December 10, 2021

God Took a Body because We Worship Created Things

Deuteronomy 32:15; John 1:14; Acts 19:35

God saw that mankind worships created things. He put on a created body, that in our custom He might capture us.

Ephrem the Syrian (306–373)

God with Us in Our Nature

Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23; John 1:14; Hebrews 4:15

His name is Emmanuel, God with us: not only God from before all worlds, but God with us in our nature. The Word was made flesh: Jesus was born at Bethlehem, and there he was nursed at the breast of a woman. He lived among our race, bearing our infirmities, and tempted in all points like as we are, though without sin.

Charles Spurgeon (1834–1892)

God Would Not Send Anyone Else to Save You

Matthew 2:11; Luke 2:7, 16–20; Titus 2:11

Go to the cave of Bethlehem. There adore the Infant, which you will find laid on the straw, in a manger, and shivering with cold. Know that He is your God, who would not consent to send anyone else to save you, but would come Himself, that He might gain for Himself all your love.

Alphonsus Liguori (1696–1787)

God’s Humility Shows His Glory

Romans 9:5; 1 Corinthians 1:18–25; Philippians 2:8

Although in Himself, or His own divine person, He was “over all, God blessed forever,” yet He humbled Himself for the salvation of the church, unto the eternal glory of God, to take our nature upon Him, and to be made man. And those who cannot see a divine glory in His so doing, do neither know Him, nor love Him, nor believe in Him, nor do any way belong to Him.

John Owen (1616–1683)

God’s Mercy Fully Revealed in Christ

Luke 2:8–15; Titus 3:4–7; Hebrews 1:1–3; 1 John 4:9

Now is come the time when God’s kindness and good will towards guilty man is to be fully made known. His power was seen in creation. His justice was seen in the flood. But His mercy remained to be fully revealed by the appearing and atonement of Jesus Christ.

R. C. Ryle (1816–1900)

Going to Jesus with Trivial Cares

Luke 2:10–11; 1 Peter 5:7

He that is God this day was once an infant: so that if my cares are little and even trivial and comparatively infantile, I may go to him, for he was once a child.

Charles Spurgeon (1834–1892)

Grace and Mercy Shine Most in Christ’s Incarnation

John 1:14; Titus 2:12

Grace has not a body to appear visibly. Yes, but Christ appeared; and when He appeared it was as if grace and love had been incarnate, and took a body. So that grace and mercy most of all shines in the incarnation of Christ.

Richard Sibbes (1577–1635)

Gratitude for Jesus Becoming Poor

2 Corinthians 8:9

It is impossible for anyone to think of Jesus having become poor for his sake, and not at the same time to be moved to despise all for the love of him.

Alphonsus Liguori (1696–1787)

He Came at the End of Time

Romans 5:6; Galatians 4:4; Hebrew 1:1–2

He came … not in the beginning, nor in the midst of time, but in the end of it. This was no unsuitable choice, but a truly wise dispensation of His infinite wisdom, that He might afford help when He saw it was most needed.

Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153)

He Came Down to Those Who Could Not Ascend

Acts 17:30; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Timothy 3:7

He came down Himself to us to whom we could not ascend, because, although there was in many the love of truth, yet the variety of our shifting opinions was deceived by the craft of misleading demons, and man’s ignorance was dragged into diverse and conflicting notions by a falsely called science.

Leo the Great (ca. 400–461)[1]

[1] Ritzema, E. (Ed.). (2013). 300 Quotations and Prayers for Christmas. Lexham Press.

Jesus Enters into the Guilt of Human Beings

Jesus does not want to be the only perfect human being at the expense of humankind. He does not want, as the only guiltless one, to ignore a humanity that is being destroyed by its guilt; he does not want some kind of human ideal to triumph over the ruins of a wrecked humanity. Love for real people leads into the fellowship of human guilt. Jesus does not want to exonerate himself from the guilt in which the people he loves are living. A love that left people alone in their guilt would not have real people as its object. So, in vicarious responsibility for people and in his love for real human beings, Jesus becomes the one burdened by guilt—indeed, the one upon whom all human guilt ultimately falls and the one who does not turn it away but bears it humbly and in eternal love. As the one who acts responsibly in the historical existence of humankind, as the human being who has entered reality, Jesus becomes guilty. But because his historical existence, his incarnation, has its sole basis in God’s love for human beings, it is the love of God that makes Jesus become guilty. Out of selfless love for human beings, Jesus leaves his state as the one without sin and enters into the guilt of human beings. He takes it upon himself.

We have something to hide. We have secrets, worries, thoughts, hopes, desires, passions which no one else gets to know. We are sensitive when people get near those domains with their questions. And now, against all rules of tact the Bible speaks of the truth that in the end we will appear before Christ with everything we are and were.… And we all know that we could justify ourselves before any human court, but not before this one. Lord, who can justify themselves?

Bonhoeffer’s sermon for Repentance Sunday, November 19, 1933

For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil.

2 Corinthians 5:10[1]

A Call to Worship the Lord Who Is with Us

Luke 2:14; Romans 13:12

The Lord is with us: be not sad. Put on, you chosen ones of God, the garments of gladness and joy; cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light: as in the open day, so let us watch this sacred night.

Let us rejoice and exult. Let us sing canticles and hymns. Let us praise the God our Savior. Let us offer Him our vows. Let us present Him the service of our mouth.

Thomas à Kempis (ca. 1380–1471)[2]

A Prayer for Healing, Salvation, and Glory

Psalm 103:1; Jeremiah 17:14; Luke 1:53; 19:10; James 2:5

Take courage, you who were lost:

Jesus comes to seek and save that which was lost.

You sick, return to health:

Christ comes to heal the contrite of heart with the unction of His mercy.

Rejoice, all you who desire great things:

the Son of God comes down to you that He may make you the co-heirs of His kingdom.

I ask you, then, O Lord:

heal me, and I shall be healed;

save me, and I shall be saved;

glorify me, and I shall be glorious.

Then indeed shall my soul bless the Lord,

and all that is within me praise His Holy Name,

when He shall have been merciful to my iniquities,

have healed my infirmities,

and have filled my desire with good things.

Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153)[3]

[1] Bonhoeffer, D. (2010). God is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas. (J. Riess, Ed., O. C. Dean Jr., Trans.) (First edition, pp. 33–35). Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press.

[2] Ritzema, E. (Ed.). (2013). 300 Quotations and Prayers for Christmas. Lexham Press.

[3] Ritzema, E. (Ed.). (2013). 300 Quotations and Prayers for Christmas. Lexham Press.


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