Katherine and I watched a new show on TV the other night. The premise of Undercover Boss is that the boss of a company or organization goes undercover as an entry level worker in his own company. A pretty interesting show. The episode I saw featured one of the owners of the White Castle fast food chain. When this particular undercover boss was explaining to the rest of the White Castle owners why he decided to go undercover he said something to the effect that when the owners visit their restaurants they only see the best of the best. When the employees know that the boss is there, they all bring their "A" game. He wanted to see what they were like on a normal work day without the presence of a big boss. Of course, he saw some good things from employees and some not so good things.
This got me thinking about the ultimate Undercover Boss scenario that took place just over 2000 years ago. The King of the universe left His throne and came down to earth. And just like the White Castle employees, almost no one knew who it was who was walking among them. It is hard to blame the Jewish people for not recognizing God in the flesh. Their God was a holy God whose very presence would destroy any unclean, sinful person in the near vicinity. Only one person in their society could enter God's presence (the high priest) and he could only do so once a year after extensive purification rituals. The last thing they would fathom would be their God becoming a man and coming to dwell among them.
I think we have lost some of the awe surrounding the incarnation of Christ. We have downplayed the holiness of God so much along with emphasizing our "personal Lord and Savior" that the incarnation seems reasonable to us. It is anything but reasonable! God was in no way obligated to save any of us. We were all sinners justly and rightly deserving eternal punishment for our unwillingness to give the King of kings the glory He rightly deserves. That He would choose to save us when He didn't have to, and do so by becoming one of us is unfathomable. To become the very thing that rejected Him and would torture and kill Him in His incarnate state is the epitome of love, mercy, and humility.
Jesus became man. The boss went undercover and experienced the worst of His creation. In His infinite love and mercy He still chose to redeem some for His name's sake.