Saturday, January 14, 2012

Christmas - Why as a baby?

Recently I heard a radio evangelist address the question of why Jesus was born as a baby. He said that it was so that we could relate to Him. He said that everyone can relate to a baby. They are cute. They are tender. They are helpless. They are . . .

While it is true that we all can relate to babies, having been babies ourselves, and finding them to be lovable and adorable and all that, is this really why Jesus came to us as a baby? Certainly it is true that we can relate to the babe born in Bethlehem. But is this the real reason that He came to us as a baby to be our Savior?

The Book of Hebrews makes a similar observation, but from a very different perspective.

     Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:13-16)

This observation is that since Jesus was born as one of us, as our flesh and blood brother, having been born just as each of us are and having endured all that we endure throughout our growing years and adulthood, we therefore can look to Him as our true high priest who has taken into account absolutely every need that we possibly can have. He carried all of our sin and all of our sorrow and all of our burden. There is nothing left that we must face on our own. We can be absolutely certain that the payment has been made in full and that our redemption leaves nothing for us to do for ourselves. And so, yes, we can relate to Him fully in every need and in every trouble and in every time of doubt and fear and hurt. But this is entirely different than relating to the cuteness of babies.

Quite the opposite of the notion of being able to relate to Him as a baby is the reality. His being born as a baby is actually a cause of offense and stumbling. His weakness and helplessness are a cause for rejecting Him as the Chief Cornerstone and the Savior of all. At least this is the case from the standpoint of human emotions and reasoning. Our human reasoning does not behold the King of glory and omnipotence, but rather turns to the emotional and sentimental desire to hold the baby and make him feel safe. Trusting in this babe as the Redeemer and Savior of mankind can only occur through the faith that God generates in us to make us believers.

So why then as a baby? Well, as Hebrews declares, so that He could be our true high priest and offer the perfect sacrifice for our redemption. He had to be born as one of us. He could not come to us as the Son of God apart from truly being the Son of Man. He had to come as both. He had to be born of woman so as to be our true brother. He had to be born of the virgin so that His Father would be God. He had to come as a baby because this is how salvation comes.

He had to come as our salvation in the very way that we receive salvation. He had to be born or generated from above. He had to come as a baby born of woman in which the choice and decision was not His own according to His humanity. According to His human nature, there was no action taken on His part, not even the act of believing.

This is exactly how the Scriptures teach that salvation comes to us as individuals. The birth of Jesus as a baby teaches us that we do not become children of God by anything whatsoever that we do. We are babes born from above purely by the will and action of our merciful God. He generates us through water and Spirit. He nurtures us with the pure milk of His Word that our mother, the Church, feeds us as we nestle in her bosom. Furthermore we are nurtured with His body and blood in the blessed Sacrament to be made full partakers of His Holy Communion and to be brought into the maturity of the unity of the one true faith.

Surely this explanation can be given more fully and completely with many textual references, but this is in short why Jesus came to us as a baby.

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1 comment:

Canadian Atheist said...

Hi Alone,

Interesting piece. Of course, there isn't any proof that Jesus was either born at all or that he was the son of God. However, whether he is a legend, fiction or based on a real man, I think his message is important.