The great Irenaeus said that our ‘beloved Lord Jesus Christ became what we are that he might bring us to be what he is in himself.’ Athanasius said much the same, ‘the Son of God became son of man to make us sons of God.’ For both of these early Church theologians the incarnation was a staggering fact, which shouted to the world that the Father, Son and Spirit wanted real relationship with us, fellowship, communion, shared life. As Karl Barth said, God has no intention of being God without us. The gift given to us is Jesus himself, and all that he is and has with his Father and the Holy Spirit—adoption. As astonishing as it is, the eternal purpose of the Triune God was to give the human race a real place and share in the very Trinitarian life itself.
But how do you reach the human race in its terrible blindness and wrongheaded resistance and rebellion? How do you include people who want nothing of you, and indeed want you dead? And what good is the incarnation if Jesus does not penetrate Adam’s fall? Such would not be a real incarnation, and neither Jesus nor his life would actually reach us in our brokenness.
In the shocking love of the Triune God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit deliberately embraced us in our sin and darkness, willfully submitting themselves to our bizarre anger and judgment. The incarnation proclaims that the Triune God is passionate about sharing the Trinitarian life itself with us, and nothing less. The submission of Jesus, and in him the Father and the Holy Spirit, to our brutality, rejection and murder shouts a determined, astonishing love larger than the cosmos. And the resurrection declares that he did it, that in Jesus, and in his suffering from our hands the Trinitarian life itself has set up shop inside death and darkness and evil forever. Dying in the arms of our scorn, the Father’s Son made contact with Adam, recreating relationship with him and all his wayward sons and daughters from inside the fall—resurrection.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit forgive us for the way we have twisted your amazing, determined love, and tried to force your passion and character into our blind legalities. Father, forgive us for what we have thought of you. Jesus, forgive us for the way we have denied your oneness with your Father. And Holy Spirit forgive us for minimizing your constant witness to the truth.
Thank you Jesus that though we rejected you, you did not reject us, but embraced us in our foul blindness, bowing to our rage that you might reach the real us—and bring your Father and the Holy Spirit with you. Hallelujah. Blessed be the Holy Trinity.