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God’s unchanging plans… and unexpected ways (cont.)

December 7, 2010

Yesterday we began to explore the question of why the manger? We began back in Genesis 3, so take a quick look at that post if you missed it!

The Passover was just the beginning of the lessons God had in store for the descendants of Abraham. As God brought them out of Egypt, He formed them into a nation with a “constitution” unique to them – laws and regulations for how to live as a unique theocracy where their holy God was their King and actually lived among them. The law constantly pointed out to the people that they were in the presence of a holy God – and they were inherently unclean because of sin and the broken state of this world.

They could not approach their holy God; even though He lived among them in a carefully planned Tabernacle, no one could approach Him, no one could pull back the rich tapestries of curtains and march into His awesome presence without it costing their very lives. No matter how hard they tried, they could not make themselves holy enough to regain the communion that was lost back in the Garden. They could not keep themselves clean. They could not sacrifice away their sin and the evil that lurked in their hearts.

As Israel became established in the land God had promised them and eventually demanded to have a human king to rule over them, it quickly became clear that no mere human king could save them. Every human leader failed, in small ways and often very dramatic ways – every human leader was flawed and sinful. No king could lead them to victory over their own sin; no king could provide them freedom from oppression and the brokenness of the human condition, let alone crush the serpent and reclaim what had been lost in the Garden.

They needed a better sacrifice – a Sacrifice much greater, much more costly, than any animal from their flock. They needed a better Priest who did not have to atone for his own sins before offering atonement for theirs. They needed a better King who could reign righteously without end and conquer the invisible enemies as well as the visible.

There was only one solution: God the Son Himself would come. He would dwell among us, not removed and separated from us, but as one of us. He would humble Himself, wrap Himself in flesh, walk with us, suffer among us, touch us, heal us, and ultimately die in our place as the one perfect Passover Lamb. Starting with the manger, God would fulfill centuries of promises – promises to Adam, Abraham, David; promises given through prophets, events hinted at throughout Israel’s history.

By becoming small, He would reclaim everything that was lost. By coming quietly to the outcasts He would change the course of history. He would come first as a suffering servant, and someday He would return as the conquering King of kings.

God’s great plan began to unfold in Bethlehem that night in the unlikeliest of ways, the most unexpected of places… and all heaven rejoiced at the sight of it.

Related reading:

God’s Big Story – a summary of God’s plan from Genesis to Revelation

The Word Became Flesh

Yahweh Has Come to Dwell Among Us (parts one, two, and three)

We hope you will continue to join us as we prepare our hearts and reflect on this Christmas season! If you haven’t done so before, please consider becoming a subscriber so you don’t miss any future posts!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. stephanieshott permalink
    December 7, 2010 9:23 am

    KristI ~ I love the whole paragraph about our need for a “BETTER” sacrifice! As I read this, I kept hearing the verse in that song that says, “It’s such a strange way to save the world.” We may never understand why the Lord chose the path from the manger to the cross to save us from our sins, but I’m so thankful He loved us so much that He did!

    • Kristi Stephens permalink*
      December 7, 2010 9:24 am

      Amen, Stephanie!! 🙂

  2. December 7, 2010 2:58 pm

    Love that you point out He became small and came quietly! So thankful for Christ’s humbleness in birth, life, and His death.

  3. December 8, 2010 11:01 pm

    I love this line: “…it quickly became clear that no mere human king could save them.” And, yet, even now, we still can forget this truth!

    All of this is beautiful: “They needed a better sacrifice – a Sacrifice much greater, much more costly, than any animal from their flock. They needed a better Priest who did not have to atone for his own sins before offering atonement for theirs. They needed a better King who could reign righteously without end and conquer the invisible enemies as well as the visible.

    There was only one solution: God the Son Himself would come. He would dwell among us, not removed and separated from us, but as one of us. He would humble Himself, wrap Himself in flesh, walk with us, suffer among us, touch us, heal us, and ultimately die in our place as the one perfect Passover Lamb.”

    I agree with Sandra; Christ’s humility is so beautiful, so convicting, and so powerful!

    Thank you, thank you for these insightful past two posts!

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