by Cindy Bleuler Tucker
Accessible is a word that meant little to me until I began living life in a wheelchair. Suddenly my life revolved around accessibility. The ability to use, approach or enter a facility determines what I do or where I can go.
Before I go anywhere, I need to know if there is a ramp and how steep it is. Even one step is an obstacle. I need to know if a doorway is wide enough to get my wheelchair through. I need to know if I can get in a bathroom stall. If I am alone, I need a handicap parking place with room to get my wheelchair in and out of the car. If I am not able to have accessibility that accommodates my wheelchair, I need to know if it is possible with the help of others and then find someone to help.
Sometimes I feel as though I am on the outside looking in on a world in which I can’t fully take part. I watch others walk hand-in-hand on the beach and jump in the waves. I go to a park and roll on the accessible trail but I can’t actually hike to the waterfall and stick my feet in the stream. I watch others enjoy physical activities that are impossible for me. Reaching for objects on high shelves and moving easily in a cramped space is not doable for me. There is a world that I am so near to but I can’t reach it. It is inaccessible.
So it was with God. He was there. He sometimes spoke to chosen men and women, but He was not readily available to everyone. Sin had caused a wall of separation.
God called Moses to free his chosen people and form the Jewish nation, a people who would be a light to all the nations. God met with Moses on Mt. Sinai to receive God’s law for the nation Israel. This law would begin to reveal God’s heart to His people. However, even the man chosen by God could not see God’s face.
When Moses asked God if He could look upon His glory, God replied, “I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim My name, the Lord in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” But He said, “There is a place near Me where you may stand on a rock. When My glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in a rock and cover you, with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove My hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove My hand and you will see my back, but My face must not be seen.” Exodus 33: 19-23
God led His people to the promised land. His chosen people could only see a manifestation of His glory from afar. “The Lord went ahead of them. He guided them during the day with a pillar of cloud, and He provided light at night with a pillar of fire. This allowed them to travel by day or night.” Exodus 13:21
It was a physical sign of the living God, but they could only see Him from a distance. They could not approach Him.
Hundreds of years later, Israel became a mighty nation. King David longed to build a temple in which God Almighty could dwell and meet with His people. The honor of building the temple fell to David’s Son, King Solomon. At last, God had a permanent location in Jerusalem in which His people could worship Him. The people of God had a specific place to come and be within God’s presence. It was here that God’s people could praise God and have access to Him.
However, their access was limited. God dwelt in the Holy of Holies, a special sacred room in the very center of the temple. Only the high priest could enter once a year to offer a sacrifice to God for all the nation of Israel. If the priest did not purify himself and confess His sin properly, he would be struck dead. There was a rope tied to his waist in order to pull his body out in case this happened.
And then everything changed.
Then came Christmas.
“But when the fullness of time was come, God sent His Son, made of a woman…”
God had a plan to get even closer to His people. No longer would He be unapproachable. No longer would men and women have to look for a glimpse of the shadow of God. They would be able to see God face-to-face. They would be able to touch Him and hear His audible voice. They could have fellowship with Him, share a meal with Him, and listen to His sermons. They could look right into His compassionate eyes. For God became man, became flesh in Jesus Christ. At last, God was accessible.
However, Jesus, though fully God, was fully man. He could only be in one place in space and time. For those who lived within that 33-year time span and that limited geographical area there was the opportunity to see him in person, but what about those who didn’t live close enough or weren’t alive at that time?
As Jesus approached the time of His sacrificial death, His disciples lamented that there master would be leaving them. But Jesus promised that He would rise after 3 days, and after He ascended to the Father, He would send a Helper, a Comforter- the Holy Spirit.
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth…You will know Him, for he dwells in you and will be in you.” John 14:16a, 17
I may not have accessibility to many places, but I can have full accessibility at any time, any place, to Almighty God! His Spirit dwells within me all the time. All I have to do to take advantage to this great access is to call upon His name in belief and listen.
So this is what we celebrate at Christmas. The inaccessible God became God in the flesh through the man Jesus Christ. The inaccessible God became God in the flesh through the man Jesus Christ. God the baby in the manger grew up to be the sacrificial God who granted us access to Him and the great gift of forever accessibility through the Holy Spirit who lives within us.
If God is still inaccessible and far off to you, please listen to the Holy Spirit and in faith call upon the name of Jesus. “But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”