This verse is a beautiful summary of the incarnation. Two brief comments on it:
- Jesus didn't have to do any of this. He could have never left heaven, never become poor, never died for our sins, sent us all to hell -- and still been perfectly right. He went beyond, far beyond, mere duty. That's why this verse calls it "grace".
- Jesus could not make us rich without becoming poor Himself. We see this in the connecting word "that". "He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich." There was no comfortable shortcut to blessing us. Simply sending us messages through the prophets wouldn't do it. Prophets can show us our sins but cannot redeem us from them. Remember Jesus in the garden? "If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me." It wasn't possible for us to avoid the cup of God's wrath unless Jesus drank it. He did. So we can be rich with the true Treasure, enjoying God for ever.
- The question is not, "Do I have to go?" If that's our attitude, maybe we're better off staying in our comfort zone. Jesus didn't have to go either.
- We won't be able to reach the lost safely. We cannot save others painlessly any more than Jesus did. Evangelism by printed page, by TV, by radio, by internet, is good but insufficient. Lost people must see a living, flesh and blood, demonstration of Jesus. Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia and China and India and the many other dark places of the world will not be won to the Crucified solely by words from afar. We cannot make them rich without becoming poor.
Your Bethlehem awaits. Will you go?