This past Sunday in Confirmation we talked about the Tower of Babel. The problem with the Tower of Babel was that humankind was reaching up towards God’s place, seeking to usurp God’s place. If we can get there, we will no longer have need of him.
But that doesn’t work. Humans cannot do the work of God.
This brings to mind Christmas.
In Christmas, God descends. God comes down to us in the only way that works.
But why would he?
God comes down to claim us.
You might ask, what if we reach up to God and God reaches down. Can we meet him in the middle?
It cannot work. It is not a mutual proposition. It can only go one way. It only works if God descends to us and lifts us to himself.
How far must God descend?
All of the way.
All of the way to the cross.
In the Apostles’ Creed we confess that Jesus descended into hell.
How far must God descend? All of the way.
God comes to us in the cradle, in the Jordan when Jesus is baptized, tot the vicious court of the Romans. To the court of the Jews, to the cross and to the tomb.
All the way.
Our savior sinks to the limits and beyond to make us his own.
I belong to Jesus. You belong to Jesus.
Do you want to know how much your life is worth? The manger, the Jordan, the Judean wilderness, the muddy Jordan, the mount of temptation, the desertion of the disciples, the hypocrisy of the Jewish court, the amoral condemnation of Rome, the merciless misery of the cross, the damp, hopeless darkness of the tomb.
All these Jesus gives you and me.
The Heidelberg Catechism, Question one:
1. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
That I, body and soul, both in life and in death, am not my own, but belong to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ, who at the cost of his precious blood has fully paid for all my sins, and redeemed me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me, that without the will of my Father in heaven not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must work together for my salvation. Therefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready henceforth to live to Him.
It is not in reaching heaven that we are saved. We are saved in God’s reaching down to us in his Son Jesus.
He is willing to sink to the most vile of our condition to lift us back up to hm.
We say, “thank you” and resolve anew to dedicate our lives, heart, soul, mind and strength, to him.
We cannot see God. He wants us to show that love to people we can see – our neighbors – our brothers and sisters – showing the same compassion and selfless love to them.
Would you like to pray with me?
“Heavenly Father, we think it is our responsibility to reach up to you. That is futile. We cannot. Help us never to overlook your reaching down to us n our despair. Help us never to forget that your will is to save us for yourself. Help us to know that before we feebly reach our hand to you for rescue, you have already taken hold of us in Jesus and never will let us go. Amen.”