Awe And Wonder - Podcast

Awe And Wonder
Luke 1-2

Mary, the Son of God, is coming to Earth to save his people from their sins, and he is going to come as a baby, and you are going to bear him and be his mother. And he is going to place all of his divine attributes, all of his divine abilities, he is going to place them under the authority of the Father. He is going to set aside his divine attributes, and he is going to be a very real, one hundred percent, human baby. So, God, the Creator of all that has been created, is going to set all of that aside and become a real human baby who needs his mother to stay alive just like we did.

That’s how far down God came. The awe and wonder of the God of Creation, subjecting himself to become the creation and to become the creation as a baby and to become the creation in the lowest, most humble way. It’s unfathomable because we see God too much like a big “us.” We don’t understand how far down that is for God to come from, from WHO he IS to being a very, very real baby who would need care like we needed care.

The God of all Creation would grow the same way we grew up. He would experience (Hebrews says) what we experienced. He would learn what we learned. It’s really hard to imagine, but when God became a baby, he wasn’t like he was God, but he set aside that divinity. He didn’t stop being God, but he set aside the attributes of divinity. So, he’s not laying there in the manger, calling the shots; the Father’s calling the shots, and Jesus is a baby. And he’s living the same way you and I lived as babies – but he’s God.

The Apostle Paul says,

1 Timothy 3:16 (NLT)
16 Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith: Christ was revealed 
(made manifest, made visible) in a human body (God Expressed to Mankind) and vindicated by the Spirit. He was seen by angels and announced to the nations. He was believed in throughout the world and taken to heaven in glory.
Guys, when we take the time to try to embrace more than we have – we can’t embrace it all, but we can embrace more every year, more of who God is. When we do that, we are left in awe. That’s what we should be left in – is just jaw-dropping, face down, awe and wonder at what God has done.

That’s where Mary and Joseph are very quickly after their announcements, and that’s where I pray that we would get to. We have to choose to get to this, don’t we? Most of the world will fly through this coming week and are busy, saying, “I’m going to get my stuff done!” But we have to stop and say, “Wait a minute. Lord, this is indescribably wonderful what’s coming this week.” That’s my prayer for us.

So, God orchestrates the events to get Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem after he speaks to Joseph also in a dream. They have to get to Bethlehem to fulfill the famous prophecy, one of three hundred that were fulfilled in the birth, and life, and death, and resurrection of Jesus. But the little town of Bethlehem was packed because of the census, so there’s no room for them in any inn. And so, in a stable – not in a clean, perfectly staged nativity scene – in a stable looking a smelling like a stable would today, in a stable God came into the world he created as a baby.

Sometimes there were stables with an inn built around the stable, like in a U-shape, and so everybody’s animals would stay in the center while they were in the inn. Joseph and Mary might have said, “You know, can we just stay with the animals outside?” Because they had to stay somewhere. But it looked and smelled like a stable. It looked and smelled like a stable would today, a stable bustling with animals from the extra people and all that comes with those animals. And in that stable, God who created the world, became a baby. And again, my only prayer today is that you would just be like sense more of the awe more of the immensity of that.

The ground was cold and hard. The only straw that was there was pungent with the smell of what animals use straw for. The manure was where it was supposed to be. And mixed with that scene and that smell came the pain, and the sweat, and the agony, and the blood and the cries of a young girl having a baby. And an awkward carpenter saying, “What do I do now?” It was real. It was very, very real as these kids figured out how to have a baby in an animal’s world. Knowing, maybe not knowing, but at least being told who the baby was.

And yet, in this really, really horrible position and the for first time, the God of the Universe gasped his first breath of air. This is the God of the Universe; he gasped his first breath of air. When he did that, all of Heaven erupted. Hebrews says the Angels didn’t understand either. They were stooping down to look and to try to understand. But all of Heaven was in awe and wonder as Joseph and Mary were trying to figure out how to wrap this baby.

Listen, they didn’t have a Sweet Ellie Sue swaddle to wrap this baby in. (A little plug there for my daughters.) No, they’re not carrying clean cloths. They’re not thinking they’re going to be in a stable having a baby. They grab whatever they grab. And they did get some strips of cloth, and they’re trying to wrap God in cloth and find a place to lay him, and lay him in a feeding trough in the manger (which most likely would have been stone and not wood).

As they were doing that, the awe and wonder of Heaven broke through the veil. You know the veil is thin between us and Heaven, right? It’s not far away. Heaven is very close. And it’s a very thin veil that separates us from the Heavenly realm.

And at this moment, Heaven just exploded onto Earth. The Heavens were rent, and the Heavens showed up on Earth. And when it did, it showed up to a few, nobody, lowly, despised shepherds. Are you getting the feeling that there’s kind of a theme with God? Because he could have showed up on the steps of the Temple. What happened to the shepherds in the shepherd’s fields of Bethlehem could have happened on the southern steps of the Temple where everybody saw it.

But there was a small group of society’s lowest people. They were despised; shepherds were. They were considered thieves to some extent, kind of like the Bedouin shepherds, who are still looked at like that. The only people in society lower than the shepherds were lepers. This was the lowest job in society. And just like God chose a nobody girl with an awkward, would-be husband from a disgraced town, he did the same thing with the shepherds because he’s trying to get a point across.

Heaven had just crashed into Earth to announce the birth of God as a man. The Heavens were rent, and Heaven came to Earth – and came to Earth in an explosive way to what had to be a small group of lowly shepherds. Again, it’s just the opposite of everything we would think. It seems to me like God, as I said, is trying to say something about how he showed up, about to whom he showed up. And that God hasn’t changed.