A couple of years ago, during the height of Covid, I saw in my local paper a picture of Santa Claus meeting with two kids. They were separated by a piece of plexiglass, with Santa sitting in his chair on one side and the kids standing on the other. They were reaching out to each other, however; Santa was touching his gloved hand to the glass on one side and the kids were touching it on the other side. Wow! What a memorable visit to see Santa!
This month we are again celebrating God’s Son coming to us in our flesh. How different was His coming! There was nothing to shield Him from our sicknesses and sins and sorrows. No, the holy and eternal Son of God became flesh and came to live among us in order to take upon and within Himself all that comes with life in our flesh and in this fallen world. Matthew points this out in the 8 th chapter of his Gospel when he writes:
When Jesus entered Peter's house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him. That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.” (Mt. 8:14-17)
Accounts like this tend to make us think that Jesus was impervious to diseases. After all, He quickly and easily healed people; often with just a word! But, notice: Matthew says that He took our illnesses and bore our diseases. He was quoting Isaiah 53:4, which says, “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” Jesus was not at all impervious to the things that trouble us. He felt them in His flesh and soul.
I have no doubt that He did so even in His infancy. Seeing as Jesus was born and began His life on this earth in the same way as us, He probably suffered at times from things that trouble babies to this day, such as diaper rash. In fact, seeing as life was much rougher and far less sanitary in the 1 st century, this was probably a common occurrence. As a child, He probably fell now and then and skinned his knee. Other kids probably teased Him and made fun of Him at times. And, He probably got sick. You may have not thought so, but why not? Don’t put a plexiglass shield between you and your Savior. “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.” The Son of God did not come to be separate from us in any way. Rejoice in that! Rejoice, because He came to take our illnesses and bear our diseases – and, above all, the sins that lay behind them and are the cause of all sorrows – and to bear them to the cross. He came to put them to death in His flesh, and then rise in triumph over them and bring forth a new flesh and a new life for us.
This is precisely why God the Father sent His Son to us: to save us from our sins and all the trials and tribulations which accompany them. Especially at Christmas, then, we sing with the angels:
Glory to God in the highest! And on earth peace, goodwill to men.
In Christ Jesus, our Lord,