More Present

Psalm 139; Isaiah 12; Matthew 1:1–12

The lineage of Jesus. How boring. Did you think that? You are not alone in that. Many people read the lineage of Jesus or just skip it. Wait, did you skip it? If so, please read it now…

Why was that important, you ask? It tells a story. It tells a very important one. It tells the story of lives that were lived that led to Jesus. It puts Jesus in a specific time. It places him here on Earth, in the midst of Creation, not separate from it. “…Mary, who gave birth to Jesus…” Right from the beginning, Jesus’ first breath of air was just like ours. It was the first breath after being born. Birth is very human, and despite the advancement of science, life is still a .

In Psalm 139, David embraces the . He notes that he was knit inside his mother. This was very mysterious and miraculous in David’s day, and though we know what is going on, it is still wondrous! David talks about the always present God, who was present while David was still formless. God was as present when we were formless as God is present now.

God was, is, and always will be present. Yet, through Jesus Christ, God became even more present somehow. It is a marvelous, wonderful, and mysterious truth. It is…God incarnate.

Incarnate is not a word that you will find in the bible. It is a truth that is found in the bible. The early church wrestled with the what and the how. Eventually, incarnation came to explain, or at least provide a word for, this great .

The last verse of Isaiah’s song of praise (12:6) proclaims a hope that is part of salvation, God among us. For Israel, the existence of the temple and the Ark of the Covenant was proof of God’s presence, while in reality, God was (and is) always present. No Earthly place, even the temple, could contain God. When Jesus was born, he was God “contained.” This infant boy was God, and God was among Israel, fulfilling the fullest expression of Isaiah’s song of praise.

  1. Think of your family stories. If you recall any, what did these stories tell you about where you came from? How did those stories shape you?
  2. The Bible is full of stories. What Bible stories come to mind? What do they tell you about God? How are you shaped by what the stories tell you about God?
  3. [+FD] Of all the stories—whether Bible, family, books, movies—which is your favorite? Why? Do you see God present in that story? How?

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