How God can allow pain in the world? What answer can He possibly give us? From ISIS to the gas chambers of Auschwitz it often seems He is silent.

And like us, Jesus as Man even asked the same: “Why have You forsaken me?”

But the answer was given over 2,000 years ago. At Christmas, we celebrate the fact that God became man, an act of staggering humility. But why was this necessary?

If we understand God is real, and that He desires relationship rather than just religious rule keeping, we must be free to choose or reject Him.

And in the only world where free will can exist, so will the potential for this chaos, pain and the evil we choose to do to one another. An act of divine power to just fix things would violate this freedom; so He had to come as a helpless baby to grow, dwell in our broken world and actually share in our pain. He identifies with us because He became human.

His answer was to suffer with us, and then to offer Himself as the atonement for our sin. And if He identifies with us, when we choose to enter relationship, we identify with Him: and what happens to Him becomes our fate as well.

His work was that, having died to sin, to rise again, through death to the resurrection: the defeat of the random, decaying order we see, an eternal hope for all will put their trust in Him.

If, in our identification with Him we died, we hope also to rise. This is the central belief and hope of the Christian faith: death and sin are defeated in fact.

He came to do so much more than teach.