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Some Reflections On The Cross & Incarnation

“The Word became Flesh and dwelt among us…” John 1

Do you remember the Chilean miners who were trapped back in August under 700,000 tons of collapsed rock?  For more than a month 33 men were entombed in total darkness.  Then, through some amazing and creative technology, all 33 men were rescued through a little pod that was lower nearly a half mile underground where they were trapped.

Now there was something about the whole affair that I missed until I started reading some of the reports.  Before anyone was taken out of the mine, rescue workers entered the pod and descended to where the minors were trapped.  There they treated the men who were hurt and instructed them all on how the rescue would be accomplished.

There are two things I invited you to think about.

1)       The miners would not have been saved if the rescue workers did not descend into the brokenness of their reality.

2)       The miners also could not have been saved if the rescue workers were not in constant contact with those above ground.

In this picture were see two aspects of the incarnation that are worth remembering this Advent season.  In his book The Great Dance: The Christian Vision Revisited, Baxter Kruger puts it like this:

It is necessary that we hold on to both sides of this truth.  If Jesus ceases to be himself, the Father’s Beloved Son who lives in fellowship with the Father in the Spirit, then all is lost, or he has nothing to give us when he comes to us.  If, on the other hand, he lives out his sonship with his Father but does not do so inside Adam’s skin, then his sonship does not reach us.

…In Jesus Christ, a union is forged between two things that do not go together.  On the one side, you have the Triune life of God with all its face-to-face fellowship and purity and fullness and joy and rightness and integrity.  On the other side, you have human existence in all of its hiding, brokenness, corruption, disease and perversion.  The incarnation means that these two words are united.

Now this happening – this union – is not possible unless something changes.  That’s what the Gospel is all about.  Through Jesus, God enters human flesh.  Paul says in Romans that Jesus becomes the Second Adam.  Through Jesus life, death, and resurrection, the fallen race of Adam is changed, converted, crucified and given new life.  Through Jesus, old things die and all things become new. 

At the cross, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit identifies with fallen humanity.  He takes all that pain, suffering, sorrow, rebellion, brokenness, alienation, and death into his own identity as the Second Adam.  As the Incarnate One, he fulfilled the heart desire of the triune God that we be rescued.  The Old Adam was put to death and a New Adam was born.  This New Adam has been given the greatest of all gift, which is fellowship with God and participation in the “Divine Dance” that exists between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Once again, let me quote Baxter Kruger:

The gospel is not an invitation.  The gospel is a declaration of truth.  It declares to us that we have been recreated in Jesus, that we have been delivered from evil through Jesus Christ, that we have been given a new relationship with the Father in Jesus Christ.  The gospel declares to us that in the incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of the Son of God, we were taken down and cleansed of all alienation; we were refashioned, recreated, born again; and we were lifted up into the circle of life shared by the Father, Son, and Spirit, and there and then included in the great dance of the Triune God.

If there is invitation at all in the Christian life, it is not that we do something to get something.  Triune God has already done all that needs to be done.  We are simply invited to faith.  But even faith, as the scripture says, “is a gift from God, not of works, so that no one may boast.”

The expression of faith would simply be this – stop rejecting the new birth that you have been given through Christ.  Step into the light and love of this new life you’ve been given, where sins are forgiven, grace abound, healing rivers flow, and Jesus is Lord.  To do anything less would mean hell.

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