We do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
As we enter the Christmas season, we need to understand that from the very beginning Christians have embraced the fact that Jesus was born of a virgin.
One of the early church fathers, Irenaeus, said, “In the last times, not by the will of the flesh, nor by the will of man, but by the good pleasure of the Father, His hands formed a living man, in order that Adam might be created [again] after the image and likeness of God.” The means of God becoming flesh was the virgin birth, but what is the meaning of the incarnation? Why was so it important that God took on human form? One reason is so that He could understand you and me. The fact that God took on human form means there is nothing you experience, no heartache, no disappointment, no suffering, nothing you experience in life that God has not experienced first. The incarnation means God understands us.
One writer described an experience in high school when his father passed away. He wanted to hear God speak to help him through this difficult time. So he prayed and waited for God to speak. On the day of the funeral, the family lined up in the foyer for people to offer their condolences. Tears were shed, hugs were offered, and words were spoken. The young man continued to wait for God to speak. Then he saw Kim, a girl in his youth group. When she got to him, she simply hugged him and walked away. At that moment, the writer recalls, “I heard God speak. It dawned on me. Just months before, I’d attended another funeral; the funeral for Kim O’Quinn’s father. In that moment she knew exactly what it meant to be me.”
He explained what he learned: “If you want to hear God’s voice in your life look no further than the one who knows exactly what it’s like to be you. He knows what it is to be human, he knows what it is to suffer, he knows what it is to be rejected, he knows what it is to be human. If you want to hear God’s voice speak, allow your soul to be quieted long enough so that you can hear the one who was in the beginning say to you, ‘draw near to me and I’ll draw near to you.’”
The writer of Hebrews said it this way: “We do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (4:15-16). The fact that God became flesh means that God understands you.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “God In A Stable: Fact Or Fable?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.
“Irenaeus Against Heresies,” in “The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus,” ed. A. Roberts, J. Donaldson, & A. C. Coxe (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Co.), 527; Damien Spikereit, “The Story Before the Story,” sermon at Lincoln Christian College, November 25, 2003, https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2004/may/15077.html.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.