The famous cosmetic surgeon Dr. Maxwell Maltz tells an amazing story about a woman who visited his office and told him that her husband had been injured in a terrible fire. Sadly, she explained that his face was so disfigured from the burns that he had locked himself in his room and would not let anyone, including her, into his life.
Dr. Maltz quickly assured her, “You have come to the right place. We have made tremendous advances in cosmetic surgery and have all the latest technology here in my office. Just tell him to come in …” The woman interrupted, “You don’t understand, he will not come. I did not come to ask you to heal him. I have come to ask you to disfigure my face so that he will let me back into his life.”
Dr. Maltz was utterly amazed. Of course, he did not honor her request. He did, however, go to the man’s house to try to convince him to come out. He knocked, but there was silence. Finally, the doctor yelled, “Listen, your wife came to me and begged me to disfigure her so that you would let her back into your life.”
From behind the walls, he heard weeping. Slowly the door opened, the man came out and entered into a new life. This exemplary wife intended to go to extraordinary measures to identify and connect with her hurting husband to show her love for him.
Have you ever wondered if anyone has this type of love for you?
The Christian faith proclaims the good news that God loves you this way and has proven it by choosing to disfigure himself in order to identify and connect with our hurting world. The Bible captures this astonishing thought in these terms:
“… though he [Jesus] was in the form of God … emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death — even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8)
He had “no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not … he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:2-5)
The Christian faith makes the extraordinary claim that God himself visited our world as a full-fledged human being. Spirit became flesh. Infinite became finite. Invisible became visible. The Creator entered his creation. He entered into our world so that we could enter into his world. The King of the universe became a tiny, vulnerable, peasant child.
One ancient Hebrew prophecy foretells this epic event with these words:
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14 — Immanuel means “God with us”).
What a profound thought! That the only way people on earth could clearly understand what the God of heaven is like was if the God of heaven became a person on earth. That God would enter into our world so that we could enter into his world. Why would God do this? The answer, in a word, is love.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16-17)
“Though he [Jesus] was very rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9)
This article is an excerpt from minister of Destin Church of Christ Russ Whitten’s, new book, Have You Ever Wondered? — available now on www.amazon.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.