That is God with curly dark brown hair and wood shavings in his hair and callouses on his hands. That is God come live among us.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.'”) Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known (John 1:14-18).
I sat dumbfounded the first time I heard Jim McGuiggan say it. His words went something like this:
The thought was so simple, yet so true. We forget that the immortal, eternal, almighty, ineffable, God of the universe pitched his tent among us and lived with us as one of us. God was not confined to a Temple or a Tabernacle or a holy place, but he lived in human skin among human people. His glory was as close as the kid in the carpenter shop! Matthew reminds us that Jesus is Immanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23). Luke tells us that when people saw Jesus do his amazing work of healing, they could accurately rejoice, “God has visited his people” (Luke 7:16 ESV).
Jesus is God made touchable!
As we gather around the Lord’s table and celebrate Holy Communion, we rejoice in the cup of blessing because God chose to be one of us in Jesus (1 Corinthians 10:16). We share in the Eucharist, this giving of thanks (eucharistaesas 1 Corinthians 11:23-24), much as Jesus did when he broke the bread. And, we share in the body and blood — the tangible presence — of God made touchable in Jesus. These simple things, bread and wine, are suddenly beyond bread and wine. They are tangible and touchable to remind us that God was not some spiritual vapor or some immortal being beyond us. Our God, the only true and living God, is real. He lived among us in Jesus so we could know him. This God chose to be God in human flesh and called Jesus. And this Jesus called us his friends (John 15:15) and his family (Hebrews 2:10-18).
As we share in the Supper this day, let’s remember that Jesus is God made touchable. As we take this bread and this wine, we renew that touch and are reminded that God is not only real but also present as Immanuel, God with us, still!
Thomas, with Jesus a week after his resurrection, saw and could touch the scars in the wounds of the risen Jesus. His reply says it for us all:
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus and his body and blood we share in the Supper are God made touchable!
Prayer for the Bread:
O Father of grace, the almighty and eternal Creator, thank you for coming to us in Jesus. Thank you for sharing our mortality so that we can share in your immortality. Thank you for sharing in our fragile human flesh so that we know that you know our struggle — not just because you are the all-knowing God, but also because you have shared that fragility with us in the body of Jesus. We remember and rejoice in that body now. We do this in the name and in memory of Jesus. Amen.
Prayer for the Cup:
Holy and righteous Father, we take this blood of the new covenant remembering the cost of our salvation and the power of your triumphant love demonstrated in Jesus. We thank you for this grace in Jesus’ name. Amen.
About the author: Phil Ware works with churches in transition with Interim Ministry Partners and for the past 18 years, he has been editor and president of HEARTLIGHT Magazine, author of VerseoftheDay.com and aYearwithJesus.com.
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