When God Stepped into the Mess

Pastor Kirk Knudsen   12/9/2013


Pastor Kirk Knudsen is the Senior Pastor as Bridge Community Church in Sauk Rapids, MN.

It is early December and that has people, churches, and businesses thinking and talking about Christmas. 

The older I get, the more I enjoy the Christmas season.  There are many reasons for that, but the primary one is that God's actions, which we celebrate at Christmas, continue to take deeper root in my soul, impressing his love upon me. We don't know too much about Jesus' birth.  He was conceived of God in Mary and born in Bethlehem. 

Mary and Joseph were betrothed but not yet married, there was no place for them in the inn, the birthplace held a manger, some shepherds visited them, and heaven's angels announced his birth. 

We also know that God became a person.  He was born as a baby, laid in a manger, and wrapped in cloths.  Why would God enter our world this way?  Why start in a stable or cave or barn, likely amongst livestock?  I won't pretend to know all of God's reasons, but I think he wanted to make it unmistakably clear that he was coming to earth in a messy way (human birth), into a messy reality (gossip, relational stress, oppressive governments), to save messy people ("he will save his people from their sins").  God himself, in the person of Jesus Christ, came into the world in a bloody, slippery, painful mess, because that is how babies come.  He came into a messy stable because there is a temptation to think the all-powerful God of the universe can't possibly understand how disgusting, difficult, or messy my daily life is.  God became a human, leaving the greatness of heaven and uninterrupted triune communion, to become nothing, not considering equality with God something to be grasped. 

In doing so, Jesus dealt with our relationship problem, by removing what separates us from God offering communion with God to us.  He dealt with our sin problem by paying its price.  He dealt with our perfection problem, by giving us his.  He dealt with our uncertainty problem by becoming flesh and blood so we can see what God looks like and thus know what we should look like.  God stepped into the sinful mess of our world to redeem it, restore it, and offer us hope.  There is only one right response to this reality: WORSHIP.  That is how Mary responded: "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior."  The shepherds watching the sacrificial lambs go to see this sacrificial lamb, and were "glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen" as they returned to their fields. 

The host of heaven, overwhelmed with the mysterious ways of God becoming human so humans could again bear his perfect image perfectly by stepping into their mess to accomplish his will, proclaimed and exclaimed "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!"  Christmas calls those who know Christ to worship.  In this season, make worship your priority.  Take time each day, to thank God for stepping into our mess to save our lives.  Praise God, the King of kings for becoming one of us, so that we can approach his throne of grace with confidence to receive mercy and find grace to help our neediness.  Love God, because Jesus enabled our communion with him, by letting his Word nourish your soul, and by speaking to him in awe, exclaiming and proclaiming his greatness. 

Tell your kids about the mystery of Jesus.  Visit a barn with them to relay the incredible audacity of God's love, becoming human and stepping into a mess.  Be eager to share with the people around you the hope you have in the God who stepped into your mess this season.  Each day, take a moment to remember who Jesus is, the God who became human, so we can be like God. 

Our greatest worship is in "being transformed into the same image, from one degree of glory to another."  So let the Spirit work on your heart, by making you more like Jesus.  In this we will be throwing our nets on the right side of the boat, listening to Jesus and bringing him glory.

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