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God Becomes FleshGod Becomes Flesh
by Ron Rose

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   Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 2:1-21

    Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem when Jesus was born. Due to crowded conditions in the town, they were forced to stay in a stable. In fact, Jesus spent his first night in human form sleeping in a hay-filled feed trough. While God was getting used to breathing on his own and learning to cry, Bethlehem slept. The Son of the Almighty was now wrapped in human skin — fragile, hungry, dependent; the Father had placed his only Son in the loving care of a young novice mother, living among everyday folks.

Christ himself was like God in everything. But he did not think that being equal with God was something to be used for his own benefit. But he gave up his place with God and made himself nothing. He was born to be a man and became like a servant. And when he was living as a man, he humbled himself and was fully obedient to God, even when that caused his death — death on a cross. So God raised him to the highest place. God made his name greater than every other name so that every knee will bow to the name of Jesus — everyone in heaven, on earth, and under the earth. And everyone will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and bring glory to God the Father.
PHILIPPIANS 2:6-11
    Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem when Jesus was born. Due to crowded conditions in the town, they were forced to stay in a stable. In fact, Jesus spent his first night in human form sleeping in a hay-filled feed trough. While God was getting used to breathing on his own and learning to cry, Bethlehem slept. The Son of the Almighty was now wrapped in human skin — fragile, hungry, dependent; the Father had placed his only Son in the loving care of a young novice mother, living among everyday folks.

    The people of Bethlehem were unaware that the Savior of the world, the Messiah, the Christ, the Prince of Peace, the Son of God, was sleeping in an ordinary stable just up the street and around the corner. They didn’t hear the angels bursting forth in song, announcing his birth. They weren’t looking for a star leading heaven and earth to the back alleys of Bethlehem.

    But the shepherds were awake, tending their sheep, possibly on the very hillsides David roamed with his flocks centuries before. Suddenly the shepherds were surrounded by dazzling brightness as an angel brought the announcement that had been anticipated for centuries. These nameless men were the first to hear God’s incredible news — the birth of the Messiah.

    God had opened the windows of heaven, and for a moment the shepherds could see the glory of the Lord and hear the praises of the angels. Jesus had traded his home in the presence of God for the loving arms of an ordinary couple, from an ordinary town, in an ordinary corner of the world.

Reflection: Jesus voluntarily left the glory of heaven for the vulnerable, helpless confines of a newborn human body. He came to earth, not with the demands of a tyrant king, but as a gift. As Mary rejoiced, angels sang, and shepherds marveled, God presented the divine to humanity in a form it could understand — its own frail form.

 
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      Text copyright © 1997, Multnomah Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

      Title: "God Becomes Flesh"
      Author: Ron Rose
      Publication Date: August 17, 2003


 
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