How does Jesus being born as a baby help us personally?

Years ago I accepted what Jesus’ birth meant, that he was born to save me from my sins, Matthew 1:21. But I still wondered how Jesus being born as a helpless human baby accomplished that. And how did the rest of Jesus’ human life make any difference to the life I’m stuck with now?

Well, for a start, I’ve lived long enough to know I can’t do much about my life. No matter what I say, do, or think seems to make any noticeable dent or improvement in who I am and what I’ve become. It’s too late to repair the damage done too. I’m so burdened down with addictions, inadequacies, phobias and worries that I’m clearly beyond the bounds of human help. Oh, I’ve tried with all my might to patch up the damage with good behaviour and a selfless life of serving people, but the effort left me frustrated and exhausted.

I felt like Paul when he said, “What a wretched man I am. Who will rescue me from this body of death?” – because I couldn’t do anything about my exhausted wreck of a life either. So now what? Well, I knew that God sent his Son “in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man” (Romans 8:3), meaning that Jesus in his human death dealt a death blow to my wreck of a life. But that only got rid of the mess of a life I’d already lived. How would his human life change my life in the future?

Well, Paul said we are “saved though his life” (Romans 5:10), which I took that to mean there was more Jesus would do in my life in the future, and his human life was the key to that too. But how? According to Paul it was through Jesus living the way he lived as a human being in me, which he could do through the same Spirit power that enabled him to be who he was as a human (Romans 8:10-11).

And what the Spirit did for Jesus in his human life was fix his attention on the Father every time his human frailty and weakness threatened to overcome him (Hebrews 5:7). Meaning that, when I need rescuing from my human weakness and frailty, that same Spirit stirs me to call on the Father too, so that I can experience in my life what Jesus experienced in his life. So in Jesus being born as a helpless baby, and later as a helpless adult too, I have the clue to my own helplessness: It is the Father helping me personally, just as he helped Jesus.


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