Why Jesus?

On my husband Mark’s last birthday I took him to see a play at the Lookingglass Theater in downtown Chicago, then to the Signature Room lounge atop the John Hancock building. We sat before a table of cocktails, cheese, and chocolate cake, overlooking the sparkling skyscraper rooftops against the black backdrop of vast Lake Michigan.

Something about the vantage point – watching the city we love at night from high above– led our conversation away from the ordinary.

“But why Jesus?” I asked him. “Why do you think it’s important that Jesus was the son of God? Why does it matter?”
He answered that Jesus went to the very depths of despair in people – the lowest of the low – and embraced them, and suffered alongside them.

Imagine for a moment that God couldn’t go into the depths of sin – but a human could, and God as human could. Why Jesus? Because that’s how God sent Himself into the depths of human despair and suffering. He wanted to reach us in the places we hide. Where do we hide? In vice, debauchery, hatefulness, violence. In power trips, in gossip, in the place we believe we are cast out, invisible, worthless.

God wanted to come after us. Whatever capacity and craving we have for sin, he wanted to call us back to him, make it possible for us to come to him – he wanted to reach us where we were.

God waits for us at the bottom, at the place we think we can’t go any lower. Christ went into the deep, horrible places. He brought fishers of men along with him. He waits at the bottom for us, and then when he helps us up, he gives us reels to bring others.

God doesn’t ask anything of us that he wouldn’t do Himself. He went to the bottom to give us hope – to show a way out. He sends us to do the same.

Felicia Schneiderhan is a freelance writer based in Chicago, where she lives year-round on a boat with her husband Mark. Visit her blog at Life Aboard Mazurka.

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