For Us
Wednesday of Advent 1
5 December 2018
Why did God become Man? This is the question that has echoed through the centuries in response to the Christian truth that "the Word became flesh" (Jn 1:14). Heretics, pagans and the faithful have all asked the question. Pagans and heretics ask the question to scoff at the answer. The faithful ask to set forth the mystery of the faith to the world. To know that God has become incarnate of the Virgin Mary is one thing, to know why is another thing entirely.
 
God became Man in Christ to set us free from fear and slavery to death. His incarnation makes him subject to death that He might swallow down death into his indestructible Life. Thus, He suffers all the humiliation heaped upon Him by us. He trades His life for our death. He barters His birth unto life for our birth unto death. He swaps our wounds for His healing. He exchanges our blindness for His sight. Why did God become Man? The answer is thrilling, unbelievable, and the mystery of our faith. He did it for us.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

   Alexander of Alexandria
"Why did Christ, who was vested with glory, clothe Himself in flesh? And although He was God, why did He become man? And although He reigned in heaven, why did He come down to earth, and become incarnate in the virgin's womb? What drove God to come down to earth, to assume flesh, to be wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger cradle, to be nourished with milk from the breast, to receive baptism from a servant, to be lifted up upon the cross, to be interred in an earthly sepulcher, to rise again the third day from the dead? What drove Him to this?
 
"It is sufficiently clear that He suffered shame for man's sake, to set him free from death; and that He exclaimed, as in the words of the prophet, 'I have endured as a woman in labor' (Is 42:14). Truly, He endured for our sakes sorrow, ignominy, torment, even death itself, and burial. For thus He says Himself by the prophet: 'I went down into the deep' (Jonah 2:5). Who made Him thus to go down? The impious people.
 
"Behold, sons of men, behold what recompense Israel made unto Him! Israel killed her Benefactor, returning evil for good, affliction for joy, death for life. They killed by nailing to the tree Him who had brought to life their dead, had healed their maimed, had made their lepers clean, had given light to their blind. Behold, sons of men! Behold, all you people these new wonders! They suspended Him on the tree, who stretches out the earth. They transfixed Him with nails who laid firm the foundation of the world. They confined Him who confined the heavens; they bound Him who absolves sinners; they gave Him vinegar to drink who hath made them to drink of righteousness. They fed Him with gall who offered to them the Bread of Life. They wounded His hands and feet who healed their hands and feet. They violently closed His eyes who restored sight to them. They gave Him over to the tomb, who raised their dead to life both in the time before His suffering and also while He was hanging on the tree."

Alexander, On the Passion of the Lord, 5.5
Isaiah 42:10-17

Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise from the end of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that fills it, the coastlands and their inhabitants. Let the desert and its cities lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar inhabits; let the habitants of Sela sing for joy, let them shout from the top of the mountains. Let them give glory to the LORD, and declare his praise in the coastlands. The LORD goes out like a mighty man, like a man of war he stirs up his zeal; he cries out, he shouts aloud, he shows himself mighty against his foes. For a long time I have held my peace; I have kept still and restrained myself; now I will cry out like a woman in labor; I will gasp and pant. I will lay waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their vegetation; I will turn the rivers into islands, and dry up the pools. And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them. They are turned back and utterly put to shame, who trust in carved idols, who say to metal images, "You are our gods." (ESV)
Prayer
O Christ, You became Man that we men might live forever in You. Grant us so to live out our days without fearing death, confident that in You death died. Amen.
 
For Carol Martzowka, that the Lord would grant her strength and recovery
 
For all our military personnel stationed in harm's way, that they would be kept safe
 
For all those who labor to bring new medical therapies to the suffering, that the Physician of body and soul would grant them success
Art: Raffaellino dell Garbo  The Annunciation (c. 1510)
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
© Scott Murray 2018
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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