. All our thinking "about" God is worthless. Instead, let us confess what God has said both about us and for us. 

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Hilary of Poitiers
 
"Godless unbelief finds it very hard to apprehend the true faith. Its capacity for devotion has never been expanded by belief, and is too narrow to receive a full understanding of the truth. Hence the unbelieving mind cannot grasp the great work done by God in being born as man to accomplish the salvation of mankind; in the work of its salvation it fails to see the power of God. It thinks of the travail of His birth, the feebleness of infancy, the growth of childhood, the attainment of maturity, of bodily suffering and of the cross with which it ended, and of the death upon the cross; and all this conceals His true Godhead from their eyes. Yet He had called into being all these capacities for Himself, as additions to His nature; capacities which in His true divine nature He had not possessed. Thus He acquired them without loss of His true divinity, and ceased not to be God when He became man; when He, who is God eternally, became man at a point in time.
 
"Unbelief cannot see an exercise of the true God's power in His becoming what He was not before, yet never ceasing to be His former self. And yet there would have been no acceptance of our feeble nature, had He not by the strength of His own omnipotent nature, while remaining what He was, come to be what He previously was not. What blindness of heresy, what foolish wisdom of the world, which cannot see that the reproach of Christ is the power of God, the folly of faith the wisdom of God! So Christ in your eyes is not God because He, who was from eternity, was born, because the unchangeable grew with years, the impassible suffered, the living died, the dead lives; because all His history contradicts the common course of nature! Is not all this simply to say that He, being God, was omnipotent? The Old Testament teaches us that, when God clothed Himself in infirmity, He lost not His Godhead. The types of the Old Testament are our convincing assurance of the mysteries of the Gospel faith."

Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, 5.18
1 Corinthians
1:18-25

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart." Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.
 
For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (ESV)
Prayer
Merciful and everlasting God the Father, who did not spare Your only Son but delivered Him up for us all that He might bear our sins on the cross, grant that our hearts may be so fixed with steadfast faith in our Savior that we may not fear the power of any adversary; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
 
For all Christians that they might prepare properly for the season of the incarnation of our Lord by a time of true repentance during Advent
 
For Tasha Eisenhower and Jack Ogden, who are being married today, that the Lord Jesus would be with them throughout their days
 
For all travelers that they would be kept safe on land, sea, and in the sky
 
For all peace officers that they would be upheld in their office to keep earthly tranquility 
Art: VASARI, Giorgio Annunciation (1564-67)
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
© Scott Murray 2016
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
Sent by smurray@mlchouston.org in collaboration with
Constant Contact