When Heaven and Earth Kissed
There are certain miracles in the Bible that stretch my mind and I find almost impossible to comprehend. Miracles such as God speaking all of creation into existence with a simple word (Ps 33:6), or the Lord Jesus satisfying God’s wrath on my behalf as my sins were laid on Him (Is 53:6; 1 John 2:2). Charles Wesley seemed to suffer from the same deficiency, writing, “Amazing love! how can it be, That Thou, my God, should die for me?”. Or that the Lord Jesus, having died, brought about His own resurrection from the dead (John 10:18; 5:21-22; 2:21), ensuring the resurrection to life for His own people (1 Cor 15:20).
But more incomprehensible than these is the miracle displayed in the first Christmas. This is a miracle that stretches far beyond the creation of the universe, the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ, or His resurrection from the dead. That is, that the eternal Son of God would take on human flesh, subjecting Himself to our nature, and dwell among us (John 1:14). Paul was equally astounded saying:
“Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh” (1 Tim 3:16).
Now that is a mystery so profound that unless God said it, no person could ever have imagined it. We call this the doctrine of the incarnation, meaning Christ “becoming flesh”.
The mystery lies in the uniqueness of this union, of God and man in one person, which theologians term the hypostatic union (1 Tim 3:16). It is the unfathomable truth that the infinite, omnipotent, eternal Son of God became man: a Jewish baby, that laughed and cried, and lived dependent upon His mother to feed Him and nurture Him. Two complete natures, divine and human, are presented in Jesus’ one person. Puritan preacher and theologian Thomas Goodwin (1600-1680) described the mystery of the incarnation like this: “Heaven and earth met and kissed one another, namely, God and man.”
Don’t get taken away by the poetic nature of the statement, but rather see in this the glory of the incarnation. Between the infinite, holy God and sinful, finite man lies a gap so vast that neither man nor God can cross. But through the incarnation, the Son of Man bridges this gap by being both wholly man and wholly God. He voluntarily enters time, space, and all the limitations of human beings, taking for Himself a body and soul, that He might stand in the place of the offender, as our representative, while at the same time being the one offended.
Through our Lord’s incarnation, and eventual death on the cross, Jesus did far more than just “take the shot” on our behalf. No! Jesus became what we were so that we might become the righteousness of Christ through our union with Him. Thus, our deepest longings and desires would find their fulfillment in Jesus. This was the kiss that Goodwin spoke of. A kiss from God that can truly satisfy your soul. As you consider the mystery of the incarnation this Christmas may it stir up in you such loving affections for Jesus, making all other affections melt away. And may you say with the Psalmist,
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).
Pastor Craig Baxter