We gathered in a circle, as a family gathers around a table. We lifted our voices and sang praise to the Creator of the universe for sending his son to earth as a baby. Fully human.
This passage from Hebrews has been stuck in the corner of my brain for the last few months. I think it's because in the past I never really considered that Jesus was fully human in the flesh. Sure, he's God, so he can do whatever he wants. Right? Suffering on a cross, not a huge deal if you're God right? No, actually this perspective dilutes the gospel in a profound way.
As I consider what scripture says and the gospel message itself, I realize that understanding that Jesus is fully human, and fully God puts his sacrifice and love for us in a whole new light. In Hebrews it says:
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
Hebrews 2:14-18 (NIV)
There are so many questions that come to mind when I read this passage. Why would the God of the universe, send His son to earth to become fully human and then suffer on a cross for the sins of all humanity? According to Hebrews He also did this to free us from the fear of death and to "help those who are being tempted". My fully human heart is in awe. It is amazing how clear the gospel is! Not only did Jesus suffer on a cross to atone for our sins, but He also did so to free us from the anxieties that come with our mortality and so that He could understand our sufferings. To "become a merciful and faithful high priest". The fact that an all-powerful God did this humbles my heart in a profound way.
This Thursday was the last Worship Collective of the year. I spent the day working alongside friends who have become family. That night we joined together: we shared a meal together, spent time praying for our families, our church and for missionaries overseas, and joined together in worship of our King Jesus. Because of the atoning work of Jesus on the cross, those who believe in Him, are all part of the family of God. Family is one of the most meaningful parts of my life. You may have noticed this - I post a lot of pictures of my kids. Also, because I'm the oldest of 7 kids, throughout my life family has been everything. It is amazing that this is part of God's design for his Church. We see this in scripture in passages like in John, where Jesus is praying to His Father:
"I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."
How incredible it is that we are unified by Jesus, God in the flesh!
The residency at The Austin Stone, has been challenging in all the right ways! Spiritually I am challenged to read God's word and to apply what I'm learning to how I worship and how I relate to others. I am challenged by the fact that people can tell if I'm fighting to believe, or if I'm simply complacent in my understanding of the gospel. If what I'm speaking doesn't come from deep within, people can tell. I am also being challenged to serve the body of Christ well with the skills I've been given. This means spending time memorizing songs and lyrics and working on song arrangements, dynamics, and transitions. I am incredibly blessed, humbled and excited to be able to do this! On Tuesday I had the opportunity to record a couple songs in the studio! Fernando, Zach, and Logan helped me out on drums, keys, and audio production. It was so much fun and really added to my development as a musician and worship leader. The full picture of these experiences is summed up by the fact that I am gaining an understanding of how the Church can and should operate in a healthy way, as a family, in unity, as one!
I would like to thank everyone who is supporting our family through prayer and monetary means during this season of development. This residency is preparing not only me, but my wife and my two young children for vocational ministry longterm. As we continue learning and growing I would like to ask for your prayers and financial support. Please consider this prayerfully. And click below if God lays this on your heart. Thank you!
This Christmas, as we gathered in a circle, as we gather as a family, let us remember why we gather. Let us remember that God sent his son, in the flesh, as a baby to earth to save all humanity, so that we could believe and be part of His eternal family. Jesus, the son of God came to earth fully God and fully human.