Estimated Reading Time: 3 min, 25 sec
I don’t know how this got started but for some years now, whenever Christmas time comes around, this song, One of Us, written by Eric Bazilian, and originally released by Joan Osborne, unconsciously taps itself into play. It’s as if my memory bank set this song to auto-play whenever it’s Christmas. And it plays on repeat throughout. I wake up in the morning and the first thing I hear is the chorus of the song.
Here’s the chorus of the song
What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home?
Songwriters: Eric Bazilian / Eric M. Bazilian
One of Us lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc
When I first listened to this song, I thought it was sacrilegious. My view of God was of a being in heaven with all power and majesty. A God too pure to be equated to us. A God too lofty to be reduced down to human terms. And yet this song tagged at what we all know is true. We all know, whether we acknowledge it or not, that there is a higher being – a more powerful being. We all know we are not alone in this world, and we all wonder whether this being knows and understands us.
Matthew, a Jewish writer of the New Testament pens a prophecy Isaiah gave concerning Jesus.
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
Matthew 1:23 (NKJV)
Also, John in his Old Testament spirit inspired thinking wrote
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14 (NKJV)
This prophecy in the book of Matthew and John‘s writings depict the Old Covenant idea of the tabernacle. The tabernacle or tent was right in the midst of the Israeli camps in the desert.
And let them make a sanctuary for Me,that I may dwell in their midst.
Exodus 25:8 (LITV)
They still saw Jesus through the Old Covenant lens. And they were right.
In the New Testament, however, God took it a notch up. He didn’t just wish to be with us; he became one of us. See, being with someone and being one with someone are two distinct matters. Being with someone means you are present with them, you are there with them; you are in their company. Being one with someone is something comparable to walking in their shoes, dealing with what they experience, going through what they go through, and doing what they do.
This is exactly what God did in his son, Jesus. Check out what Paul wrote
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form…
Philippians 2:7-8 (NLT)
In Jesus, God became a human being. In Jesus, God became one of us. The glory and folly of the Christian faith is that its creator, a god, became a human being. This is a pillar of truth in the Christian faith that John had to write a treatise in defence of it. (1 John 4:2-3, 2 John 7) God had to become one of us to save us.
In reply to the question posed by Eric Bazilian and Joan Osborne’s in the song, One of Us, yes, God became one of us. And this is the point of Christmas. The only difference between his humanity and ours was that he wasn’t trying to make his way home. He knew where his home is and came here to get all of mankind home. Jesus came to get us home. Christmas is a time when we remember that God came to get us home.
Do you want to know how God got us home? God in his son Jesus got us home by losing his home, by being cast out of his home so you and I can come back home. We are welcomed back home because Jesus lost his place in his own home. He did it for us.
In his humanity, in him becoming one of us, he understands our weaknesses (plural)
This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses…
Hebrews 4:15 (NLT)
This understanding is not just a nod of the head in acknowledgement or a theory conceived in his mind. It is experiential. Jesus was a human and as truth, he is still a human at the right hand of his father. This is why the next verse makes so much sense
So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
Hebrews 4:16 (NLT)
You can only come boldly before a gracious God if you know he understands you, and especially when he understands your weaknesses.
This Christmas I will celebrate the God who became one of us. I will sing, dance, eat, and laugh with family and friends in honour of the one who became one of us – one who understands us.
Eric Bazilian, yes God became one of us.
That’s what grace looks like