December 22, 2005

A Descent

Scripture Reading — Galatians 4:1-7

When the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman ... Galatians 4:4 — 

"God sent his Son." The verb "sent" means more than a commissioning; it assumes a previous state of existence. Many of us know this already; yet it deserves careful reflection. (See 1 Corinthians 8:6; Philippians 2:6-8; Colossians 1:15-17; 1 John 1:1-3.) This teaching tells us, for instance, that Jesus' birth was an immense descent. When we were born, we came into being from nothing; that was an enormous ascent. But when the Son was born, he came from heaven to earth. The poet John Donne writes, Immensity, cloister'd in [Mary's] dear womb ... There he hath made himself to his intent Weak enough, now into our world to come. This descent steeps the Christian faith in amazement. In the novel Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, an elderly preacher describes how he imagines heaven: "Mainly I just think about the splendors of the world and multiply by two. I'd multiply by ten or twelve if I had the energy. But two is much more than sufficient for my purposes." So he multiplies the feel of the wind by two, the smell of the grass by two, and so on. But let's try multiplying by 10,000 or more as we think of the Son leaving heaven to live with us. Perhaps, when we enter heaven at last ourselves, our first words will be: "I had no idea! He left all this for me!"


Lord Jesus, you were rich, yet for our sakes you became poor so that through your poverty we might become rich. May our gratitude overflow into holy living. Amen.


Devotion topics: Christianity, Discipleship