“So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.” — John 1:14, New Living Translation
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” — Philippians 2:5-7, New International Version
Today’s Reading: John 1:14-51
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“Imagine this: You volunteer for a science experiment where you’re zapped with a laser and transformed into a baby. One moment, you’re an adult with independence and emotional intelligence. Next, you’re completely helpless and dependent on another human for survival.
Humbling, right? No one in their right mind would voluntarily make such a switch. Even for one day, that transformation would place you in a terrible situation.
Though this scenario could never fully represent what it was like for Jesus to become human, it might help you imagine aspects of what it might have been like.
When He came to earth and became human, Jesus lowered Himself far below His position in heaven. He willingly took on the limitations that come with humanity when He took on human form. He who is omnipresent (present everywhere) took on a body with legs — legs that got sore, tired and dirty. You can imagine how a human body and experience also differed from His omnipotence (unlimited power) and omniscience (knowing everything). He who made His home with the Father in heaven was willing to be laid in a manger for animals.
God became human. Not just any human, but the only sinless one to ever walk the face of the earth. And unlike any other human, Jesus’ purpose in coming was completely sacrificial. He came to take on the penalty of sin for humanity by living perfectly and dying the death you and I deserve because of our sin.
Christians around the world commemorate Jesus’ pinnacle sacrifice at Easter. We talk freely of how Jesus suffered and died to pay the price for our sins, and we revel in our share of victory in His resurrection.
And this is fitting!
But do you ever think about how much Jesus must have sacrificed when He “made himself nothing?”
This Advent season, consider some of what it might have meant for Jesus to become Immanuel (God with us) in the flesh. Because He “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,” He came and lived like you. And because He did so “full of grace and truth,” not only does He understand the full range of your human experience, but He accomplished everything you couldn’t so that you might spend eternity with Him.
Consider the example of being transformed into a baby. What would be the most humbling limitation you would have to endure? What limitation of Jesus’ human nature do you think might have been the most humbling for Him?
Why was it important that Jesus came as a baby and not as a grown man? How does it impact your understanding of God to know that Jesus willingly humbled Himself in order to die in your place?
Thank You, Jesus, that You are Immanuel, “God with us.” You did not have to come to earth as a human, but You chose to. You can sympathize with my life because You came to live on earth too. Thank You for becoming one of us and for Your sacrifice on the cross that gives me the gift of salvation.
Read more about what it means for Jesus to be Immanuel, “God with us.”
Elisabeth Thoresen is a staff member with Cru® at her alma mater, Virginia Tech, where she and her husband met. She is also part of the publishing team at Cru Press and loves helping stories come to life through the written word.
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