When we read the account of the wrestling match (Genesis 32:22-30) between Jacob and the man, who later reveals himself to be God, we usually think of it in terms of Jacob wrestling with God. And that’s true. But who started it? God did. How could God be wrestled to a draw and have to revert to using a secret hold to put Jacob’s hip out of joint? Hardly sporting? But that is the weakness in which God came to Jacob. He came hidden in a man. He came in weakness. And as Jacob marvels, “I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.” However, if God had come to Jacob in his Divinity, Luther says, “Divinity may terrify man. Inexpressible majesty will crush him”
This amazing story of God starting a wrestling match in the dirt and mud of the Jabbok creek, looks forward to something else that God started. That is, our salvation when he came hidden in a man to wrestle us in the dirt and mud of our sins. Luther writes, “That is why Christ took on our humanity, save for sin, that he should not terrify us but rather that with love and favor he should console and confirm.” When God came hidden in Jesus he came in even greater weakness that he when he wrestled Jacob, that night long ago at the crossing of Jabbok creek. As St. Paul wrote to the Christians in Philippi, “and being found him human form, he humbled himself be becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on across.”
We too in our hearts and in our faith have seen God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.
One day, St John writes, “when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” All of this is in Christ alone. That was the theme of the Youth Gathering this summer. And now the youth of Zion will tell us more of what it means that God started it in Christ Alone and will complete it in Christ Alone.