Why did God become a man?

God became a man.

Don’t get used to that. The God who threw stars into space got his hands dirty; the one who spoke life into our lungs cried in a humble stable.

If that’s not the craziest thing you’ve ever heard, Away in a Manger has likely dulled the senses.

And while ‘tis certainly the season to be jolly, it’s only when we grasp why God became a man that we get something more than jolliness – we get joy.

So why did God do it?

He came to live

‘Jesus came to die,’ I often hear. True – but he also came to live. Without Jesus’ life, his death would have been futile.

Jesus lived a perfect life (Hebrews 4:15). He glorified God perfectly in his work, in his love for people, in his enjoyment of earthly pleasures (Luke 7:34). He was perfectly perfect – righteous.

And this is important.

Because for everyone who puts their trust in him, his spiritual and moral perfection is gifted to us in the same way as all gifts are given – at no cost (Romans 3:22).

God became a man to live on your behalf so that, in Jesus, you would get his life’s perfection (2 Corinthians 5:21).

He came to die

But he also became a man in order to die (Mark 10:45). Not only did we take on his life’s perfection; he took on our sin. And the result was brutal – fair, but brutal.

He was crucified, bearing God’s holy wrath against sin. Our moral and spiritual failure was placed on Jesus’ shoulders. He was punished in our place so we’d go free (Romans 5:9).

He gave us his life; we gave him our sin.  

Only someone fully human could properly stand in the place of humans before God. Only God could live a perfectly righteous life on our behalf.

And we needed both.