July 30, 2019 Day 2
As a six-year-old learning to read, when my brothers and I stayed at Mrs. Ludlam’s house, who babysat us,(I’m sure you know her and that she has been with you for many years), I would sit on the sofa with her, hold her large King James family Bible, turn the pages and look for those magical words:
“ And it came to pass”……..
She would pass the time with me by letting me run my finger down the pages looking for those words, then closing my eyes and saying a quick prayerful wish, fully expecting that such a prayer would surely be answered….. would “come to pass”….. just as every word of the Bible would come to pass in your precious time. Perhaps that is where I began to have such confidence in answered prayer and in the ultimate fulfillment of your will, trusting in your timing and purpose.
Today I read from a New American Standard Bible and Luke 2 begins “Now it came about in those days…..” Our pastor has a phrase that he uses when he wishes to tease us about “coincidences” that really aren’t. He says, “IT JUST SO HAPPENED…” (wink, wink!) and we all know that Craig is telling us in no uncertain terms that God’s purpose and plan is writ large in the circumstances he is about to describe!
There are some phrases in Scripture that reveal your power. One knows whenever they turn up that they signal something significant. Lord, because you are the omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent Almighty One who created time and who exists beyond time, any reference that includes any allusion to time in any form is an immediate signal that you are behind it and in the middle of it and move in and out of it however you choose. You are not bound by it, even though we creatures of the earth are. And for the time that you chose incarnation on the earth, you chose to limit yourself by the days and nights, the seasons and the cycles of creation’s order. You experienced the same daily demands, the same tiredness, the same vulnerability, the same times of joy and disappointment, so much of the same things that I and every other human being experience…..gestation, birth, infancy, toddlerhood, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, maturity, and death.
One of the most shocking, and reassuring, verses I ever recall discovering in the Word, was the final verse of Chapter 2 of Luke. Verse 52….”And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” I was already in graduate school for counseling when I discovered this verse and realized its power. I realized that you Christ, THIS JESUS….. this divine, holy God….. chose to live the life of a fully human man. You lived and grew in the same ways that we do. Wisdom includes intellectual and emotional development. Stature includes physical and moral development. Favor with God is spiritual development and favor with men is social development. These are the same six ways that all humans grow. You, God, created us all to grow in these six ways, then you came to show us how one could do it in a way that would be perfect and sinless, completing the task and then providing yourself as a sacrifice to meet the need for atonement for sin on behalf of your creation. So many people do not get the chance to complete the task of growing to maturity in all of those six ways. I work with people every day whose development is delayed in one or more of those ways by various dysfunctions from substance abuse, mental illness, family enmeshment, abuse, or various other problems.
We can easily overlook such a simple sentence that covers about eighteen years of your human life, Jesus. And while it seems like so little in the context of eternity, it speaks volumes of how far you, Mighty God were willing to go to demonstrate your love for us pitiable human creatures. You got right down in the trough to make it so plain that YOU ARE ONE OF US. Teething. Skinned knees. Younger siblings. Math lessons. Death of your father Joseph. Enemies who plotted against you. Physical labor. Walking many miles. Betrayal by friends. Sleepless nights. You were willing to experience the same things we have to experience (and more) so that none could say, “But you never had it as hard as I have!” Oh, Jesus, I cannot imagine the pain you suffered! I cannot thank you enough for your sacrifice on my behalf and on behalf of a doubting, callous and complacent world! You are worthy of so much more praise and sacrifice from your people! The Gospel of Luke reveals your humanness so well. Luke the physician, the Greek, the Gentile, who could relate to you perhaps more analytically than most, examined you as a human and found you measured up well! But he also examined you as the Divine God Incarnate and found you measured up, as well, as Luke’s account of Simeon’s and Anna’s reaction to your visit to the Temple with your parents when you were eight days old and again when you were twelve years old shows. Truly, Luke’s details give a picture of you, this fully human/ fully Divine Jesus Christ.
Desiring to know you better,