“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) Our Creator knew. He knew it all along. God knew the vital importance of the in the flesh, of the face to face. And so, as John’s words tell us, God sent us His Son, Jesus. He didn’t phone it in, so to speak. He came here in the flesh. He made it personal.
Why? Because it is personal. Because He is a personal God. He knows the way that I take and every hair on my head. That’s personal.
“But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10)
“And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Matthew:10:30-31)
He knows my words before I speak them. That’s personal.
“Before a word is on my tongue You know it completely, O Lord.” (Psalm 139:4)
He knows all my inmost thoughts. That’s personal.
“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13)
He sees, collects and saves each and every one of my tears. That’s personal.
“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.” (Psalm 56:8 NLT)
He knows the number of my days. That’s personal.
“All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:16)
He saw me and knew me in my mother’s womb. That’s personal.
“For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. . . . My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body.” (Psalm 139:13-16)
He gave up His life on that cross so that I might have life and not death. That’s as personal as you can get.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” (John 3:16-17)
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (in the flesh) And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:5-8)
We are created in God’s image. Consequently, we are personal beings. In the flesh is how God made us. In the flesh is the world in which we live. In the flesh is the medium in which we operate. And so God sent us His Son, Jesus, in the flesh, to walk among us for awhile, to walk a mile in our shoes, so to speak. This explains what we read in Hebrews 4:14-16 about Jesus, which says,
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
I must confess – lately, I feel like all the time is my time of need. I also think that may be true for most of us as we continue dealing with COVID fears, restrictions and realities, while isolated and unable to participate in many of the activities that used to bring us together and bring us joy. We cannot come together in the flesh like we used to for – well, for most everything. We used to work, to worship, to workout, to watch sports or other entertainment, to celebrate birthdays, bar mitzvahs, quinceaneras, weddings, graduations, births, deaths – anything and everything was experienced in community – in the flesh.
Chat rooms, zoom meetings, Facebook etc. can’t supply that in the flesh experience and so we are never fully satisfied with those interactions, even if we can’t identify why our cyberspace encounters leave us vaguely unfulfilled and even lonely. What is missing? The personal touch? That’s why Jesus came in the flesh. Because for Him, it’s personal.
“Surely He took up our (my) infirmities and carried our (my) sorrows, yet we (I) considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our (my) transgressions, He was crushed for our (my) iniquities; the punishment that brought us (me) peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we (I) are (am) healed.” (Isaiah 53:4-5)
Jesus takes on my pain and shares in my sorrows. Jesus paid my sin price in His flesh. That’s as personal as it can get. He came here in the flesh to do for me, what I cannot do for myself. I need a Savior and Jesus has shown up for me in the flesh. The Creator of the universe is a most personal God. He has demonstrated this to us by showing up in person, in the flesh, to redeem us for His own.
God knew the power of the “in person” experience. That’s why Jesus walked among us for thirty-three years. And now He is at the right hand of the Father pleading our case continually.
” . . . Christ Jesus, who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” (Romans 8:34)
There’s more. Jesus’s “in person” presence with us continues to this day. In John 14:18-20 Jesus tells His disciples this,
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see Me anymore, but you will see Me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you.”
Jesus further explained to His disciples,
“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. . . . you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17)
With me and in me, that is up close and personal. God’s Holy Spirit is just that, His personal presence abiding within me. Because my Heavenly Father is a deeply personal God. He desires a relationship with each one of His children. To that end, He came in the flesh and He abides today personally within anyone who will invite Him in.
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20)
Sharing a meal together. That’s personal. So is His care for me and for you, dear readers. We can rest secure in the knowledge that,
“The Lord will keep you from all harm – He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 121:7-8)
sincerely, Grace Day