John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”
A trip to Budapest, Hungary is not complete without a journey to Castle Hill, a location holding some of the most breath-taking views of the city. Positioned high above the city, one can see for miles, including the beauty of the winding Danube River that traverses downtown Budapest. Castle Hill also happens to be the location of a couple of famous buildings, including the Matyas Temple. The Matyas temple was named after the renowned and beloved Hungarian King, Matyas (Mathias) Corvinus. Due to his popularity, his portrait is also found on one of the Hungarian currency notes (1000 Forint bill). Matyas was a well-educated man and was the first elected king of Hungary. He loved Italian and brought the educational system of the Romans to Hungary. He was an avid reader and had an extensive library.
The King as a Commoner
This king was known as “Matyas the Just,” and when he died an expression was coined, “Matyas has died, justice is gone.” Many Hungarian historians regard King Matyas’ reign as one of the most glorious chapters of Hungarian history. Matyas certainly experienced great political and military success. But the story about Matyas that is most recounted and endearing to Hungarian peoples’ heart’s is his journey into His kingdom dressed as a peasant. Apparently, Matyas wanted to hear from his own subjects’ mouths what they thought of his kingdom. To accomplish this, he dressed up as a peasant and mingled among the commoners. He left his palace, his delicious food, and the safety of his royal guard, to blend anonymously as a townsperson, to experience what they experienced, to see what they saw, to feel what they felt, and to hear what they had to say about his kingdom. To this day, there is debate as to how much of that story is genuine, how much was exaggerated, or if it is entirely legendary.
Another King Among Us
At this time of year, we focus our attention and thoughts on a second king and a story that is not legendary, mythical, or exaggerated. The Christmas story is the historical narrative of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. This King, Jesus Christ, left the pleasures of His realm. He did this not for a few days, but an entire lifetime. He didn’t just leave a nice castle and royal courtyard; he left perfection. He did not just give up fellowship with his family for a few days; he interrupted his perfect communion with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit to be with us. He walked in our shoes. He experienced what we experience. He felt what we feel. He was tempted as we are tempted, yet without succumbing to sin.
And why did he do all this? So he could relate to us and accomplish what was necessary for our eternal salvation, making it possible for us to also participate in the sweet fellowship with the God-Head for all eternity. At this time of the year, we celebrate the incarnation, “God dwelling with us.” Jesus Christ, the Eternal God, dwelt amongst man and can now sympathize with us as our High Priest. Having accomplished atonement for sin, He now sits at the right hand of God the Father.
Thank you, Lord, for leaving the pleasures of Heaven, to dwell among us, to sympathize with us in our weakness, and to make total and complete atonement for our sins!
Written by Dr. Paul Weaver, Academic Dean of Word of Life Bible Institute