A few weeks ago, in Deuteronomy, I read these verses:
You shall have a place outside the camp, and you shall go out to it. And you shall have a trowel with your tools, and when you sit down outside, you shall dig a hole with it and turn back and cover up your excrement. Because the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you and to give up your enemies before you, therefore your camp must be holy, so that he may not see anything indecent among you and turn away from you. (Deut. 23:12-14)Because God was so holy, the people were commanded to cover up all of their bathroom activity so that the Lord would not "see anything indecent among you and turn away from you." Rule after rule after rule in Leviticus and Deuteronomy about how to do everything, and the consequences if you do it wrong, much of it hinging on the holiness of God. People back then, I would assume, were probably a lot less squeamish than we are about personal hygiene and dirt and blood and all that "ick" of human life that was much more front and center thousands of years ago. Yet, down to the bathroom, there were directions about how to act to honor God.
No wonder the Jews accused Jesus of blasphemy. Imagine your whole life's context/story of God being how you should be oh-so-careful to try and be holy for the Lord, and then comes a man telling you He IS God. The God whose eyes were shielded from a latrine is now walking among and living with everyday people. Jesus fully participated in all human activity. He was a baby. A kid. I work with young children. They, also , are not very squeamish about basic bodily functions. He was a teenager. A man. He spoke with, laughed with, touched unclean people all the time.
Reading the story from the modern vantage point, we don't get it--at least I don't. I have intellectually seen the divide, but am just now getting a teeny glimpse of how revolutionary Jesus was. He was a game-changer. He broke all of those "don't touch, don't look, don't listen" rules. The Pharisees and other religious leaders weren't just mad because Jesus threatened their power. They couldn't even comprehend Who He was, or that God would act in such a way.
I will never be able to fully grasp how radical and amazing the coming of Jesus was. What I desire is to understand more in my heart why God acted in such a crazy, upside-down way. The God whose prophets told people to hide the latrine left His throne to be one of us. Never will any of us comprehend how Jesus, "who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men." (Philippians 2:6-7) bound up His deity into flesh. The God of the universe, who spoke it into existence and sustains the earth and all that is in it voluntarily came to earth as a man.
Why? The most simple and most profound answer lies in that God loves us. We hear that so much, but understand it so little. He wanted to be with us. He wanted us to be able to be with Him forever. He became Emmanuel, God with us, so that we could be with Him. Even the disciples who knew Him best didn't really get it, not until after the resurrection. My prayer is that I, and you, and, really, everyone everywhere, will get, really, really GET that Jesus walking among us and dying on the cross for us all boils down to God's love for us and desire to be with us.