This Sunday just past marks the start of the season of Advent. The word ‘Advent’ comes from the Latin adventus, which means a coming, arrival, or approach. And so in the season of advent, the four Sundays before Christmas, we think about the approach of Jesus and anticipate His coming.
Since Christmas is a celebration of Christ’s birth, where God comes to humankind as one of us, it is fitting that the month beforehand is spent in anticipation of that coming.
We’ve just started our Advent sermon series at my church, entitled, Behold the Man.
Our hope is that over the coming weeks we will come face to face with the man Jesus of Nazareth, a man who got hungry, weak, and tired, just like you and me. Over the coming weeks we are focusing on coming to grips with the humanity of Jesus.
Jesus is the God-man, both fully God and fully human. We’re quite accustomed to thinking of Him as God, but it’s quite difficult for us to think of Jesus as being truly human.
Later this week I’ll be putting up a post about the term ‘son of God’, and how it doesn’t mean what we often think it means. Getting this bit right will help us to read the New Testament through the right lens and get a better understanding of who Jesus is.
The Man Christ Jesus
It’s hard for us to picture Jesus as a man who got tired after a long walk and had to take a break, a man who got frustrated and angry, a man who struggled with temptation, or a man who got overwhelmed. But that’s exactly what Jesus was.
He was a man who was familiar with our sorrows, our sufferings, and our weaknesses.
As we celebrate this season of Advent, we celebrate not just the fact that God has saved us, but the astounding way that He has saved us. God didn’t just sit back in heaven and save us from a distance. He got his hands dirty.
In an act that we still can’t fully understand, God became flesh. God fully entered into our experience, to know first-hand our weaknesses, sufferings, and temptations. And He achieved salvation on our behalf.
Jesus could not have borne the weight of all the sins of humankind if he wasn’t God. But just as importantly, Jesus couldn’t have died for the sins of humanity if he wasn’t himself human. He became one of us, in order to die as one of us, so that he could save all of us.
What a great mystery. What a great wonder. What an amazing God we serve.