Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The "Withusness" of God

I have been reflecting on the name Immanuel. The phrase “God with us.” Those three incredible words that teach us about our Lord’s “with-us-ness.” And my mind and heart have been massaged by the truth contained in them. Follow along for a minute…

“God” expresses the truth of Deity. Yes, at Christmas, God came near. It wasn’t merely a prophet or just a good man that descended to earth. It was God. And it wasn’t a son of God, but the Son of God. That’s who Jesus is – God! What a truth to celebrate: That at Christmas, Deity came to earth!

“Us” expresses the truth of humanity. At Christmas, Jesus became one of us! Not just someone close to us, or someone kind of like us. No, he became one of us in every way, even someone lower on the cultural chain than what most of us would want to be. He became a servant! Ah, the incarnation – God becoming flesh! It’s at the heart of Christmas!

Philippians 2:6-7 gives us a further glimpse into God's "withusness" when it says, “[Jesus], being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness...”

Here's the best part: Combine deity and humanity and something supernatural is available for the rest of us: Eternity!

Think about it -- Isn’t “God with us” the Nativity in a nutshell? You bet! God’s “withusness” should be the fundamental motivation for celebrating this season. Make no mistake: Eternity is possible because Deity and humanity came together! Yes, “God with us” means that for all who believe, it is “us with God” forever! Truly, once we believe the truth about Immanuel, these words hold great promise no matter the order. What a reason to celebrate “God with us” – that “us with God” is now a possibility!

4 comments:

Shane Vander Hart said...

Hey, just curious as to your take on "kenosis."

Todd said...

My take? No to keNOsis. I believe Jesus cooperated with the limitations of humanity and voluntarily did not exercise His divine attributes, though he still had them. He still was divine but was moving and living completely as a man. I think the opposite of 'kenosis' is what is referred to as the 'hypostatic union' -- Jesus is both fully God and fully man (Col. 2:9) and did not give up any divine attributes while as a man on earth.

Todd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shane Vander Hart said...

I agree with you when Paul uses the word "emptied" (GK - kenosis) he isn't referring to laying aside his divine attributes. John 1 and Philippians 2 are both clear that Jesus is 100% God and 100% man in this hypostatic union.

His glory was veiled, His omnipresence not demonstrated, etc. I would add a caveat to your statement that he "voluntarily did not exercise his divine attributes". He did, but only as He followed His Father's will. I think we can see numerous examples of his exercising His divinity, but always in submission to His Father.