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Friday, 19 December 2014

Advent 19: Waiting for someone to understand

Why did God choose to become a man? It's a fairly nonsensical plan for salvation when you think about it. And even if it wasn't possible for us to be reconciled to God by any other means than the death of a sinless person dying in our place, why would Jesus need to walk out 33 years of life first? Why wait 33 years to die if that's what you've came to do?

There is something stupidly beautiful in the fact that Jesus embraced our humanity; for his time on earth he took on everything it means to be a human being. He took on weakness and vulnerability, hunger and sleep deprivation, shame and rejection. He became fully one of us in order to save us. It was necessary for him to share in our humanity even to the point of death so that he could break death's hold over us. (Hebrews 2:14)

When I taught in Croydon, the kids used to say "God knows" all the time. "Ahh, Miss! Swear down. Say God knows." But he does. And that isn't just a matter of omniscience. It isn't just about knowing everything, it is about understanding. Jesus proves to us that God fully understands the human predicament. Every emotion, pain, doubt, temptation - Jesus understands; he has been through it: "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet he did not sin." (Hebrews 4:15)

I cannot quite comprehend this but I need it to be true. I do not want to worship a God who looks down from heaven and scoffs at tiny human beings making their silly little mistakes all the time, who looks on from a distance with disdain in his eyes and wonders why the poxy creatures get so upset when one of them dies, or when they are hurt by a friend, or why they rant and rage so much when He seems so distant. 

But Jesus shows us that God is not like this at all. Our God is a God who understands. Our God knows what it is to be cast out. He knows what it is to be let down by friends. He knows what it is to call up to the skies in desperation for something different to be done. He knows what it is to struggle to trust. He knows what it is to be abandoned by your loved ones. 

There is great comfort here if we would stop to see it. This Christmas, whatever our struggle, God knows. Swear down.

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