If you stop and think about it, life is a gamble. It is about taking risks and hoping for a good outcome. The bigger the stakes, the more significant the outcome is. I have always thought that we tend to minimize the cosmic transaction whereby Christ became a man… I’m sure that God knew what he was doing, but to my finite mind, it had to be the biggest gamble in history.
Doing What Had Never Been Done
Hindsight is always 20-20, but splitting apart the personhood of God had never been done in all the eons of history, and sending Jesus into the world as a mere man seems like a pretty radical gamble to take. Paul describes it like this “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bond-servant, and coming in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:5, NIV)
Was this a gamble for God? A good theologian would never ask that, because God’s omniscience precludes such a thought. But to me (obviously a lesser theologian), it raises the question (have you ever truly considered this?). Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be God? Not just like Superman, or even somebody with magical powers, but to be totally loving, totally self-sufficient? To be able to transcend time and space, and to have all wisdom and knowledge and power? To have limitless aspects of character and creativity, to exist transcendent and triune, three expressions of function woven into one intricate and intimate personality?
Louie Giglio has a great series of sermons about God’s infinite power and presence. He looks at the vast expanses of the universe. He breaks down God’s intricacy in the minutest detail. Check him out on YouTube, you’ll be glad you did!
But for now, imagine being infinite, not just in moments of time but in capacity and power. What is it like to have the ability to see all ends and understand all cosmic secrets? What would being the creator feel like? Can you imagine forming living things, breathing life into them? Could you build not only the circle of life and the food chain but every intricate organ system, cellular structure, and neural transmitter that provides the basis for perceiving, sensing, and thinking? What if you were not just Louie Giglio, but the One who created Louie Giglio?
What would it feel like to be absolutely unfettered by physical limits, to dwell throughout and around and above all created things? To be irrevocably, spiritually and intimately connected by eternal bonds to your Father, who nurtures like a newborn’s mother, who leads like a shepherd, protects like a warrior, whose very nature is intertwined as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in a complex and thrilling relationship because He IS love, and with whom as the Son you have the Closest. Relationship. Ever.
An Abrupt Change
Now imagine taking a gamble on giving all that up and accepting limitations, allowing yourself to be subject to weariness or pain, to deal with temptation, to have to walk places among people who ignorantly assume they are more important or powerful than you are… What would it be like to place yourself into your own creation as a tiny, vulnerable infant in a world full of ignorant, apathetic, cruel, selfish men? How would it feel to go from being King to being a servant?
(I sometimes wonder how God knew for sure he could reverse that process– was there even an infinitesimally small chance that Satan could win, or that the Son might perish, never to rejoin the Father? We have the benefit of hindsight, but wasn’t it really a cosmic gamble for the universe? In a Marvel comics “bizarro” world, couldn’t it have been even remotely somehow possible that the Son becoming man would have torn apart the fabric of the universe and unraveled the cosmos? In reality, Jesus bet everything he had and everything that existed on the Father’s ability to do what He promised.)
Paul says we should think about that contrast, and think like Jesus did. If you could stop for a minute and look out at this world with the knowledge, the connection, the intimacy and the love of your Creator, would you see it any differently? Would you see it as it was intended to be? And if you saw Jesus as the eternal King of Kings who set his advantages aside to dwell in his creation, to risk his life on our behalf, would it explain anything about how he taught, what he did, and why he was SO different?
Not the ONLY Question but Still a Very GOOD Question
You can question the Bible’s inerrancy. You can scoff at miracles and relics, but just do this: take a look at Jesus’ teachings and try to figure out where they came from. Investigate the life and words of a rabbi from 2000 years ago, and explain how it still applies today. Decide if it still has relevance even though it is at odds with how the world of selfish power works, and offers an approach to life that actually challenges followers to be like Jesus.
Place Your Bets
This is the real question, isn’t it? Was Jesus any different? Could he have been “God with us”, or was he just a guy? Was he a prophet who died early or the Lamb of God? Did he miss his fulfillment or fulfill his mission? If he was Joe Average Prophet, then hold your chips, or place a bet on Buddha or Mohammed or Joseph Smith; but if he was God, I’m thinking it has to be all in.
The Highest Stakes
Could the Lord have failed when he became a fragile child?
Was it guaranteed that he’d prevail?
Satan and his minions used their power, dark and wild
To cause redemption’s plan to fold and fail.
Jesus came to earth not as a king but as a slave,
Committed to a plan that could not fall;
The cross required his life exchanged for those he came to save:
The chips were down, and Jesus bet it all.
All consequence in history is small compared to this:
Sin requires a death. Instead of ours, He gave us his.
To buy my latest book, Real People, Real Christmas: Thirty-one Days Discovering the Hidden Treasures of the Christmas Story, go here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1729034918/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
For Slaying Giants: Thirty Days with David, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Slaying-Giants-Thirty-Devotions-Ordinary/dp/172568327X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1535814431&sr=8-1&keywords=Slaying+Giants%3A+Thirty+Days+With+David
To buy my book, Beggar’s Bread, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Beggars-Bread-Devotions-Ordinary-Guy/dp/1535457392/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473336800&sr=8-1&keywords=Beggar%27s+Bread