Rob Sturdy: Jesus, Puberty, and the Mid-Life Crisis

19 12 2011

In between readings of “Your Best Life Now,” I occasionally like to look back, dust off the cover of some old, stuffy theologian and see what he might have to say that was important enough to endure 1800 years of Christian thought.  To this end we turn to the early church father, Irenaeus. For those of you caught unawares, Irenaeus lived from 120-202 A.D., studied as pupil under Polycarp and later became the Bishop of Lyon (178).  He devoted much of his life to combating heresy, specifically the many heresies that fall under the big tent of Gnosticism.  His most famous work, adversus haereses, is a celebrated Christian classic.  While he is principally known for his defense of orthodox Christianity, Irenaeus is also known for his thoughts onrecapitulation, which actually speak in some quite important ways to major life changes (such as our title infers) that introduce no small degree of difficulty in our lives and leads us into no small measure of sin.

First off, what is recapitulation and why should I care?  Let’s begin with the condition of our humanity.  Genesis ch. 3 presents us with the narrative of the fall of humanity into sin and disobedience.  If Gen ch. 3 presents the fall, it is the Apostle Paul who presents the consequences of the fall.  The consequences are as follows:

1.   Sin came into the world through Adam’s disobedience (Rom 5.12)

2.   In the one man’s sin, all have sinned in him (Rom 5.12)

3.   Since all have sinned in him, all men have been made sinners (Rom 5.19)

4.   Death enters the world as penalty and condemnation for sin (Rom 5.14; 5.16)

5.   Death reigns over the world (Rom 5.14)

One quick note of clarification on point two.  How did all men sin in Adam?  Why does the responsibility not lay on his shoulders alone?  There are two ways to look at it.  The first way to look at it is through the lens of human solidarity.  Human solidarity is the rallying cry for all of us to band together against injustice, global warming, poverty, etc.  Why?  Because we are all one.  The one’s decisions affect the many.  Adam’s one decision, as the father of all humanity, has affected the many through his disobedience.  The second way to look at this is genetically.  The author of Hebrews can easily conceive of this, as he sees the Levites, born after Abraham, nevertheless part of Abraham as they were “still in the loins” of their ancestor (Heb 7.9-10).  Adam, the father of all humanity, carried a DNA that was radically corrupted by the fall, a corruption that he has not failed to pass down to each and every one of us.

So where is the specific application to puberty?  Well, this sin and disobedience passed down to us from Adam affects the whole of our life.  There is not one age, nor desire or motivation from that age that can be said to be free from the taint of Adam’s corruption.  From birth until death you and I will demonstrate through our private thoughts and our public actions that we are indeed heirs to a fallen race.  There are portions of our life when this is more evident than others and the two I have identified compose the title of this post although we could easily identify others.  However in terms of puberty, it is easy for the parents or concerned well-wishers to say, “it is just a phase,” or “he’ll grow out of it.”  While he may ”grow out of it,” it does not mean that it is merely a phase, but is evidence of a deep corruption of the soul that the individual may learn to disguise but will never grow out of nor escape from by his own power.  ”For was it was not possible that the man who had once for all been conquered (by sin), and who had been destroyed through disobedience, could reform himself, and obtain the prize of victory” (Irenaeus, AH). 

What then can be done about this?  We have a two fold problem.  First, we need something (or someone?) to, like bleach through shirt stains,  pass through the many troubled layers of our lives (puberty, mid-life crisis, etc.) andwash them clean.  This will take care of the corruption.  However, as the Apostle Paul has already noted, corruption is not the only problem, but we also have to deal with the penalty for corruption and this is the greater problem.  When I was at military college, to have a stain on my shirt was a problem, but the real problem was the penalty that the sergeants would impose upon me for that stain.  To arrive before the throne of God with stains on the soul carries with it a penalty.  Namely, that we must be excluded from his presence (Psalm 5.4) and cast into hell.  So we not only need a solution to the corruption, we need to pay the price for the time that we have carried the corruption.  In Christ, we have a solution to both problems.

First off, the answer to the problem of our corruption.  Irenaeus writes “For He came to save all through means of Himself- all, I say, who through him are born again to God- infants, and children, and boys and youths and old men.  He therefore passed through every age, becoming an infant for infants, thus sanctifying infants; a child for children, thus sanctifying those who are of this age…so likewise He was an old man for old men…Then at last, he came to death itself.”  Like bleach through many blankets, or a mighty river that over time wears through the surface of the earth, washing each layer as it passes through, so too Christ has passed through every stage of human life and sanctified it with his perfect life.  This means that Christ has passed through the utter selfishness of my infancy, the wild lusts of my teenage years, and the return of my selfishness in my twenties! and will be with me through every stage of life, having already passed through it and bound it to himself.  If then through I receive this gift through faith, he has passed through my life, then he has been my selfless infancy, he has been the purity of my teenage years, he has been the courage and innocence of my young adult life because in passing through my sin I have taken on his righteousness.  “Because of his measureless love,” Irenaeus writes, “He became what we are in order to enable us to become what He is.”

If we were to leave it here, however, we would be missing the crucial piece of the puzzle.  There is a difference between removing the stain of sin, as a simple matter of spring cleaning.  It is another thing altogether to remove the stigmaand penalty of sin.  This is what we turn to next.  As Christ has become an infant for infants, a teenager for teenagers, an adult for adults, and an old man for old men, he has not only cleansed their lives, but he has appropriated their lives to himself.  In a very real exchange, we have taken on his righteousness, but he has taken on our sinfulness.  To allude once again to our analogy of the river cutting great deeps into a canyon, the canyon rock is cleansed by the rushing river, but the river itself carries with it ever increasing amounts of sediment and filth from the canyon rock.  So it is with Christ, who after passing through humanity and cleansing it, leaving behind clean rock, the Christ himself has picked up our stench and filth and carried it straight to the throne of the Father…that he might bear the condemnation for our corruption.

Ireneaus writes:  “this then is what we call the day of retribution…this day does not signify one which consists of twelve hours, but the whole time during which believers in Christ suffer and are put to death” in Him, having been gathered together in his flesh and punished corporately in his crucifixion.

Adam introduced sin into the world, Christ passed through the sin cleansing it and gathering it to himself.  All who have descended from Adam sinned in Adam, but all who are descended from Christ through faith have been innocent in him.  Adam’s transgression brought the condemnation of death upon us all, but Christ gathering us to himself bore our condemnation releasing us from the penalty of death.  Adam’s descendants, sold as slaves to death and sin because of the debt of their father, are released not only because the debt is paid, but because they have a new Father in heaven that is indebted to no one.  Or, as Paul put it

“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law.  Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.  But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.  And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification.  If, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.  Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.  For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.  Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  (Rom 5.12-21)

This is the comfort of that peculiar word “recapitulation” and it is the marvelous work of Christ both in his incarnation, but especially upon his cross.





What should Christian parents do about Santa?

19 12 2011

they seem pretty comfortable together

I’ve been getting this question frequently over the past few weeks so I thought I might put something down briefly to try to be of some assistance.  At the beginning of our parenting my wife and I wrestled with this same question and I think we’ve come to a pretty good place. First we need to ask “why would you even ask the question?”  In other words, what’s the big deal?  I can zero in on two things that would be problematic for Christian parents:

  1. For the Christian, Christmas is about the birth of Jesus the redeemer of the world.  A man in a red suit who brings presents is a bit of a distraction to the “reason for the season.”
  2. The Bible is pretty clear that it is mom and dad’s responsibility to pass on their faith to their children.  This is a process largely built upon the trust that the child has in the parents to tell them the truth.  When parents don’t tell the truth about some things (i.e. Santa Claus) it may compromise their trustworthiness in other, more important matters like Jesus.  Iain put it well this morning when he said “Mom wouldn’t lie to me about a big man in the sky with a white beard who sees when I do right and do wrong and gives me rewards…oh wait…”

But if these reasons make you think I’m ready to rule Santa out, don’t think so fast.  I’ve got a few good reasons for keeping him in the game.

  1. It’s fun.  Despite what your fundamentalist friends tell you, Jesus isn’t against fun.
  2. You don’t want your kid to be “that kid.”  You know the one that makes all the other kids cry in day school when he says “there’s no such thing as Santa Claus.”
  3. The fictional Santa Claus is modeled upon the historical person of St. Nicholas of Myra.  Turns out he wasn’t such a bad guy.  He was a faithful Bishop in the church who was tortured and imprisoned for his faith under the Roman Emperor Diocletian.  In the fourth century he stood up for the full divinity of Christ at the Council of Nicaea.  It is said that inspired by Christ’s words to “sell all you have and give to the poor” (Luke 18.22) Nicholas did exactly that, using his vast wealth to give anonymous gifts to the poor.  This is why Santa Claus, modeled after Nicholas of Myra, distributes presents at Christmas time.  So “Santa,” or Nicholas of Myra is actually a concrete example of how the Lordship of Jesus Christ can move people to generosity and concern for the poor.

Which brings me to what we do in my household.

  1. Make Jesus central to Christmas time:  In my house we’ve been reading the birth narratives from the Jesus Story Book Bible.  After the reading, I might sing a Christmas hymn to David.  After the reading and the singing, we sit and talk about the story and the song and what it means.  Finally we pray.  I try and pray something that reinforces what we read or sang about.  All this to say during this time of year, like every other time of the year, we talk about Jesus a lot.  It gave me immense pleasure a few days ago my son remarked to a nursery worker “Jesus came at Christmas time to rescue us.  And he’s coming again!  But not yet.”
  2. Use Santa as a teaching tool:  Nicholas was of course a historical person.  More than that he was the type of man who I would want my son to be like.  He was a tough, courageous, Jesus loving man who had a reputation for extravagant generosity.  You might use Phil 2 to talk about the extravagant generosity of Jesus vacating his throne in heaven to rescue us and how this moves followers of Jesus (like Nicholas!) to forgo their own wealth and privileges to help those in need.  You might follow this up with something practical, like taking your little one to buy toys or clothes for a donation.  So in the same way Jesus moved Nicholas to generosity, Jesus can move your little ones to generosity.
  3. Make clear that Santa is pretend: In my home we play lots of games.  We’ve been reading the Chronicles of Narnia and since David is only three, it is hard for him to stay focused through a whole chapter.  To help him stay focused we act out the chapters after we’ve read them and this is always lots of fun for both of us.  Mommy is pretend Lucy.  Daddy is pretty Edmund (too bad for me!).  David is pretend Peter.  And finally our cat Rico is pretend Mr. Tumnus (yes, he hates it).  Santa is a great, fun, pretend game.  Much like our Narnia game, Santa is a game that can teach David some valuable things about Jesus.  The thing about a good pretend game is that reminding everyone that we’re just pretending ruins the game.  You don’ t need to remind everyone you’re pretending because everyone already knows it.  So David knows Santa is pretend.  We’ve told him.  But we don’t bring it up constantly. That would ruin the fun.




Rob Sturdy: The Glory of Christ and the Destruction of Sin

19 12 2011

I think it would be good for me to do a little explanation on the front end for why I have chosen these two themes, “the glory of Christ” and the “destruction of sin.” I think it would also be wise for me to explain why I have chosen such a hard sounding session for a “renewal” conference.  So let me begin with the two themes, and I trust that it will become clear in time how the two relate.  First the glory of Christ:

The Glory of Christ

Let me begin by saying that the glory of Jesus Christ is an all consuming passion of mine, and I believe it is a passion well ingrained in the language of Scripture.  First of all let me say from Scripture that I gain the sense that God the Father’s consuming passion is the glorification of his Son:

“If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ (John 8.54)

“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus ever knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2.9-11)

Furthermore, the glorification of the Son is one of the if not the principle work of the Holy Spirit:

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” (John 16.12-14)

I want to take a second and unpack that last verse for a moment.  Jesus says “I still have many things to say to you, but I won’t say them now.  I will say them later.”  But how will Jesus say them later if he leaves?  “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak and he will declare to you the things that are to come.”  So the work of the Spirit is to come and complete the words of Jesus.  That is the action of the Spirit, and the fruit of that action is the New Testament.  Now I believe the next verse is crucial for how we read the new testament.  “He will glorify me,” that is when God the Holy Spirit inspires the New Testament into being he is inspiring words of Jesus’ glory into being.  The whole of this book is to be read as a praise song to the Lord Jesus.  If you read it in any other way you have wandered far off the rails of reading this book rightly.

Aside from the glory of Christ being an obvious passion of the Father, the Holy Spirit, and Scripture it is also a personal passion.  In August and September of 1999 I had the great opportunity to read about Jesus for the first time in my life.  In August of 1999 I left my home in Alabama to study at The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina.  Wednesday of Hell Week we were escorted to the chapel where a team of chaplains greeted us and gave us Bibles.  It was not the first Bible I had ever owned, but it was the first Bible I had ever read.  By mid September I had made it clear through John’s Gospel and without knowing the cross, or the forgiveness of sins, or the adoption of sons, or of eternal life, I did know simply from reading about Jesus in John’s Gospel that Jesus was glorious.  I knew he was worth following and from that moment on I committed my life to following him.  I want to be very careful as I talk about commitment, because Christian commitment is not a work but a grace.  What do I mean by this?  Augustine described Christian commitment as grace best when he wrote:

Do not think that thou are drawn against thy will.  The mind is drawn also by love… “Delight thyself in the Lord, and He shall give thee the desires of thy heart” (Psalm37.4).  There is a pleasure of the heart to which that bread of heaven is sweet.  Moreover, if it was right in the poet to say, “Every man is drawn by his own pleasure,” –not necessity, but pleasure, not obligation, but delight, -how much more boldly ought we to say that man is drawn to Christ?…Give me a man that loves, and he feels what I say.  Give me one that longs, one that hungers, one that is travelling in this wilderness, and thirsting and panting after the fountain of his eternal home; give such and he knows what I say

– Augustine, Homilies on John’s Gospel [1]

According to Augustine, Christian commitment is commitment to the extent that a thirsty man is committed to drinking a cup of water, or a hungry man is committed to eating a sandwich.  As Augustine says I was drawn by pleasure, not obligation but delight.  To the extent that is commitment, I suppose you could say I was committed, but I hope you now see what I mean by commitment as grace rather than as work.

And finally, I want to argue that a passion for the glory of Christ is one of the key distinguishing factors between a hypocrite and a true child of heaven.  As a pastor of a church I see men and women who have a Biblically informed worldview.  I also see many men and women who profess Christ as Lord and savior.  I also see a great deal of men and women who pray, attend worship, tithe, read their Bibles etc.  But where the rubber really hits the road for me relates to the glory of Christ and the desires of the heart.  Let me draw back for a moment in order to enhance this theme somewhat.  C. S. Lewis in his Reflections on the Psalms had some interesting things to say about worship, praise, and glory and how they relate to the human heart.  He writes:

“I had not noticed either that just as men spontaneously praise whatever they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it: “Isn’t she lovely? Wasn’t it glorious? Don’t you think that magnificent?” The Psalmists in telling everyone to praise God are doing what all men do when they speak of what they care about. My whole, more general, difficulty about the praise of God depended on my absurdly denying to us, as regards the supremely Valuable, what we delight to do, what indeed we can’t help doing, about everything else we value.”[2]

First you will notice from Lewis’ quote that all people worship something. Second you will notice that all people worship whatever they most value.  Thirdly you will notice that when people do this they take delight in it. And finally you will notice that because they delight in praising what they value, they cannot help but praise what they value. The true child of heaven worships Christ because they value him most, and delight in praising him because it is the consummation of their desire.  William Guthrie a Scottish Puritan living in the 1600’s once wrote:

“Hypocrites never apprehended Christ as the only satisfying good in all the world, for which with joy they would quite all; for then the kingdom of God were entered into them…The truly renewed man dare, and can upon good ground say, and hath a testimony of it from on high, that his heart hath been changed in taking up with Christ, and hath been led out after him, as the only enriching treasure in whom ‘to be found he accounteth all things else loss, and dung (Phil 3.8,9)”[3]

The Destruction of Sin

In regards to the destruction of sin let me first say that the destruction of sin is a calling placed up all those who have been adopted by the Father and called into the Body of Christ. “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity,passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Col 3.5).

1)      The destruction of sin directly relates to the glory of Christ.  “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you” (Rom 2.24).  In a recent national survey the number one reason why people said they would not become Christians was because their principle experience with Christians was one of hypocrisy.

2)      Sin can keep us from the light of Christ.  “And this is the judgment:  the light has cominto the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil.  For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light lest his deeds should be exposed” (John 3.19-20).  Many times in the lives of young Christians, not young in age but young in experience I have witnessed this phenomena.  They receive Christ.  Sin is dealt a crushing blow.  Their lives are visibly and dramatically changed, so much so that they begin to trust in their changed lives rather than in the God who changed it and they set up their changed life as a false God.  When that false God fails them, they withdraw from the God, from the church, and from the Godly people who have poured into them because they don’t want the sin, which they proclaimed form the rooftops as defeated to be exposed.

3)      Sin will be with us as long as we are in the body:  “So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.” (Rom 7.21-23).  I want to be clear that this seminar is not about abolishing sin in your life.  Rather, if Paul’s words resonate with you at all take heart!  For you would not even struggle if the Spirit of God were not struggling within you.

4)      Sin will sicken the “new man”.  “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.”  Commenting on this verse John Owen writes:

“Paul affirms that the inward man is renewed day by day, while the outward man perishes.  Those who neglect mortification allow the inner man to perish.  Grace in the heart must have exercise.  If it is allowed to lie still, it withers and decays (Rev 3.2), and sin seeks to harden our hearts (Heb 3.13).  The omission of mortification withers grace while lust flourishes.  The frame of the heart grows worse and worse.  When sin gains a considerable victory, it breaks the bones of the soul (Psa 31.10; 51.8).  It makes a man weak, sick, and ready to die (Psa 38.3-5), so that he cannot look up (Psa 40.12). [4]

5)       If you neglect the destruction of sin you will cause both yourself and those you love enormous pain. Read the rest of this entry »





Was Jesus born to die? Is Christmas really about the cross?

19 12 2011

I recently read a post from a pastor who I respect enormously.  Unfortunately, I found myself disagreeing with him!  Much like Calvin used to do when he disagreed with Luther, I will decline to name this pastor.  Rather than draw attention to the man, I will draw attention to his words for on this point they fall short of the mark.

He writes:

During this time of year, it may be easy to forget that the bigger purpose behind Bethlehem was Calvary. But the purpose of the manger was realized in the horrors of the cross. The purpose of his birth was his death.

I must admit that I am sympathetic with this statement.  I’ve attended too many Christmas Eve worship services where the pastor made warm fuzzies of the babe born in the manger while neglecting the larger purpose of redemption.  Make no mistake about it, Jesus is born in the shadow of the cross.  He is a child whose fate is sealed.  He is a babe of destiny.

And if I were being honest, I would say that it is the crucifixion and not the incarnation which is the focal point of New Testament thought.  The cross is the thing that the New Testament authors continually return to.  Even John’s Gospel, which is the Gospel with the most mature articulation of the incarnation,  makes clear that the reason Jesus came was to suffer and die on the cross (John 12.27).

And while the cross must be given its due honor so must the manger.  The miracle in Bethlehem is not simply a stepping stone to Golgotha.  I am much more comfortable saying that Bethlehem and Golgotha are two sides of the same coin.  Each in its own special way reveals the glory of God.  Let us follow the argument of the Apostle Paul:

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. (Philippians 2:5-7 ESV)

In this passage, the Holy Spirit through Paul gives us a backstage pass to the person of Christ.  In this passage we get to know his mind, how he thinks.  Now to fully illustrate this it would be worth reflecting on our mind.  Most of the people who will read this post today are what we might call small fish in a big pond.  But this is not how most of us consider ourselves.  Most of us consider ourselves to be big fish and we feel entitled to all the benefits that big fish are entitled to.  But this is not the mind of Christ.  He is a big fish.  He was in the form of God.  But he doesn’t have the mind of a big fish.  He has the mind of a small fish.  He “made himself nothing.”  He takes on the form of a servant.  Even though he’s God, he becomes a human.

Now I know a few college grads who have been looking for work for years.  They could get a job in the service industry but they won’t.  ”I’m a college grad,” they say which is just another way of saying “I’m too good for that kind of work.”  All of us on some level have this operating in our hearts.  ”I’m too good for that.”  Imagine a Doctor who willingly leaves his practice to become a garbage man.  Imagine this and you will not have even begun to plumb the depths of Bethlehem.  Imagine a King who willingly becomes a worm and you might be getting closer.  God willingly made himself nothing and became a man.

Paul does not view God making himself a man as merely a stepping stone to the cross.  Rather he sees this as part of larger project to reveal the mind of Christ.  Paul goes on to say:

And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:8 ESV)

Now what is Paul drawing attention to here?  The cross?  Not so fast.  Rather it is the humbling and condescension of Christ that Paul is drawing attention to here.  Christ humbled himself by becoming obedient to death.  Mark the astounding nature of this.  God became a man.  More than that he became a man who would die.  More than that!  He became a man who would die on a device designed to shame and torture those who hung upon it!  All this to say, mark the humility of the Son of God!

Paul concludes this section of Philippians by saying:

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11 ESV)

Now why has God highly exalted him?  It is tempting to say “because of the cross!”  But this would be to miss the thrust of this passage.  The exaltation of Christ is not a Medal of Honor.  By this I mean, the exaltation of Christ is not a reward for one brave action.  Rather the exaltation of Christ is more like a lifetime (an eternity!)  achievement award.  God exalts Christ because of his character, his mind and how his mind is made manifest throughout eternity.  And what is his mind?  His mind is that even though he is the creator, if necessary he would take on the form of a created thing.  Even though he had a home in heaven, he would be born in a stable.  Even though he is Lord of all, he would become a servant.  Even though he is immortal, he would submit himself to death.  And even though he is sinless, he would die for sinner’s sake.  That is who he is.  That is the character of the God we worship.

Bethlehem does not acquire our redemption.  But make no mistake about it, the same character that moved the Son of God to be born in a stable is the same character that moved him to die on the cross.  Understood this way, both Bethlehem and Golgotha are stepping stones.  But stepping stones to what?  Stepping stones to see the glory of God in his loving mercy, his sacrificial kindness, and his unbelievable humility.

What do we learn from Bethlehem and Golgotha?  We learn a little something about ourselves.  If it took so much from God to recover us, we must have fallen very far from him.  The more serious the treatment the more serious the disease.  How terrible must have been the disease that necessitated Bethlehem and Golgotha!   But the good news is that the character of the Son of God is such that there is no place too low, no shame too shameful, no sin too sinful, no pain too painful, to keep the Son of God away from pursuing those he loves.  That’s just who he is.  That just might be the best news of all.