Sunday, December 9, 2012

{{the Word became flesh}}

Already a week into Advent, and I am just now posting this year's daily Scriptures.  {I put up my tree late this year, too--such is the life of a busy student/career girl!}  Anyway, the readings are embedded below if you want to follow along!

We've been doing a study on Advent for our Sunday morning youth small groups at Walnut Hill, and this morning we talked about the Incarnation and what it means for us that "the Word became flesh..." (John 1:14). 

As I was developing the material the past couple of weeks, there were several practical applications that struck me: 1.) Jesus is fully God, so he deserves our worship, 2.) Jesus inhabited a body, so God cares what we do with our bodies, 3.) Jesus "moved into the neighborhood," (as Eugene Peterson has paraphrased John 1:14 in the Message), so it matters how we inhabit the places we live.  Wow--it was a lot to cover in one morning!

But before we launched the small groups, I shared with students for a few minutes about why Jesus had to come at all.  I tried to connect for them the two dimensions of God's Word--written (the Bible) and living/Incarnate (Jesus!).  God's written Word is manifest in the Person of Jesus Christ who comes to fulfill the Law and Prophets (Matthew 5:17) and to accomplish what the law could not do (Romans 8:3).

Fittingly, one of tonight's Advent Scriptures is Psalm 115.  Last year, I blogged about a song called "One Winter's Night," that has truly become my favorite-of-all-time Christmas carol.  There is a line in the bridge that confused me a bit when I first discovered the tune:

the gods we trusted and became
will find no solace here

The gods we trusted and became?  This was an odd concept to me.  But that same week, I read Psalm 115 and it all made sense:
But their idols are silver and gold,
made by the hands of men.
They have mouths but cannot speak,
eyes, but they cannot see...
Those who make them will be like them,
and so will all who trust in them.
(vv. 4-5, 8)
The point is, we become what we worship.  Since last Christmas, I've noticed that this theme of becoming like our idols is repeated often in Scripture, especially in the Psalms and in Isaiah.  And in my Old Testament class at Gordon-Conwell this fall, Dr. Carol Kaminski has lectured on this concept a good deal. 

At the first of our three class meetings of the semester, Dr. Kaminski said, "We have to learn to listen to the voice of God in our lives, otherwise we treat Him like some dumb idol." 

For this YHWH God has always been a speaking God.  His Word went forth as He created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1-2). And when gave Moses the Law at Mount Sinai.  And through the prophets when the people were so steeped in idolatry that they would not listen and repent.  

And finally, when He could stand it no longer, God spoke through the Word Incarnate, Jesus, "the image of the invisible God" (Colossians 1:15).   
{The Word became flesh!}

May you hear Him speak this Christmas.

Now that is God shouting. You can't mistake it. Christ is God, and you see every attribute of God manifest in him. His judgment, his justice, his love, his wisdom, his power, his omniscience. It's all there in person as we see Him walk through the world, working his work, living his life. The fullness of God may be seen as it was never seen before in Jesus Christ.
John MacArthur 

Advent Readings 2012