What You’ve Missed…
* The Israelites encounter close to 400 years of radio silence from God when it seems He stops speaking to His people. We can’t go 5 minutes without checking our phones to know what’s going on. They went 400 years. Great, now I just feel pathetic.
* The Old Testament is old news. We’ve rounded the bend and now find ourselves in the New Testament.
* John the Baptist invents baptism, lives like a sketchy homeless dude in the woods, eats weird hippie food, wears weird hippie clothes, and tells people to prepare for the coming of God. Basically he was like the weirdest dude ever.
Daily Readings: Mark 1, Luke 1 and 3, John 1, Matthew 1
I remember back when I took Latin in 6th grade, and I heard the myths of the Greek gods and how they would come down to Earth, interact with people, then go back to Mount Olympus. I remember wondering if the Greeks actually believed that stuff, and if they did, wondering how anyone could be so dumb. (Though they were on to something with those togas. They basically walked around in Snuggies. I think it’s worth it to revisit that idea.)
But those Greek legends are just made up stories. Everyone knows they aren’t real. No one actually thinks all-powerful gods, who created everything, come down from their heavenly thrones disguised as people to walk among us. No one who saw Thor thinks it’s real. (Mostly because that guy is waaaay to pretty to be as tough as he is.)
However, the New Testament starts out with this exact premise. God came down from His heavenly throne, in the form of a man, to walk among his own creation. Think about that for a second. If you’re a Christian, it means you might have more in common with the mythology of the ancient Greeks than modern science. It means the idea that the Greeks might have been crazy for believing what they did applies to you and me as well.
“In the beginning, the Word (Jesus) already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him…So the Word became human and made his home among us.” John 1:1-14
So what happens next? An angel visits Mary saying,
“You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus…The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.” Luke 1:29-35
Long story short, Jesus is born. (And if you’re looking for a totally awesome, action-adventure blockbuster version of the story not found in the Bible, check out Unholy Night by Seth Grahame-Smith. He’s the dude who wrote Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and clearly someone I need to be friends with.) So Jesus is born. So God becomes human. So what?
Let’s just stop and think about what this means for a minute. For one thing, it means God pooped. A lot. That’s crazy. It also means he cried as a kid. God cried. It means He had to do chores when He didn’t want to growing up. It also means He was vulnerable to disease, to physical pain and injury and to death. Think about the risk He took in living in such a volatile and dangerous world.
I’m not here to debate the whole virgin birth thing, or to discus whether Jesus was God or a prophet, or neither. I believe He was God. I’m interested in exploring the idea of what that looked like, what it says about the character of a God who behaves in such a way as to intentionally make Himself vulnerable. To lower himself, even to the point of having to live under the restrictions of a human body. It’s crazy.
I can only wonder if God had to learn to share, a value He Himself created. I wonder if He was ever interested in girls. I wonder if He ever had His feelings hurt. I wonder if He loved stories, staying up late, and sneaking out of the house at night. I wonder if He loved playing with fire, and if when He realized that He created fire, He thought, “Dude I’m glad I invented this. Fire is awesome!” (Because it is. I don’t understand how people aren’t pyromaniacs.)
God as man opens up so many ideas. God was hungry. God was tired. God was happy, sad, confused. And the craziest one, God learned from people. Let me repeat that. God. Learned. From. People. That thought alone blows my mind. I’m just glad I wasn’t Jesus’ dad, because I would have taught God to pick His nose, take lots of naps and to make Taco Bell a central part of His diet.