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Before Us

21 September 2011 by Brad Williams

Q. 37. How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?
A. Christ the Son of God became man, by taking to himself a true body, and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the virgin Mary, of her substance, and born of her, yet without sin.

Q. 38. Why was it requisite that the Mediator should be God?
A. It was requisite that the Mediator should be God, that he might sustain and keep the human nature from sinking under the infinite wrath of God, and the power of death; give worth and efficacy to his sufferings, obedience, and intercession; and to satisfy God's justice, procure his favor, purchase a peculiar people, give his Spirit to them, conquer all their enemies, and bring them to everlasting salvation.

Q. 39. Why was it requisite that the Mediator should be man?
A. It was requisite that the Mediator should be man, that he might advance our nature, perform obedience to the law, suffer and make intercession for us in our nature, have a fellow feeling of our infirmities; that we might receive the adoption of sons, and have comfort and access with boldness unto the throne of grace.

Q. 40. Why was it requisite that the Mediator should be God and man in one person?
A. It was requisite that the Mediator, who was to reconcile God and man, should himself be both God and man, and this in one person, that the proper works of each nature might be accepted of God for us, and relied on by us, as the works of the whole person.

We are in a sad, sorry state. Every last one of us is going to die. We all know this in a theoretical way, in the same way you know that passing a kidney stone hurts even if you've never passed one. But at some point in life, we all come to the startling realization that "middle-aged" means "halfway to dead", and once the birthdays start to click past 35 we begin to panic.

Maybe you looked in the mirror this morning and you saw more lines around your eyes. Maybe you've noticed more gray in your hair than you used to see. You've also noticed that your spouse isn't getting any more handsome or lovely. Both of you, frankly, are getting a little pudgy. You can't keep your original hair color, the vigor of your youth, or your silky smooth skin. It doesn't matter. (You really weren't as great as you think you used to be anyway)  So before you reach for that Grecian hair formula, get in hock for that convertible, or God forbid, ditch the wife of your youth to troll for younger women, remember that Jesus turned death into a finish line, not oblivion. He ran this race before us, as a man just like us, and he beckons us to run well to win the prize.

Two years ago, I ran my first half-marathon. My wife took pictures of me along the way. At mile two, I looked happy. I was smiling and waving to the camera, and generally hamming it up. At mile eleven, I looked like I was running out of a concentration camp I had stayed at for too long. I had no smile. I didn't wave to the camera. It was agony. The wretched course designers decided that mile 11 to 12 would be uphill! But an amazing thing happened at mile 13. I had only a tenth of a mile to go. I began to run faster despite the pain. I wore a sort of grimace that could actually be mistaken for a smile. See, my wife was on the other side of that line, and she was cheering for me, as were my kids. There was free pizza on the other side of that line, and all the sports drinks I could consume.

Here is the best part of it all: the next year, my wife ran the half-marathon with me. We bought an obnoxious little "13.1" sticker to go on the back glass of our Jeep to commemorate our accomplishment.

Don't get stuck on the glories of mile 2, brothers and sisters. I know you were smiling back then, and you were waving to the camera. But it still hurt, and you had a long, long way to go. The point of the race is to finish it. Finish well. If you do, Jesus Himself will crown you victor.