God Made Human

One of the most powerful — yet highly unusual — messages of the Bible is that God became a human. In doing this, Jesus did not leave his divinity behind. In a mysterious and supernatural way, Jesus is truly God and truly man in one person.

There are far, far more religions that actually teach the opposite. That is, they promote the idea that humans can and will become gods. As we advance in morality, science, and other types of knowledge (these people say), we will gradually become more and more divine in nature.

How interesting that the Bible teaches that Jesus, in order to rescue us, needed to become a man, rather than elevate us to become gods. Jesus became a human to understand our human hardships and suffering. He became a human so that he could be our substitute, and live perfectly — obeying God’s law in our place. He became a human so that he would have a body to sacrifice for our sins, and blood to shed for our transgressions.

This is really the message of the entire Bible in a nutshell. Rather than giving us rules through which we are to elevate ourselves, God gave us a rescuer, who lowered himself into position alongside of us.

Think of the people stuck on Everest in the past several days at Base Camp. The rescuers could have given the survivors of this avalanche directions on how to save themselves and all the injured with them. But the reality is the situation is impossible. No one would be able to follow the instructions and make their way past the avalanche. So instead, the rescuers sent helicopters, which landed alongside those who were stranded and injured, and lifted them out to rescue.

We are buried behind an avalanche of our own making. It’s our own sin. And were we to try to climb out by trying to obey God’s rules, we would only end up dying for eternity.

That’s why Jesus became a human. He landed here alongside of us who are stranded and injured by our own sins, and by his death and resurrection, he lifted us out to salvation.

Our Bible reading for Wednesday, April 29, is Joshua 15:1 – 16:10, John 1:1-28 and Psalm 53:1-6.

Lord Jesus, thank you for being willing to become a human being to rescue me. You know what it is to be a human. And you know death even, because you gave up your life as a perfect sacrifice for my sins. I thank you for this, and for winning eternal life for me through your death and resurrection.

Header image based on "Helicopter taking off near Namche" by Meg and Rahul, CC By 2.0

David Called It

David called it. More than a thousand years before it even happened, David tells the story of Jesus’ arrest, death and resurrection.

“Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me. But may you have mercy on me, Lord; raise me up, that I may repay them. I know that you are pleased with me, for my enemy does not triumph over me. Because of my integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence forever” (Psalm 41:9-12, NIV).

If ever there was a convincing argument for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, this is it. If ever there was a solid case for God having a plan to redeem mankind, well, this is definitely it.

And what more beautiful time of year to celebrate both of these than Easter?

David’s words in Psalm 41 let you know two things for sure. First, you have a God who loves you enough to communicate his love to you. Over and over again for thousands of years. And second, you have a God who values you so much that he would send his one and only Son to be your substitute.

And here’s a third. As a bonus. That one and only Son won an eternal victory for you. And his name is Jesus.

Happy Easter!

Our Bible reading for Easter Sunday, April 5, is Deuteronomy 2:24 – 4:14, Luke 10:25 – 11:4 and Psalm 41:7-14.

Lord, thank you for your death and resurrection. Because of these, I am assured of forgiveness and salvation. I have a new life to look forward to. You have given me a future!

Header image based on "Bluebell Heaven" by Nana B Agyei, CC By 2.0


For those with some experience in the sports world, the word “substitution” is a double-edged sword. If you’re the kind of person who spent a reasonable amount of time on the bench (like me) then you love the word, because that’s the moment you waited for: the substitution.

A substitution was great! It meant you–the substitute–were going into the game to get some minutes. Maybe, just maybe, you could spark something with those minutes. You knew it was best to maximize your minutes, no matter what.

On the other hand, if you were a starter, the substitution was something you dreaded a bit. First of all, someone not as good as you (wouldn’t he be the starter, otherwise?) was going in the game. Secondly, the substitute was costing you minutes. He was snagging your opportunity to make a game-changing impact.

But in the Biblical world (as opposed to the sports world), the substitution is always a matter of wonder and joy. Just like in the story of Jesus and Barabbas. Barabbas was a notorious criminal. Jesus was innocent.

In the ultimate irony, Barabbas is released and given his freedom. Jesus is crucified.

It’s the perfect metaphor. I deserve to receive God’s wrath because of my constant idolatry, unbelief and disobedience of God. The one who is condemned should be me.

But Jesus took my condemnation for me. He is my substitute. And that’s why I can take this beautiful promise and apply it to myself: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1, NIV).

So can you. Because he’s your substitute too.

And that’s why there’s no more beautiful word than the word “substitution.”

“But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed. ‘Which of the two do you want me to release to you?’ asked the governor. ‘Barabbas,’ they answered. ‘What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?’ Pilate asked. They all answered, ‘Crucify him!'” (‭Matthew‬ ‭27‬:‭20-22‬ NIV).

Our Bible reading for Thursday, February 12, is Exodus 11:1 – 12:51, Matthew 27:11-44 and Psalm 21:1-7.

Header image based on "It Is Finished" by abcdz2000, CC By-SA 2.0

Tired of All the Rules?

Some people in Jesus’ day clearly thought that Jesus had come to abolish all the rules. For some, I’m sure, this was great. Because they were feeling horribly burdened by the rules.

I might empathize with this. In the 3rd century AD, the rabbi Simlai is said to have counted 613 various commandments that had been given to the Israelites by God. These covered various aspects of moral, ceremonial and civil law.

One can imagine that some thought it would be really, really nice to be done with knowing, tracking, and especially feeling responsible to obey that many laws.

But in his well-known Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells his disciples and the onlookers gathered around them that he did not come to abolish the law, but rather to fulfill it.

I don’t know if you realize how big that statement is. It’s huge.

It’s Jesus saying there’s a whole different approach to lifting the burden of keeping all the rules. It’s Jesus saying, “I’ve come to do it for you.”

In other words, I’ll be your substitute. I’ll take care of it. I’ll obey all the laws, and you can simply take home the benefit and blessing of my obedience for you.

That’s really good news. I don’t know about you, but I don’t fare so well when it comes to keeping even 10 commandments.

I appreciate it when someone takes care of something I have no clue how to do myself. I absolutely love it when someone goes ahead and does a job I know I’m completely powerless to do.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17, NIV).

Thank you, Jesus, for coming not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. Thank you for lifting the burden of obedience, and the load of guilt and shame that often comes with having to carry that burden all by ourselves. You carried it for me, and for that I praise and worship you as my Savior!

Our Bible reading for Monday, January 5, is Genesis 9:18 – 11:9, Matthew 4:23 – 5:20 and Psalm 4:1-8.

Header image based on "Torah" by Cate, CC by 2.0