Eating breakfast around our table one day this week, my family and I got on the topic somehow of why is it that babies cry when they are born. Maybe we got on the topic because it was cold in our house, which is what Jessica and Faith think all the time. Maybe it was because we’re talking about Heath’s birthday coming up. Either way, we got talking about how babies cry when they are born. The conclusion which the kids and Jessica came up with was this: … babies cry when they are born because all of a sudden they find themselves in a different place and it’s cold! They think the proper translation of the cry is “Put me back in there, it’s cold out here!!!!”
Whether they are right or not, the birth of a baby is something traumatic for them. Here they go from being nice and cozy swimming around in this warm, dark little bubble of embryonic fluid to being pushed through this tiny little canal to then wha-bam … they get a face full of bright lights and a drastic change in temperature. Honestly, I’d cry too in that case.
This may be an odd way of thinking about it, but have you ever considered how our experience of the world is much like that of a baby in the womb? Think about it for just a moment. A baby in the womb knows nothing but what is around them. Their entire world is there in that womb. The baby doesn’t even comprehend, nor could it ever fathom what the outside world is. You could even tell the baby while he or she is in the womb about everything that is out in the world, but it would only sound like the noise the parents or the teachers make on the old Charlie Brown Christmas Special. “‘Mwa-Mwa-Maw’”
But have you also ever considered this: A baby in the womb has not yet begun to live and move in the way in which God designed them to be? The baby’s eyes are not yet seeing in a manner in which they were designed. Their lungs are not yet breathing the air they were created to breathe. They have not yet begun to move in the way which they were made to. For that baby though … there will be a day, a difficult day, a dark day, a scary day, when doctors and nurses are all gathered around. On that day, the baby moves from the womb to the world. It’s then when they really get to live as God intended.
Our spiritual experience … it is much like that of a baby in the womb. Before Christ is in our life, we live in the world, and we think this is all there is. But when we get into God’s Word, it tells us that there is this whole other place called Heaven. Just like a baby in the womb, we cannot understand what that means and we can’t even begin to fathom what it will look like or be like. Before Christ, God’s Word sounds as confused and as garbled as the “‘Mwa-Mwa-Mwa’” of Charlie Brown. It’s just noise and not very clear.
Before Christ, life in the womb of the world was pretty comfortable. Life there would have been enough for us. But then the time comes, and we hear about that day, the difficult day, a dark day, a scary day when soldiers and mockers all gathered around Jesus. On that day, they gather around to punish, beat, whip, and crucify Him. That difficult day, that dark day, scary day was the day in which Jesus would die on the cross.
The Holy Spirit works to create faith in the hearts of people, in the hearts of you and me. As the Holy Spirit creates faith in us, we begin to move from this world of darkness, death, and sin that we are comfortable with to the new life of being a Christian. In this new life, when you and I hear that Jesus’ crucified body rises three days after he died and is delivered from the tomb, we move out of the darkness and into the light of the world of faith, and we believe. All that used to sound like garbled confusion from God’s Word is now by faith alone and by Christ alone made clear. As we move from the world of death and sin to a new Christian life, our eyes by faith now see the world as God made it. Our lips can now sing the praises they were designed to sing. We begin to move in acts of service toward each other, toward our neighbor as God intended us to do. As wonderful as welcoming a baby into the world is, it’s also a glorious thing to be born of God by faith on account of Christ.
The birth isn’t it though is it? There’s a lot more which comes after the birth, after the becoming a new Christian. There’s this life live. In this new life we still continue to live in the darkness of this world of sin and death. As we live as a child of God in this world, it is still very much like being in the womb. This world is like a womb because there is something else waiting for us. There’s heaven and the new creation. In our being born-again in Christ by faith experience, we will also experience another birth by being born into Heaven forever with God and the whole family of God we long to see. Because, you see, we will pass from this dark world into the bright world of eternity.
On that day, that day in which we physically die … we don’t need to be afraid of anything. We don’t need to be afraid of death because Christ will safely deliver us from this world into Heaven Himself. On that day, we will with our eyes truly see the creation as it was made to be, restored and perfected in every way. On that day we will run and not grow weary, we will walk and not be faint. On that day we will meet our family of faith and we will see Christ face to face and He will wipe away every tear from our eyes. On that day, we will truly live as God intended us too.
And we can be confident of this delivery into eternal life because Jesus has already gone the way we have to go. He has already gone from death to life. Jesus has already gone from the womb, to the grave, and is now alive again in Heaven forever. He is the good deliver because He knows the way. In fact, Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Light (John 14:6). There is no other deliverer out there who can safely bring you into Heaven.
Our Old Testament reading from Isaiah 49 is known as the second servant song. This text is all about the Servant of the Lord. Isaiah uses this experience of being in the womb to talk about Israel’s life with God. But in verse five, there is this twist and added dimension where everything changes. The One who is called Israel in verse three is now to bring Israel back to the Lord, which means that the servant Isaiah is talking about is not the nation of Israel. Instead Isaiah is talking about the One who is representing the nation. Just like how Adam in Genesis 1 is one man, in other parts of Scripture like Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15, Adam represents all of mankind. So when Isaiah is talking about Israel, he is reducing Israel, reducing mankind down to one man, Jesus. In Baptism, we are all born again into Christ through his death, burial, and resurrection. Jesus has made the way for us. Isaiah says about Jesus, “Before I was born the LORD called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name” (Isaiah 49:1). The angel who appeared to Joseph and Mary revealed this to them before Jesus was conceived and born.
If we try to deliver ourselves, we would agree with Isaiah that we would “have labored to no purpose; I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing” (49:4). So God in His mercy and in the fullness of time “sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out ‘Abba, Father’” (Galatians 4:4-6). With this, we can say with Isaiah, “yet what is due me is in the LORD’s hand, and my reward is with my God” (49:4b). It was not “too small a thing” (49:6) for Jesus to bring forth this great salvation, this great deliverance for us. In fact, Jesus says, “I am the Light of the world” (John 8:12). He says this because His whole mission was to bring this new life to light by His birth, His ministry, His death, and His resurrection. He is the only qualified deliverer who has promised, sent, delivered, and stands with you forever. Amen.
The peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord, now and forever. Amen.