Sitting here at the kitchen table watching as my son plays around outside. It’s a bit chilly, but he enjoys being out and riding his bike.
Watching him play combined with thoughts about the Christmas season makes me wonder a bit about Jesus as He grew up.
We have only snippets of information between His birth and His baptism. Just a couple of stories. A visit by some Magi. An escape to Egypt and a return home. And a pilgrimage to the Temple at Jerusalem.
We know that when others were being selected by Rabbis to be Disciples, Jesus was overlooked. Otherwise, He wouldn’t have taken up the trade of His earthly father, Joseph. Perhaps, that accounts for some of the disbelief from the people back in Nazareth.
Yet, we know that “Jesus became wiser and stronger. He also became more and more pleasing to God and to people.” (Luke 2:52 NIRV-ENG)
Perhaps, John gives us the best view of what happens in the process of the incarnation. Jesus–God Himself–takes on flesh and becomes fully human. He takes on the messiness of life, and lives a Kingdom life on earth.
“…the Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood…” (John 1:14, The Message)
Jesus becomes man. Subject to the noise of life. Subject to broken bones, bloody noses, coughs, bruises, bumps. Fully man.
Jesus moves into our neighborhood. He moves into the neighborhood of humanity. He takes on basic needs: food, shelter, clothing. He lives in a world that requires materialistic input. Yet, He does so with firm reliance that God will always provide.
In His humanity, Jesus chooses to walk Kingdom Life. He grows in favor with God. He moves into the neighborhood. He walks with the Father as man was intended to from the beginning. Living His life as a friend of God. Fully embracing that to which all mankind is called–to walk with God in the cool of the day.
And so begins God’s rescue plan. A baby. In a stable. Surrounded by animals. A toddler. Bounding around a house in Egypt then one in Nazareth. A boy. Going to school. Learning the Torah. Cleaning His room. A teenager. Hoping a Rabbi would say, “Follow me.” Yet, not hearing those words (just as those whom he called hadn’t heard). Becoming an apprentice carpenter. Working in the carpentry shop during His twenties. Building chairs, tables, and, perhaps, mangers. Then, God says to Him, “It’s time.”
Yet, through all of that, Jesus lives Kingdom Life. He walks with Father. He lives as Father wants us all to live. Embracing the mundane of life as ministry. Embracing the business of life as a means to spread the Kingdom.
The Word–Jesus, God Himself–became flesh. The Word moved into the neighborhood. Not just any neighborhood. He moved into our neighborhood.