But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth; then the rest of his brothers shall return to the people of Israel. And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth. And he shall be their peace. (Micah 5:2-5a, ESV)
What was God’s heart behind the incarnation? Yes, Jesus came to set the record straight, preach the kingdom of God, and show us the true nature of God—all of these things matter deeply—but why? Jesus stepped down and did all of this because of his immeasurable love for his sheep. He came because we were not grasping the full picture, we didn’t understand the depth of God’s love for us, and we were satisfied with checking our spiritual boxes because that was all we were being taught. That wasn’t good enough for his sheep—his desire for us is that we would get it right, understand the depth of his love, know the way in which we ought to live and he demonstrated that in his life, death, and resurrection. He did all of this for us and it pleased God to have it this way. Jesus’s abundant life in the kingdom brought honor and glory to the Father and he wanted that for us as well. No one imagined that a baby born of a young girl in a tiny town of no consequence would be the peace of Israel.
No one fathomed that this baby would grow into the man who would shepherd the people of Israel and stand in the strength and majesty of God. No one knew how far his name would spread, even to the ends of the earth. In fact, many of them missed it entirely. Israel needed a savior—a warrior king to secure their dwelling place and establish peace. God would not come down as a baby—except he did and it changed everything. A prayer: God, thank you for revealing your heart to us in the person of Jesus. We are so humbled and grateful that in your great love for us, you stepped down from heaven. It doesn’t seem possible that you would come down, but you did and it changed everything for everyone. Help me to bring honor and glory to you by living the abundant life available to me as demonstrated by Jesus. We love you, Lord. Amen.