“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14).”
An amazing work of art!
Sometimes familiarity makes it hard to see the astounding. Hard to believe, but living next to the Grand Canyon can eventually become ho-hum. We sometimes have that “canyon problem” with Christmas too. Read that verse from Isaiah again, but this time very, very, slowly.
Go ahead. I’ll wait.
About 2,700 years before Linus explained Christmas to Charlie Brown, Isaiah predicted a sign would be given to solve our sin problem. It baffled the Jews…a sinful human (who never had sex) would birth a God-baby? In Hebrew Immanuel means, “God with us.” God in skin! That’s some sign!
As amazing as that is, even kinda’ crazy, we realize now there was no other logical way to save us, but some still miss God’s Grand Canyon in Bethlehem. Christmas has become too commonplace. Perhaps a glimpse into the Sign-giver’s conundrum will jolt your Christmas spirit with the supernatural crackle it so richly deserves. Consider the problem:
- Nobody’s perfect. God knows we’ve made mistakes and done wrong (Romans 3:23).
- God is just. His righteousness demands an accounting for every wrong (Nahum 1:3).
- God is holy. He must execute justice to be a good and fair judge (Habakkuk 1:13).
- God loves us. We’re guilty, a death penalty, but a God-Man steps in (Romans 5:6-10).
Incarnation was the only logical solution for balancing His love, justice, holiness, and our sin. God in skin, a drastic measure, bridged the spiritual chasm our sin created between us (Isaiah 59:2).
Charles “veiled in flesh the Godhead see” Wesley wrote “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”
Matthew then names Isaiah’s God-baby, “‘She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.’ Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet (Isaiah): Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which translated means, ‘God with us.’” Jesus means “Jehovah saves” in Hebrew.
And Micah identifies His birth location, “…as for you Bethlehem…one will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel, his goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.” An eternal king, “God with us,” will come from Bethlehem named “Jehovah saves.” God and skin merged at Bethlehem; love and justice merged at Jerusalem’s cross (Isaiah 53). What’s more, God told Micah all of this 700 years beforehand. That’s some serious crackle!
The Bethlehem grotto where God was born as a baby!
Bethlehem is God gifting Himself to you for free (Romans 6:23). Who works for a Christmas gift? You simply take it, but His present has even more crackle––it makes you as righteous as God Himself (2 Corinthians 5:17)!
This is Christmas…God in skin…removing sin…to make you as holy as Him…to reunite us. Canyon problem solved, the just for the unjust. It’s crazy-love-logic, but if that’s too hard to believe, then maybe just skin that gift and see for yourself (John 1:12).
Go ahead. I’ll wait.
My visit to the spot in Bethlehem in 2016
Merry God-in-Skin Day, and a Happy New Life!