Reawakening Our Astonishment
I feel so strongly that among those of us who have grown up in church and who can recite the great doctrines of our faith in our sleep and yet who can yawn through the Apostles’ Creed—among us something must be done to help us once more feel the awe, the fear, the astonishment, the wonder of the Son of God, begotten by the Father from all eternity, reflecting all the glory of God, being the very image of his person, through whom all things were created, upholding the universe by the word of his power.
You can read every fairy tale that was ever written, every mystery thriller, every ghost story, and you will never find anything so shocking, so strange, so weird and spellbinding as the story of the incarnation of the Son of God.
How dead we are! How callous and unfeeling to your glory and your story, O God! How often have I had to repent and say, “God, I am sorry that the stories men have made up stir my emotions, my awe and wonder and admiration and joy, more than your own true story.”
Perhaps the galactic movie thrillers of our day can do at least this good for us: they can humble us and bring us to repentance, by showing us that we really are capable of some of the wonder and awe and amazement that we so seldom feel when we contemplate the eternal God and the cosmic glory of Christ and a real living contact between them and us in Jesus of Nazareth.
When Jesus said, “For this purpose I have come into the world” (John 18:37), he said something as crazy and weird and strange and eerie as any statement in science fiction that you have ever read.
You will never find anything so shocking, so strange, so weird and spellbinding as the story of the incarnation of the Son of God.
Oh, how I pray for a breaking forth of the Spirit of God upon me and upon you, for the Holy Spirit to break into my experience in a frightening way, to wake me up to the unimaginable reality of God.
One of these days lightning is going to fill the sky from the rising of the sun to its setting, and there is going to appear in the clouds the Son of Man with his mighty angels in flaming fire. And we will see him clearly. And whether from terror or sheer excitement, we will tremble and we will wonder how we ever lived so long with such a domesticated, harmless Christ.
These things are written—the whole Bible is written— that we might believe, that we might be stunned and awakened to the wonder, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came into the world.
This article is adapted from Good News of Great Joy: 25 Devotional Readings for Advent by John Piper.
If Christ came to die so that when you do sin, there is a propitiation, a removal of God’s wrath, then what does this imply for living your life? Three things.
What does Jesus want this Christmas? We can see the answer in his prayers.
The reason God became man was to die. As God pure and simple, he could not die for sinners. But as man he could. His aim was to die.
Christmas marked the beginning of God’s most successful setback.