Back in 1995, Joan Osborne released a song posing this question, “What if God was one of us?” You probably remember the song and like me you can sing along with the main lyrics, “What if God was one of us? Just a slob like one of us? Just a stranger on the bus, trying to make his way home.”
It was a good song, but every time I hear it, I wonder how many people really stop and think about the implications of that question? And do they realize that according to Christianity, God was one of us?
The central message of Christianity, the message we celebrate at Christmas, the message that makes Christianity different from other world religions, is the message that God was one of us. It’s the message coming from heaven when the angel said to Mary and Joseph they were to name their child Immanuel, which meant, “God with us.”
It’s also the message Jesus, the early church, the Gospels, and the disciples proclaimed and believed. In John’s Gospel it is made clear in the very first chapter that God became flesh and lived among us in the person of Jesus Christ. This is what the disciples believed and taught. John 1:10 says, “He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him.” In verse 14 it says, “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us…full of grace and truth.”
Even those that wanted to kill him, the chief priests and teachers of the Jewish law, give us historical evidence to believe this was the message being proclaimed. Remember when Jesus was on trial and Pontius Pilate was debating on what to do with Jesus? He found no fault in Jesus. He was willing to let Him go, but the Jews were outraged because Jesus, being a mere man, was claiming to be God, claiming to be the great “I am” from the Old Testament. According to Jewish law that made Him guilty of blasphemy, which was punishable by death.
This message of Christianity, the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the fact that He being a mere man was also fully God, is the message of Christmas. I can’t tell you how many years it took me to really wrap my mind around the message that we celebrate at Christmas. However, I can tell you that once it resonated within me, once the magnitude of this event, once the truth behind the person of Jesus Christ was revealed to me, it changed my life. It became truth that I have decided to stake my future on.
When all the evidence is examined, from both the Bible and history, Jesus either was who He said He was or He lied. So today I want to pose to you the question, “What if Jesus was telling the truth and God was one of us?” What if He came to this earth in the form of a man and tried to communicate with us? Would you care what He had to say? Would you believe His words to be true? Would His words affects the way you live? What if He tried to tell you how to treat other people? What if His teachings went against your selfish nature? What if His teachings went against everything you had been taught, everything you believed to be true? What if giving up your old way of life to follow his teachings meant leaving some things behind?
That is pretty much what happened to this man. If you have time, please listen to his story. If you don’t have time, make time.