Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Reflections on Advent – VIII

The story of Advent is the story of the union of God and man in Jesus Christ. In Hebrews Chapter Two the writer focuses on Christ partaking of flesh and blood on the one hand, and on the other hand of our sharing His Divine life so that we can say: For He who sanctifies [makes men and women clean and holy and dedicated to God] and those who are sanctified all have one origin. That is why He is not ashamed to call them brothers [and sisters]

Jesus spends the evening before His betrayal (John Chapters 13 – 17) speaking to us about our union with the Trinity, and with each other, through Him. On the Day of Pentecost (Acts Chapter Two) the Holy Spirit comes to live within those who have believed in Jesus Christ; thus perpetuating the Advent of Christ in Bethlehem; incarnating Jesus Christ in His Body.

So the designation Immanuel that we have in Matthew 1:23 begins on Christmas but continues through the ages; for Christ has not only come to be with His people, He has come to live in His people. Now the thing is that we don’t believe that, not most of us anyway. We might say that Jesus lives within our hearts, and that’s nice as far as it goes but it doesn't go far enough, it doesn’t encompass the Gospel and the teaching of the Epistles. The Gospels teach us that the Father and Son and Holy Spirit are taking up residence within us; that is a bit more than God living sentimentally in my heart; when God came into the Tabernacle of Moses something happened; when He moved into the Temple of Solomon something happened; and when the Tabernacle of Moses and the Temple of Solomon were subsumed into the Living Tabernacle on the Day of Pentecost and God came to live and breathe within His people something happened; it was a bit more than the affections of the heart, it was a bit more than sentimentality – God and man had become one in Christ; as Paul terms it in Colossians; Christ in you, the hope of glory. There is a change in nature, a change in constitution, a change in citizenship, a change in identity when God tabernacles in men.

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