We usually think of God as a being who exists somewhere other than *here*. It’s hard for us to picture the idea of God living among humanity, taking human flesh and form. Theologically, we use terms like transcendent and imminent – the idea that God could be wholly both is difficult for anyone to grasp.
John writes that Jesus “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.”
God made his home among us. The hidden word picture is that Jesus came and pitched his tent along side ours, both of us temporary inhabitants of the world. Paul writes, “In Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.” The author of Hebrews says, “This High Priest [Jesus] of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”
The idea that God would be content to simply deliver his message through prophets as he sat in the comfort of heaven is not consistent with the character painted in the Bible. Instead, God wanted – needed even – to experience his creation first hand and speak with them face to face, as one of us.
Paul, perhaps, puts it best: “Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.”
As shocking as the incarnation of Christ is, God goes even one step farther – sending the final part of the Trinity – His Spirit – not just to live among us, but to live in us. This Spirit of God is described as “one who walks alongside.” Paul describes it as our “deposit” or “guarantee” of an inheritance as his children.
I believe in a God who does not remain in a comfortable position in heaven, but who lives among and empathizes with his people. I believe that in the incarnation of Christ, God sets aside all privilege and becomes human in every way, so no creature could accuse God saying, “You don’t truly understand what I’m going through.” I believe God knows what it is to live a human life, not simply as a theoretical exercise, but because he did it.
next: I believe in a God who is relational