By: Sarah Norman
Why did God become one of us? Couldn't there have been a different way? Why would a great, all-powerful, almighty God leave His throne, put on skin and come to dwell among sinners, living with sadness, grief, pain and poverty?
I'm sure the disciples asked this question. They learned their whole lives about the coming Messiah. They believed the Messiah would come as a ruler, to set up His kingdom here on earth. They believed He was coming to overthrow the Roman empire and make the Jewish nation great again, as in the days of King David and King Solomon. They picked and chose the prophecies of old that they wanted to associate with who their Messiah was. When Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, just a few days before His crucifixion, the disciples had no idea what was coming. They believed they were about to be apart of a revolution. They believed the people shouting “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel!” (John 12:13) were praising the man who would replace Caesar. They believed things were about to change, but they had no idea exactly what they were in for.
Jesus did come to change things, but not in the way the disciples had grown up believing. He turned the world upside down. He came to show the emptiness of their religiosity and show them what it truly meant to follow God. In John's gospel, he begins with saying “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and without Him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in Him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it,” (John 1:1-5). Jesus is the Word who was there in the beginning. He was there, creating all the things of this world, the sun, moon, stars, water, land, trees, birds, fish, animals and people. He created all the things and declared them good. He had a relationship with Adam and Eve that was severed by sin. And then Jesus became the answer to that severed relationship. He stepped into the broken lineage of Adam to make that relationship whole again. He came into the world as a light shining into the depths of our darkest places. Where that light shone, life was given.
Later in that chapter, John writes, “The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ,” (1:17). Up until that point religion was ritual and observance. It was legalistic, and performance based. The purpose of the law given by Moses was to show the people that they would never be good enough on their own, to show their desperate need for a Savior. It was so they could see what they had been missing all their lives when they finally met Jesus. John says Jesus came to bring grace and truth. He released us from following rituals with no purpose. He came to give us freedom based on what He did for us, based solely on His grace, not by anything we could do to earn it. And He came to have a relationship with us.
It's that relationship aspect of our faith that can sometimes be so difficult to understand. Why would God want to have a relationship with me? I've spent so much of my life running from Him, doing what I want to do, worshiping what I want to worship, living how I want to live. What does God want with me? There was a time in my life I asked these questions often. I knew Biblical truths, I knew the laws and the rules. I understood the religion aspect of my faith. But it was so hard for me to understand why He would want a relationship with me, someone who had spent so long running from Him. Galatians 4 tells us that Jesus came to earth, died for us so we could be adopted into God's family, so we could be heirs alongside Christ to the kingdom. Verses 6-7 say “And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.” When we choose a relationship with Christ, we are adopted into His family. We are no longer slaves to our sin. We no longer have to live the empty life this world offers, or legalistic religion offers. We can live a life of freedom belonging in the family of God.
So why did God choose to come to this earth, to become one of us? He came to show us that God wants us to know Him as Father. He came to show us that we are meant to be in relationship with Him. He came to release us from the rigidity of the law and show us how to live in His grace. He did not come for the pomp and circumstance of setting up an earthly kingdom in the way His disciples believed He would. He came to prepare us for the kingdom that is to come, the Heavenly kingdom in which we are heirs along with Him.