A few years ago, Stephen Altrogge (songwriter, blogger at The Blazing Center, and a pastor at Sovereign Grace Church of Indiana, PA) wrote a brief post entitled “Incarnation Conversation.” Maybe it’s just our culture, but usually the birth of Jesus conjures up sweet images of a cute baby, all swaddled up in a quaint makeshift cradle made from a horse trough. It’s true that Jesus birth is sweet to the Christian–but it’s sweet because his birth had to precede his death. His coming to earth meant his going to the cross. His humiliation means 0ur exaltation.
Altrogge’s post envisions the conversation which took place between the Father and the Son prior to the Incarnation (with one caveat for you theologues: “Obviously, the Father had eternally planned our redemption”). Altrogge says that he got this idea from John Flavel’s excellent book The Fountain of Life. He wrote it to help us to contemplate what the Incarnation cost the Father and Jesus. I encourage you to take the time to read it; you’ll be glad you did!
Father: What shall we do, my Son? Look at this hopeless throng, mired in their sin. My holy justice has called forth my terrible wrath, like a tsunami, to sweep them away with eternal retribution. How shall we rescue them?
Son: Father, I’ll go. I’ll take on their nature and live in their world. I’ll obey you completely like they should have. Give me your wrath in their place.
Father: But you’re my one and only Son, the everlasting delight of my heart. Do you know what this means? Things will be different. In your human nature, you won’t sense me in the way you have for all eternity, you won’t experience my love in unbroken, face to face fellowship.
Son: But it’s the only way to rescue them from the holy justice they deserve.
Father: Here in heaven you have only infinite pleasure. On earth you’ll be poor. You’ll shiver with cold and cry out in thirst. You’ll be spit on, mocked and insulted.
Son: I’m glad to be emptied to make them rich in you.
Father: Son, for 33 years you will endure the fierce, personal temptation of the Evil One. For he will realize that if he can entice you to disobey me just once, the human race will be irrevocably lost. He’ll spare nothing in his attacks. No human has ever been or ever will be tempted the way you will.
Son: Father, I’m willing to endure all his venom for you and the ones you love so much.
Father: Son, to remove their sins, I must lay you in the dust and give you to be tortured, beaten beyond recognition, and nailed to a cross. And when I heap the mountains of their sin upon your soul, you will practically become sin itself. In my infinite loathing for sin, I will abandon you.
Son: More than any pain, Father, I dread being cut off from you. But I’m looking to the glory that lies beyond, when you exalt me and I bring your children home.
Father: My beloved Son, in whom is all my delight, I love you.
Son: Father, I love you and delight to do your will.
(note: Obviously, the Father had eternally planned our redemption. I got the idea for a conversation from John Flavel in The Fountain of Life as a way of contemplating what the Incarnation cost the Father and Jesus).
Merry Christmas everyone!