Tuesday, December 13, 2005

THE UNIVERSAL INCARNATION

E. Stanley Jones served as a Methodist missionary in India during Gandhi's era. Prolific in writing and in his efforts to help American Christians understand evangelical Christianity on the world stage, I always read Jones with rapt attention. Jones helps me to move beyond being merely a subculture Christian. I've been rereading his daily devotional book The Word Became Flesh. Here is a brief excerpt:

HE SUFFERS IN ALL SUFFERING. Jesus "is Incarnate on a Universal scale--every man's hunger is His hunger, every person's sickness is His sickness..." Jesus "does not merely have a body that suffers as our bodies suffer--He is suffering in every man's body, hungry in every person's hunger, bound in every imprisonment. To suffer in one body--His own--is one thing; to suffer in every person's body is another--and different and breathtaking. It is beyond imagination."

IN HIS PARTICULAR BODY. "But we could never have known this universal Incarnation if Jesus had not shown it in a particular Incarnation in a particular body. If it had been written in a book that God suffers in every person's suffering...we would have shrugged our shoulders in incredulity. But having seen it in the Word become flesh, we do not shrug our shoulders--we bend the knee. And we mention it in awe and adoration. It is beyond us, but it grips us and we say to ourselves: The God we see in Jesus would do just that."