God With Skin On


A little fellow put to bed one night couldn’t sleep. After some twisting and turning, he eventually slipped into a slumber, only to awaken screaming by the horrors of a nightmare. His father rushed upstairs to assure him that everything was fine, but the shadows on the wall plus the darkness kept him in a state of fear. After some time, his father said, “I am going downstairs, but God will watch over you. He is right here.” That seemed little comfort to the child, who exclaimed, “I want a God with skin on.” 

“God with skin on” is the marvel and the message of the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christmas is a celebration and commemoration of the fact that God became a man, the eternal Word was made flesh, the highest being became a lowly creature, the source of life became a dying man, and omnipotence was wrapped in a swaddling cloth and laid in a manger (John 1:14; Phil. 2:5–9). “God with skin on” is one of the great wonders and doctrines of the Christian faith.

In Hebrews 2:14–18, we find three grand purposes to the incarnation. First, Christ came to pick the lock on the prison house of death through His own death, releasing men from its domination and dread (Heb. 2:14–15). Second, seeing that death is the payment on sin, Christ also came to assume the debt of our sin by means of His propitiatory death on the cross for sinners (Heb. 2:17). Third, Christ came not only to die our death but to live our life so that He might become a qualified and sympathetic high priest before God for us (Heb. 2:18). Christ came to release, redeem, and relieve us.

Picking up on this final truth, it is so good to know that in Christ, God knows experientially and exactly what we are going through. He is so in touch with life, its trials and temptations, because Christ was tempted just as we are (Heb. 4:14–16). Our God is a God with skin on, and Christ has carried our humanity to the heights of heaven, forever where He makes well-informed, first-hand prayers for us (Heb. 7:25; 9:24). What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! 

But Christ not only hears; He helps. The Hebrews writer says, “He is able to aid those who are tempted” (Heb. 2:18; see 4:14–16). The picture here is a beautiful one of Christ coming to our assistance—much like a mother running to help when she hears the cry of her child. Christ knows our struggle and is willing to shower us with grace and clothe us with power (John 16:33). When we yield to Christ, we don’t have to yield to temptation (1 John 5:4–5).

As Bishop J. C. Ryle said, “He is not only the Son of God, mighty to save—but also the Son of man, able to feel.”