Saturday, December 21, 2013

Mild He lays His glory by

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men       (Phil 2:5-7)
It is a curious thing for God to become man; for the Word to become flesh and dwell among us. We are about to celebrate the day when the Son of God was born a baby in Bethlehem; when Christ emptied Himself and laid His glory by; born that man no more may die. He surrendered aspects of His divinity to assume the mantle of humanity: as the ancient creeds remind us, He was fully man and yet fully God.

The Incarnation is complex theology wrapped in an unfathomable mystery, and here is not the place to unpack the nuances of kenotic doctrine. Those who wish to focus on the absurdity of human omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence miss the point: in both His human and divine natures, Jesus was and is perfect love, incomprehensible peace and unadulterated truth.

He spent nine months in Mary's womb, floating around in amniotic fluid. Now why would the only begotten Son God do that? Some say that He wasn't really God, but one who attained a sort of enlightenment, a bit like Buddha. Others are happy to believe that he was a prophet who foretold or forthtold the purposes of God; who showed his followers a better way, a bit like Mohammed. Still others are happy to believe the mystery of divine chimera; Jesus as a sort of Ganesh-like elephant man, strutting his stuff in the pantheon of gods.

But Jesus is also called 'Immanuel', meaning 'God with us'. If He was and is the same yesterday, today and forever, he is not merely enlightened, prophetic or mysterious; he is the Lord, the Creator, the Spirit, for the Three are One and of one substance.
These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.
Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.
For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.
I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.
And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.
And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
(Jn 17:1-11)
God emptied Himself of His glory in order that we might be saved - and all who call on His name will be saved. John Calvin writes: "In order to exhort us to submission by His example, he shows, that when as God he might have displayed to the world the brightness of His glory, he gave up His right, and voluntarily emptied Himself; that he assumed the form of a servant, and, contented with that humble condition, suffered His divinity to be concealed under a veil of flesh."

Mild He lays His glory by, under the veil of flesh: Immanuel, God with us, veiled as a baby in the womb of a young girl called Mary. His creation glory has gone; his salvation suffering has begun; his resurrection glory is yet to come. In a way, Jesus was scourged and crucified in the womb.

God incarnate waiting to be born, waiting to suffer, waiting to die, waiting to be raised.

As we await the birth of the perfect baby boy, the advent of the Promise, let us reflect on the magnitude of the glory He laid by, that we no more may die.


Blogger Len said...

'The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.'(John 1:14 )

It is truly amazing that God should become one with us that we might become one with Him.

21 December 2013 at 11:52  
Blogger Peasant Farmer said...

Your grace it is a heartwarming Christmas treat to see you lay aside political cares for a while and revert to your true calling of preaching the good news. A happy Christmas to you and yours.

21 December 2013 at 11:54  
Blogger josiah said...

What a wonderful contrast from the sentiments of my local MP:

21 December 2013 at 12:15  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Your Grace

Reading this made Jack happy and sad all at the same time. Happy because we are remembering the joy of the baby Jesus, who is God, coming as a man to save all people. Sad because not all people understand this and will turn their backs on him and not listen to him. Do they understand what they are doing?

Happy Jack believes all those poor little babies who are killed before they are born will be celebrating the birthday of Jesus all the time and forever and ever. We shouldn't be sad for these babies but angry with the world for murdering them and also pray for the people who do not understand what they are doing and where it might all end up for them.

A Happy and Blessed Christmas to you and to everybody.

21 December 2013 at 12:55  
Blogger Ezekiel Lamb said...

He was and is the same yesterday today and forever The Word bearing witness 888 reverse,reflect,mix it never changes 888 is IASUS {JESUS} Greek gematria. 888 is I AM the LORD therefore I change not {Malachi 3v6} Hebrew gematria.

21 December 2013 at 13:19  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack also meant to say we mustn't forget all those happy years Jesus spent with his mother and Joseph and all his pals in Nazareth. Imagine the good times they must all have had together even though Jesus and Mary knew where it was all heading.

Jack says there is a Christmas message in there too. It must be like parents who are looking after children with a terminal illness or a permanent disability. We all have to make the best of every day of the life we have been given while we have it.

Jack says sorry for missing this bit out.

21 December 2013 at 14:15  
Blogger Martin said...

He dwelt among us, the only true God, seeing how little those around Him thought of the wonder of His creation, the holiness of His person, His justice and mercy. How little they thought of others around them and how much they thought of themselves.

He sees us as we are, poor wretched blind wicked creatures whose only impulse is to sin constantly and lived amongst us.

He made Himself subject to His parents, the rulers of His nation and those countless people who demand others obey them. The King of Glory humiliated before sinful Man.

21 December 2013 at 17:47  
Blogger gentlemind said...

@Peasant Farmer. I echo your sentiments. Less spleen and more heart, is where our host's talents lie.

Have a peaceful Christmas, Cranmer. God bless you.

21 December 2013 at 20:22  
Blogger capability brown said...

Let us not forget that God Almighty and “the Word” who came to earth as Jesus Christ, created us in their own image and likeness; “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” Genesis 1:26.

What a great tragedy it is at this time of year, the pagan sun-observing Christmas, that millions of “Christians” are transfixed with the “sweet baby Jesus” rather than the very much alive Jesus Christ who right now sits at the right hand of His Father in Heaven preparing to return to this earth in the lifetime of most people alive right now “this generation”, to a) stop the most horrific world war in the history of mankind (Matthew 24:21), and b) rule the earth as a king from a truly massive and beautiful city called “new Jerusalem” that comes down from His Father in Heaven to this earth - the new capital of the world where Jesus Christ and God Almighty will both live with us! (Revelation 21 and 22)

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” says Jesus Christ. John 10:27 Anybody listening? Toss out the Christmas tree (Jeremiah 10:4), open a Bible and read Matthew 24 and 25, Revelation 1:1-3 (a special blessing from God here), chapters 21 and 22.

21 December 2013 at 21:01  
Blogger Charles Cameron (hipbone) said...

I would be interested to learn whether Capability Brown's expectation of Christ's "return to this earth in the lifetime of most people alive right now" is shared by His Grace, and whether indeed this timeline for the workings of Eternity is commonly believed within the Anglican communion or elsewhere among His Grace's readers.

22 December 2013 at 02:45  
Blogger Darter Noster said...

Charles Cameron,

I would be staggered if it was shared by any of them.

Personally, I'm more perplexed by what Capability Brown has against sun observation; since the Universe, from the greatest star to the smallest particle is God's creation, Christianity has always taught that deeper understanding of God can be found through observing his work. Christ's birth was heralded by a star; his birth coincides with the winter solstice; his incarnation coincides with the vernal equinox nine months earlier; 3 of the witnesses at his birth were Persian astronomers/astrologers.

Perhaps Capability Brown has confused sun-observation with sun-worship, which is an entirely different phenomenon.

22 December 2013 at 11:55  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Your Grace,
It occurred to me that a poster campaign could be promoted which poses the following question.

'What would the world be like now if Mary of Nazareth had had an abortion?'

22 December 2013 at 14:06  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

22 December 2013 at 14:06  

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