Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Great Divide

for January 6


The Great Divide

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." (v. 14) — John 1:1-18

Further Study

Additional Verses

Isaiah 9:1-6

Isaiah 7:14

Galatians 4:4

Luke 1:30-33

Questions to Consider

How did Isaiah depict the Incarnation?

What was the message of the angel?

We continue meditating on the fact that the Christian faith is unique in that it is the Word not of a prophet but of the Son of God Himself. And when I refer to the Son of God I mean also God the Son. The Son is as much God as God Himself. One commentator says of the verse before us today: "If I were to put my finger on the most important verse in Scripture I would unhesitatingly put my finger on this one: 'And the Word became flesh.' " This verse has been described as "The Great Divide," because no other religion can claim that the word they received from God became flesh. In all other religions the essential element is a word become word - a philosophy, a moralistic system, and so on. Only in Christianity does God appear in human form; the Word become flesh. Early in my career as a minister I found that whenever I tried to present the Christian gospel to people of other faiths, everything I said brought the bland reply: "Yes, what you say is good, but we have the same teaching in our sacred books also." The Sermon on the Mount? Muslims have something similar in the Qur'an. Turning the other cheek? Hindus would reply: "Our sacred books tell us the same." Caring and sensitivity to the needs of others? Buddhists would respond: "We believe in that too, perhaps even more than you." Every issue I raised had its parallel. I was puzzled. Where was Christianity's uniqueness? Then it dawned upon me - the Incarnation. No other religion has anything like the Incarnation.

"O God our Father, just to reflect on the Incarnation is to be filled with amazement and joy. We are not knocking at the door of heaven. You are knocking at the lowly doors of our hearts. How can such a thing be true? Yet it is. I am so thankful. Amen. "

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