Firestorm or whirlwind – or baby?

By Dave Henning / November 30, 2022

“Why would God come this time in the form of a baby, rather than a firestorm or whirlwind?  Because this time he has come not to bring judgment but to bear it, to pay the penalty for our sins, to take away the barrier between humanity and God, so we can be together.  Jesus is God with us.”- Timothy Keller (emphasis author’s)

‘[Jesus] appointed twelve that they might be with him . . .”- Mark 3:14 (NIV)

As Timothy Keller continues Chapter 3 of Hidden Christmas, he notes that ‘Immanuel’ contains three ideas.  That Jesus is: (1) God; (2) human; and (3) with us.  So, Pastor Keller asks, what does Mark mean that Jesus wanted the disciples to be with Him?

A look at the text and the rest of the Gospel tells us ‘with him’ means:

  • being in Jesus’ presence
  • conversing with Him
  • learning from Him
  • having His comfort moment by moment

Thus, in the light of the Old Testament, Pastor Keller stresses, that statement should really stun us.  Because when people like Abraham, Moses, or Jacob drew near to God, they found in completely terrifying.  However, you can know God personally and without terror as He enters your life.  That evokes joy and amazement as you see Jesus as the driving force of your life.

Above all, the author underscores, Jesus literally moved heaven and earth to get near you.  Therefore, a genuine personal relationship with Jesus requires that we communicate with Him.  Regularly, candidly, and lovingly.

Thus, we must do more than simply say our prayers.  In addition, we need to pursue a prayer life that leads to real communication with God. That we sense His presence in our heart and life.

In conclusion, Pastor Keller counsels, such a relationship with God requires courage.  Think of the courage Joseph showed in taking Mary as his wife.  For Joseph faced shame, social exclusion, and rejection.  Hence, believers must display at least three kinds of courage.  Pastor Keller covers this in tomorrow’s blog.

Today’s question: What does it mean to you that God came not as a firestorm or whirlwind, but as a baby?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Drop your conditions – the ‘ifs’ “

About the author

Dave Henning

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