Grace, mercy, and peace be unto you from the crucified and living Lord Jesus! Amen. “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (Ps. 8:1, 9, ESV). All this past week, our VBS kids have been learning about God’s Miraculous Mission to create and save the world. Our took us to the furthest galaxies and inside the smallest, single-cell organisms. We learned about magnetism, gravity, stars, planets, chemical reactions, biology, and the Bible! But most importantly, we learned of God’s great love for us in sending his Son Jesus to die for our sins and rise again to give us eternal life. As our theme verse states: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
The God who loves us is the same God who created the entire universe, from the tiniest subatomic particle (quarks and hadrons) to the furthest flung galaxies! Astronomers estimate that there are about 10 billion galaxies in the observable universe, each of those comprised of about 100 billion stars. That total number is 10^20, or a one with 21 zeroes after it, or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in the known universe (that’s 1 billion trillion stars!). God created every single star, placing them in their orbits, from the tiniest red dwarf to the largest hypergiant. It’s absolutely mind-boggling!
And yet David says in Psalm 8:
“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?” (Ps. 8:3-4).
In other words, as we stare up at the night sky, marveling at the miracle of God’s handiwork, how is it that God actually takes an interest in us? Why does he care whether we live or die? What is so special about us that we matter to a majestic God like that?
I don’t know why God loves us so much, but you can’t deny that he does. In the creation narratives in Genesis 1 and 2, it’s quite clear that humanity is his crowning achievement. We are very special, the only creatures to bear his image and breathe his Spirit (cf. Gen. 1:26-27; 2:7). God personally involved himself in our creation. Whereas every other thing was spoken into being—“God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light’” (Gen. 1:3)—when it came to Adam and Eve, God got his hands dirty, literally! He reached down into the mud and shaped the form of a man. Then, after breathing his Spirit into Adam’s nostrils to create a living being, he put Adam to sleep and performed sacred surgery, fashioning a woman from Adam’s missing rib. All this he did like a master sculptor.
Indeed, the Bible says that every single person on this planet is special and important to God. The first Bible Challenge memory verse learned by the kids on Monday was this: “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps. 139:14a). As astounding as the universe may be, we are even more marvelous in God’s sight. God knew our shape and substance and the entire story of our lives even before we were even conceived, let alone took our first breath at birth (Ps. 139:15-16).
Of course, there are many in our world and culture today who deny that we are a special creation. Evolutionary biology maintains that we are the result of accident and chance. Only by happenstance did chemical ooze somehow ignite and form the first base proteins that would become the nucleotides in the DNA of the first single-celled microorganism. Somehow that little thing reproduced and, after millions of generations of genetic mutations, adaptation, and natural selection, somehow every plant, animal, bacterium, and fungus on the planet came into being.
But if we are all the result of impossible probabilities, how did we end up here at all? And if our only purpose as human beings is to ensure that our species continues, what is the meaning of life? If evolution is true, then there is nothing sacred or special about human beings. We are just the biggest predator at the top of the food chain. It’s the law of the jungle: kill or be killed. And we shouldn’t care one way or another about theft, murder, rape, or war. After all, the strong survive and the weak die out.
Let me put into perspective what I’m talking about here. [Hold up LEGO® spaceship.] This is a LEGO spaceship that I built out of 102 pieces. Now, if I were to dump out this box of LEGO bricks onto the floor, would they ever randomly assemble themselves into my spaceship? No, of course not! After all, this spaceship is composed of very specific pieces of the right size, shape, and color. I had to follow the designer’s directions in order to build it. And even if I were a LEGO “Master Builder” who free built my own creation, it still could never be the result of accident or chance.
[Hold up 2×4 LEGO brick.] Here is a 2×4 LEGO brick, the original brick manufactured in Denmark all the way back in 1949 (before many of you were born!). Mathematicians have figured out that, if I were to take three of these bricks, they could be combined in 1,060 different ways! That’s just three bricks with eight studs each! If I had 4 bricks, there would be over 100 thousand combinations. With only six bricks, there would be over 915 million possibilities! And none of them could happen by chance—only by design.
Our bodies are exponentially more complex than LEGO bricks. Every tree, rock, plant, and animal is a testament to God’s wonderful work——“all sheep and oxen…, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,” as our Psalm declares (Ps. 8:7-8). Dear friends, you are not an accident! You are not a mistake or happenstance. You are God’s workmanship (Eph. 2:10). You are his treasure (Deut. 7:6; 1 Pet. 2:9). You are the one he loves so much, that he couldn’t bear the thought of spending eternity without you! And so he sent Jesus to be our Savior and rescue us from sin and death, the wicked ways that cut us off from right relationship with God, one another, and the earth.
“What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” (Ps. 8:4). It’s a great question. The Hebrew verb for “care” here can also mean “visit.” For example, it’s the same word used throughout the Bible when God visits his people and does good for them (cf. Ex. 4:31; Ruth 1:6; Luke 1:68). Who are we that God pays attention to us? Who are we that God visits us? Ultimately, it is not fully answered until the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, when God became man, when the Creator became a creature and came down to earth to live as one of us. Truly, in the flesh of Christ Jesus, the infinite, omnipotent, almighty God, has visited us for our good.
The New Testament book of Hebrews quotes this Psalm in reference to Jesus:
“What is man that you are mindful of him,
or the son of man, that you care for him?
You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
you have crowned him with glory and honor” (Heb. 2:6-7).
For a time, God made Jesus lower than the angels. The angels are mere creatures like us. You might even say that they are “less than us,” because they are our servants (Heb. 1:13-14).
But Jesus loves you so much that he gave up his throne in heaven to come down and bear your sin to the cross. The Son of God became a son of man in order to save us from ourselves. Because Jesus was willing to become nothing for us and our salvation, God rewarded him by raising him from the dead and crowning him with glory and honor (cp. Phil. 2:5-11). “We see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone” (Heb. 2:9).
All this God did for you because he loves you. There is nothing inherently lovely about us. Martin Luther once said, “God’s love does not find its object in man, but must create it” (Heidelberg Theses, 1518), which is just a fancy way of saying that the reason why God loves us is because he wants to make us lovely. We can’t earn, win, deserve, or buy his love or forgiveness. Instead, he gives them to us by grace—as a gift. He does this because Jesus, his beloved Son, died and rose again for you. That was his miraculous mission to save you!
I will never be able to understand how God in all of his glory and holiness would want to spend eternity with a wretch like me. And yet he does. “What is man?” Who are we? We are God’s forgiven children. We are his crowning achievement in creation. We are his pride and joy. He loves us not because of who we are or what we’ve done, but simply and solely because of who he is and what Jesus did for us. That is why we praise his wonderful name: “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth” (Ps. 8:1). In the name of the Father and of the Son and of + the Holy Spirit. Amen.