God Extends the Hand of Fellowship to Us*
Jesus said, “Anyone who has seen me, has seen the Father.” John 14:9
God has always desired the companionship of those He created in His image. In the beginning, He initiated daily times of fellowship with Adam and Eve. Then He sought them out even when He knew they had sinned against Him and opened a chasm of unrighteousness between them (Genesis 3: 8). On the day He expelled them from Eden, He promised to restore that fellowship by sending a Savior who would crush evil (3:15).
When He delivered the Israelites from Egypt, He declared that they were “his treasured possession” (Exodus 19:5). He told Moses to make a sanctuary so that He could dwell once again among His people (Exodus 25:8).
But before God had even finished giving Moses the tabernacle’s blueprints, the Israelites had grieved Him and returned to idol worship. And although God repeatedly wooed them and disciplined them, they never fully forsook the pagan practices they had adopted in Egypt and mimicked in the Promised Land.
The God whose splendor and holiness was hidden behind the thick curtains of the Most Holy Place frightened them. They wanted a god they could see, and touch, and understand. God mourned their fickle, foolish unfaithfulness, yet He understood their frailty. He had always intended to give them a “God they could see.”
Therefore, on a quiet night near a small village, a tattered group of shepherds heard the divine proclamation for which the souls of all mankind had yearned: “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). Born into the world of men was the Lord of the universe. God “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).
The Incarnation is the official manifesto of God’s never-ending desire to commune with those He created and loves. That amazes me. It humbles me. And it convicts me. God has extended the hand of fellowship to me. How eagerly do I stretch out my hand to Him?
The English word incarnation comes from a Latin word, incarne, which means “in flesh.” Why was it so important for Jesus to be “in flesh”? Read Romans 5:19 and Hebrews 4:15.
One day our relationship with God will be as pure and complete as the relationship He shared with Adam and Eve. Read all about it in Revelation 21:1-4, 22-27, and 22:1-5.
To whom was Jesus speaking when he said, “Anyone who has seen me, has seen the father”? What was he trying to explain? Read John 14: 5-11.
The Hebrew word for “dwell,” skenoo, means “to settle down” or to “abide.” It can also be translated “to tabernacle.” What light does that shed on Jesus’ comments in John 15: 1-17?
Denise K. Loock
*NOTE: This devotion appears in a slightly different form in Open Your Hymnal: Devotions That Harmonize Scripture With Song. Order a copy at http://tinyurl.com/ctfxtko