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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

When Jesus Entered Your World

By Edgar Dean Howe
Dec. 19, 2010

NBC televised a dramatization of the gruesome experience of actress Theresa Saldana, who was stabbed by a crazed admirer outside her Los Angeles apartment in 1982. As an outgrowth of that vicious attack, which almost took her life, Saldana launched Victims for Victims, a peer-counseling organization.

Her efforts to help others through the emotional trauma of a criminal assault underscore the fact that only a victim can truly identify with a victim’s world. The need for empathy is universal. We want others to understand, feel and identify with our problems.

Picture David — a man on the run fleeing for his life from King Saul, hiding out in the cave of Adullam. In anguish of spirit, he reaches out for strength from others, only to find that he is totally alone — cut off from all human resources. Listen to his cry: “I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul” (Psalm 142:4, KJV). The same verse in another version says: “No one gives me a passing thought! No one will help me: no one cares a bit what happens to me” (NLT).

Not many of us have known such total abandonment. This was a pathetically low moment in David’s life, but we can easily recall days when we, too, suffered alone. Our futile search for someone to understand and care for us left us depressed, wishing we could just disappear and never be found. We wanted someone — anyone — to enter our world in those depressing hours, feel what we felt, and experience in full measure the cup from which we were drinking.

But the truth is, Somebody already has entered our world. This is the glory of Christmas.

Jesus didn’t simply enter the world more than two millenniums ago. He literally entered your world at that moment in history! Martin Luther wrote: “The mystery of the humanity of Christ, that He sunk himself into our flesh, is beyond all human understanding.” Praise God that we’re not required to understand that lofty idea — only to believe it!

Dr. Ralph Bunche once observed that the best way to get an idea across is to wrap it up in a person. That’s exactly what God did in Jesus Christ. He wrapped the gospel message in the Lord Jesus. He called Him Immanuel, meaning “God with us.”

It is difficult for us to picture God “down here,” mingling among mortals. His dwelling place seems beyond the farthest galaxy, light-years away from planet Earth. And yet, even as Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father, He is here, working among men. And because he was born here as a human baby, grew up here, lived and worked here, Jesus understands our world!

He knows from experience what Job described in Job 14:1: “Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble” (NIV). Long before that glorious Christmas morn, Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would be “despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering” (Isaiah 53:3).

Trouble dogged His steps from the moment of His birth. Herod sought to slay Him. Few cared for Jesus even after His ministry was up and running. Those closest to Him often proved to be fair-weather friends. Witness Christ’s sadness in Gethsemane, where His closest disciples fell asleep as He prayed (Matthew 26:36-45). In the end, those in whom Jesus had invested His earthly ministry betrayed and fled from Him.

As He faced certain death, Jesus looked around — just as David did in that isolated cave centuries before — and found no one standing with Him. Imagine the loneliness, the abandonment Jesus must have felt. As He hung on the cross He cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). And what was God’s response to that cry? The Resurrection!

Had God forsaken His Son? No! God continued to love Him. God continued to use Him more mightily through the Resurrection  than even through that hour of despair and dejection.

Does God care about you? Christmas proves that He does. Christmas assures us that Jesus understands our world — because He was made flesh and dwelt among us, tempted in all points as we are.

He did indeed “sink himself into our flesh.” Jesus not only understands your world from His own personal experience, but He understands your troubles, trials and tribulations — more keenly than any person ever has or ever will!

Are you hurting from shattered relationships? Jesus Christ can rebuild burned bridges. Are you confused by financial challenges? Jesus can miraculously meet your every need. Are you burdened by physical ailments? Jesus Christ is the Great Physician.

There is not one part of your world that Jesus Christ doesn’t understand. No part of your world is beyond His reach. He can change your world today. That’s the beauty of the Christmas message! He came into our world to experience it, to understand it and to change it miraculously. This Christmas season, let Jesus do His beautiful work in your heart.

EDGAR DEAN HOWE lives in Nixa, Mo., and attends Central Assembly of God in Springfield, Mo.

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