Water for the Thirsty
Weekly Devotional

Water for the Thirsty

Jesus Shared Our Humanity

Weekly Devotional

‘As the deer pants for streams of water so my soul pants for you, O God’. (Psalm 42:1)
‘…Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink”…’ (John 7:37)

16th December 2012

In a poem entitled ‘Song of Myself’ Walt Whitman writes,

‘I do not ask the wounded person how he feels; I myself become the wounded person.’

Whether he knew it or not Whitman expressed what the incarnation is all about. God came to our world, took on our flesh, experienced our pain and so knows and understands exactly how we feel.

The wonder of what we celebrate at Christmas is that an all-powerful almighty self-existent God willingly takes on the limitations and suffering of His creation. For God to become a human being involved far more humiliation than if a human being became a worm in order to experience what worms go through.

Dorothy L. Sayers once wrote,

‘For whatever reason God chose to make man as he is – limited and suffering and subject to sorrows and death – He had the honesty and courage to take His own medicine. Whatever game He is playing with His creation, He has kept His own rules and played fair. He can exact nothing from man that He has not exacted from Himself.’

The ‘medicine’ God took in Christ is that he suffered and died for us.

The writer of Hebrews says,

‘Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil’— (Hebrews 2:14)

And that suffering and death is vividly brought alive in Isaiah 53:1-12,

‘Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors’.

The fact that Jesus came to this earth some 2,000 years ago does not exempt us from suffering, pain and death, but it does show that God did not sit idly by and watch us suffer in isolation.

When you go through some tough times realise that in Jesus God knows what it is like to suffer, experience pain, and in some mysterious way die.

As Philip Yancey has said,

‘All our questions about God and suffering should be filtered through what we know about Jesus.’

This Christmas, let’s get to know Jesus better, because in the process we’ll get to know God better and, while there are no easy answers to human misery, we’ll know that He is right there with us feeling our pain.

The good news is that God of the manger is the God of the cross and the God of the resurrection. Jesus’ human suffering didn’t last forever and neither will ours. With Him we have a glorious future to look forward to.

Have a good week being grateful that Jesus became the wounded person so that we can be healed and live for eternity.

Pastor Barry

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