Our family loves the zoo, especially the African safari, aquarium, elephants, monkeys, spiders, reptiles, and unusual birds. Okay – we like it all! It is one thing to read about these creatures from distant lands and exotic places, but quite another to get up close and personal with wild animals.
What is it that is so fascinating about seeing a tiger in real life? Why do we stand in awe upon our first glance at the enormity of a hippo, giraffe or elephant?
Well, coming close and personal after learning from afar in pictures and movies changes our perspective. Our storybook tales put on flesh and finally they are real.
There is a word that is used to describe God coming to us, coming close to us. It is a word that means to “put on flesh.” It is the word “incarnation”. As Christians, we believe the God of heaven – the God of eternity – came to us in and through Jesus. God “put on flesh”. He got close to us – wild and mysterious for sure, but in Jesus God suddenly became tangible and touchable. He was no longer just a character in a story.
His disciples (followers) walked with Him, talked with Him, touched Him, ate with Him, and lived in close proximity with Him. In Jesus, people encountered and experienced the one true God whom they’d only had peripheral access to before.
Why does this matter for us today? Why is this so important?
If there was ever a question of God’s love for man before, there is no longer. We don’t have to guess about God. Speculate about who He is. Wonder if He cares. To look at Jesus is to look at the Father. And what is most glaring upon this up close and personal experience is His love for us.
God the Father sending His Son and then giving up His Son to save us, showed a love deeper than we can even comprehend. Because of Jesus coming down in the flesh we can now experience the same close proximity with God that the disciples experienced. We can go to Him as our Father.
Our good, good Father.
I remember the first time I heard my husband whisper these beautiful words to our oldest daughter:
“Bella I will always love you. Nothing you ever do will make me stop loving you.”
In that moment I was reminded of the importance of telling our children that truth, but also how God speaks that over us as His sons and daughters. Nothing we can ever do will make Him stop loving us. The Father’s gift of His Son to make us sons and daughters is the proof. He gives us His Spirit, who reminds us that we are His children and we have the privilege of calling Him, our Father (Romans 8:15-16).
He is a good, good Father.
We can go to Him knowing that His way is always best because He loves us. While God does not promise a future without pain, he does promise a future with his presence. One of the greatest truths we can hold close for ourselves and teach our children is that our Heavenly Father is faithful, wise, and good.
I love the reminder we find in 1 John 4:16. We are told to “know and rely on the love God has for us.” Did you catch that? We are to know God’s love. But that’s not all. John tells us we are to RELY on God’s love! We need to seek him, take Him at his word, and ultimately let Him be God. Just as Jesus entrusted His life to His Father, we can do the same, because we know and rely on His goodness and faithfulness!