The 18th century philosopher Immanuel Kant, known for some rather turgid and dry prose, did however write the following beautiful words: “Two things fill the mind with ever-increasing wonder and awe... the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me."
Sure, the stars above are incredible; and, indeed, our human capacity to sense right and wrong is also pretty amazing, especially for beings who supposedly evolved from a lungfish. Yet, if these two things could bring wonder and awe, how much more so should the story of Jesus do the same?
And what is that story?
“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matthew 1:23, KJV).
In this one line, we are presented a view of reality that is filled with hope and promise. According to the story, not only does God exist, but this God loves us so much that He came down and was born among us—as one of us. Talk about wonder. Talk about awe. And even more importantly—talk about hope!
And yet the story only begins here. It picks up, later, here as well: “And when they crucified Him, they divided His garments, casting lots for them to determine what every man should take” (Mark 15:24). In other words that same God, who came down and was born into humanity, He later died on the cross, for us, a sacrifice for our sins. The God who created the cosmos coming down into humanity is amazing enough; but He also, “being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8).
Sure, the starry sky above and the moral law within—they are things of awe and wonder. But the incarnation of God Himself into human flesh, into a human body—a body that later offered Himself as a sacrifice, an atonement for our sins, willing to face the penalty for our wrong deeds so that we don’t have to face it ourselves?
Now that is something to fill the mind with awe and wonder, for sure!