In To Kill a Mockingbird, one of my favorite books, lawyer Atticus Finch gives his young daughter some advice: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb in his skin and walk around in it.”
…climb in his skin
In the incarnation, Christ did exactly that, didn’t he? He climbed into humanity’s skin, walked around in it, and considered things from humanity’s point of view. He became well acquainted with all the emotions, all the temptations, and all the struggles that come part and parcel with human skin.
But it wasn’t just any old skin he put on. Christ chose a very specific skin, and he walked around in it and considered its very particular point of view for 33 years.
The skin he chose was bundled at birth into whatever cloths happened to be at hand.
Because Christ put on the skin of the poor.
It was nearly skewered when it was still infant soft.
Because Christ put on the skin of the powerless.
It was carried off into a foreign country.
Because Christ put on the skin of the refugee and immigrant.
It was shunned by the religious and those highly reputed.
Because Christ put on the skin of the illegitimate.
It grew rough and callused.
Because Christ put on the skin of the working poor.
It lay itself down on the ground and at times grew tight over ribs.
Because Christ put on the skin of the homeless.
It was bruised and torn by guards.
Because Christ put on the skin of prisoners.
It was naked in the sight of all.
Because Christ put on the skin of all those forced to expose themselves to others.
“Then the King (Jesus) will say to those at his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father: Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’
Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling you the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—
you did it to me.’