Fifteen years ago, while working out at a gym in Philadelphia, a song was broadcast across the sound system. As I listened to the words, I just about dropped the weights I was trying to lift over my head.
What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us?
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home?
The song was a huge hit, actually the only hit by Joan Osbourne. But I think its popularity was the result of the way the song tapped into an inner longing all of us feel.
We all want God to understand us. We all want him to be like us.
Listening to the lyrics of the song, I kept thinking, But he is one of us! He did become a slob like one of us! He does understand!!
Theologians call this incarnation. It means God did indeed become one of us. He set aside the privileges of heaven in order to clothe himself with humanity. God in the flesh, or as my friend Gary Reddish calls it, “God con carne.”
As we prepare for Christmas in two days, I invite you to spend a little time meditating on a passage of Scripture that clearly presents the incarnation—and share how it speaks to you:
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Reading this passage, I’m struck by God’s relentless, unstoppable love. He made himself nothing—nothing!—in order to reach me. But he did it anyway. This takes my breath away. It inspires me to imitate him, but at the same time I know I’ll never equal it.
How is God speaking to you in this passage?
Beginning January 1, we’re going to read through the Bible in a year…and then discuss it as a community. For more information click here. To make it more meaningful for you and others, invite your friends to join the conversation.