Jesus, the creator of all that exists, wether invisible or visible, entered into His own creation. That is something absolutely mind-blowing. It, rightly said, should inspire awe. Not the skater kid, neo-punk, sideways cap wearing hipster’s definition of awe– read here “awesome”–but the feeling a father has when he sees his only daughter on her wedding day.
Picture–He has toiled for countless years, toiling over teaching her how to parse this world’s struggles, how to live a life worthy to be called full, what kind of a man to look for(by his example no doubt).
Then after her courtship/dating period, finally being given that man who will exemplify all that he taught her, giving her to him to continue the God given duty, honor and delight of perpetuating the image bearing race known as humanity.
Or perhaps picture a mother holding her new born child in her arms. That indeed is filled with awe. She has gone through months of changes; changes to her psyche, her body, and her very way of life. Doubtless she has contemplated the weight of the changes set before her in the months prior, but they pale in comparison to the reality of what lies ahead. All she sees is the light at the end of the long and tumultuous tunnel that is pregnancy.
The long nights awake in suffering mood swings, hot flashes, and the like. The arguments most likely had with her husband(the father) about how to raise the child, what to name it, schooling, and all of the other blessings that come with parenthood. After what possibly could’ve been multiple hours of labor, now she has successfully done what billions of women have want to do throughout human existence, bring another life into the world.
And she stares at what has come forth, something totally different and yet all to similar to her… a child.
But even these two examples, both I have wanted to witness and experience for my own life, strain to comprehend the absolute majesty that is the incarnation of the Son of God in human flesh.
In time, feeling the same struggles we go through. In time, growing in maturity and knowledge as we do. Being misunderstood, mistreated, spit upon, mocked, and “left for dead” by even his closest friends… even betrayed.
And yet there is something all together curious about this whole situation. It had to happen.
Not in a general way. As if to say, “Sooner or later it’ll take place. I’ll have it occur, no specifics really, just life, death, and resurrection.” The gospels have a much different view. The authors of the New Testament have a very different take on His life. The fulfillment of it and why it had to happen just the way it did. It was foreordained to take place in precisely the manner with all the “pitfalls” that came with it.
The sheer quantity of times the words “this took place to fulfill”(Matt 1:22, 21:4); “this was to fulfill”(Matt 2:15, 8:17, 12:17, 13:35, John 18:9, 18:32, 19:24, ) “the prophecy of x is fulfilled”(Matt 4:14, 13:14, John 12:38) and so on, is daunting. The specificity of the usage of these statements is even more surprising. Some are direct quotes, some are meta-naratives of massive themes running throughout the Old Testament(Tenach), and some are held together with such minutia that to alter one theme, concept, or word order, would be to throw the authors whole point on its head.
This is not to mention, the argument from the author of Hebrews; The nature of His, “better sacrifice”(Heb 9:23), the mediation of His ‘better priesthood'(Heb 7:11, 12, 24), the eternality of this person born of a woman(Heb 1, 4:15, 5:5-6, 8-10, 7:3, etc). To attempt to overthrow the finitude of the atonement presented in the book of Hebrews, or to give even a possibility that Jesus could have failed in His mission, is tantamount to saying you have no hope. God doesn’t(as scripture makes mention of multiple times) deal in possibilities, only certainties; when it comes to His foreknowledge, ordaining things, and specifically atoning for the sins of His people.. This is why it said often, “He can swear by no one, other than Himself.”
Or perhaps in the Gospel according to John; Jesus’ eternally existing as God and next to God(John 1, 17), His equality with the Father(John 10, 14, 17), the Spirit(John 14-17), and the Spirit somehow emanating from both Himself and the Father(John 14-17), and by this all three dwelling within those He has freed from the throngs of this world’s corruption and hatred of the very self existent God who created it).
I could go on…
And I will, only to mention the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ which he gave to His angel to give to His servant John on the island of Patmos. To delve into the richness that lies therein, I do not have time. But for the purposes of this small blog article I will mention three in brief.
The comparison of Jesus in Revelation 1 and the picture of Yahweh in Isaiah 6, Ezekiel 1, and Daniel 7(including the son of man figure riding on the clouds).
The authority God has in the seal, trumpet and bowls; that he knows what they consist of, when they occur, and how. This is not a diatribe on my interpretation of each, just that God’s knowledge of them is precise and unalterable.
Nothing in Revelation is done by anyone unless authority to do so is given to them, and that authority given is from “Him who sits on the throne, and the Lamb”.
One of my pastors often says a phrase to help bring a small bit more clarity to this, as we see it, conundrum. The nature of the revelation of inspired Scripture itself is thus; how those men(and possibly women) spoke with their own unique voices, in the situations and times they lived, with all of the frailties and shortcomings of grammar, syntax, and genre; with all of that, they communicated exactly what God purposed them to say and with absolutely no compulsion or strings being pulled. There was no trance state or automatic writing, alla Islam or the early 20th century spiritualists. It was, dare I say not much different than sitting down and writing a letter to a beloved friend. Or perhaps, collecting together a wise teacher’s lessons and pericopes into a structured cohesive whole to study and grasp its significance.
I ask, in closing five questions:
- Is God in control of all things; can He stop something from happening?
- Could Jesus have failed, or chosen differently?
- Did Jesus, and by extension do you, make real decisions that are influenced by a multitude of factors extending to the extreme past of your life and others?
- If you still believe the expression, “free will”, if it this “freedom” that is utilized for salvation why can it not be used to jettison said salvation?
- What are some implications, and further, are you grasping what I am asking of you to contemplate?
“Meticulous providence”, that is one of my favorite phrases to describe what I feel of God and His workings with His creation, in time.
*inspired by this webcast, start at 1:34:00*