Who’s afraid of a baby?

Many people are afraid of God, quake at the notion of standing before almighty God, have a picture of God in which He is a command-giving, lightening-bolt-throwing, sinner-zapping, hell-delivering, wrathful tyrant of a God.

Who would love a God like that? I sure wouldn’t. Who would want to worship Him? Not me. Who would even give a moment of his life to trust in Him? Not this one.

What kind of a god would want to scare his creation into submission? Oh, there are gods like this—gods which men have created for themselves, like the many gods of Greek and Roman and Norse legends. But is the true God like this—a demanding, fear-invoking, abusive God?

How do you know that the true God is not a wrathful tyrant? You know He is not, because you know all about Christmas.

Think about it: Who’s afraid of a baby? What harm can a baby do? At whom can a baby throw lightening bolts? How can a baby scare anyone?

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Quite the opposite, a baby is an invitation to cooing at him, holding him, smelling his newborn sweetness, feeding and caring for him, singing to him and rocking him to sleep.

A baby does not call down orders, demand favor, or seek worship. A baby is completely at the mercy of his parents. He cannot command; he can only receive. He cannot seek; he can only accept.

We know that God’s Son was born of a woman, in the same manner in which we all came into this world, and that God intended to save the world through the sacrifice of His Son. Yet, there is so much more to see in the person of Jesus, who is Immanuel, God with us in our own flesh.

What we see is a wonderful picture of God’s character.

If love and gentleness and joyfulness were not God’s true nature, He never would have been born of a woman. If God the Father did not possess a spirit of helpfulness, the Son of God would not have put Himself into our flesh, where it would now be His job to fulfill all which His Father commands. If all the Father wanted to do were to throw lightening bolts into our lives, His Son would have stayed in heaven and made sure His quiver were always loaded.

But who’s afraid of a baby? And in the baby Jesus, God is saying, “Fear not. Come close. See your salvation lying in a manger, swaddled tightly, nursing at His mother’s breast, coming into your world in a most harmless, humble manner.”

Jesus grew to be a man. He didn’t go off and get married, but stayed home, perhaps because Joseph by now had died, and as the first-born of His mother Jesus had a responsibility. He followed in the family business.

Who’s afraid of a stay-at-home, mother-obeying carpenter?

When the time had come, at the age of thirty, Jesus was pressed into the job for which He had been born. He went to John to be baptized.

Who’s afraid of a man, who’s not even a sinner, humbling Himself at the feet of a baptizer?

From there, Jesus went into the wilderness. For forty days, He fasted. For forty days, He was alone. For forty days, Satan tested and tempted Him. Surely, Jesus was starved and shriveled, a sorry sight.

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I ask you: Just who is afraid of a man like that?

After Jesus passed this terrible test, He rejoined society. He took up preaching and healing and helping. True, Jesus had stern sermons for those who did not do His Father’s will to love others as they love themselves, but mostly He spoke words of forgiveness to the outcasts of society, He fed the hungry who followed Him cross-country, He calmed the fears of His friends by calming the storm.

Jesus gave help to the helpless, hope to the hopeless, and a smile to those at whom society only frowned.

I ask you: Who is afraid of a man like this? Who is afraid of those who are tender and caring and humble?

If you are not yet convinced that God in heaven does not want you afraid of Him, but to trust Him to love you, and to shower you with mercy, and to help you in your every need, then, please, continue to ponder His Son, the One who came as a baby, whose newborn back was laid on the wood of a manger, who grew up to be the man whose whip-torn back was nailed to the wood of a cross.

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Who, I ask you, is afraid of a man who is nailed to a cross? Why, He is as helpless as a baby in a crib.

Who is offended by a man who, while having His life unfairly taken from Him, asks God to forgive His murderers?

Who is scared off by a Son who, as He anticipates His last breath, looks out for the welfare of His mother by appointing a friend to watch over her?

Akin to a newborn child is Jesus on the cross. Who does not want to wash His wounds? Who does not want to hold His hand and comfort Him? Who does not want to speak words of encouragement to Him?

Who is timid toward a man who invites:

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Who is afraid of a Savior who invites you to be washed in a baptism of His holiness for the forgiveness of all sins?

Who is scared off by a Lord who calls you to His table, to eat and drink of His saving flesh and blood for the strengthening of faith?

Who is not drawn to a King whose greatest love is to declare that you are saved to be children of His Father—indeed, because He is the One who worked for your salvation?

Who’s afraid of a baby?

Who’s afraid of Jesus?

Not me.

And, I pray, not you, as you consider His lovely face, His acts of grace.

Amen.

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One thought on “Christmas 2016

  1. Well said! Who, indeed, is afraid of the Prince of Peace, of a God who takes pity on His children, of a Shepherd who supplies every need, of a Lord who makes us His children to live with Him forever?

    Liked by 1 person

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