I was surprised this past Christmas to find a Kindle e-reader as one
of my presents. Though I had been intrigued by the advertising, I
hadn't asked to be given one. Now that I've had one for a couple of
months, I'm ready to say that I'm impressed.
This device, easily held in one hand while reading, can download books
from the Amazon web site within a minute. It will hold 3,500 books
and their service will archive any you don't want to keep on your
device. Other companies have their own versions of the e-reader;
Barnes & Noble, Sony and others are now players in the market. The
future of book stores has never been more in question as electronic
books grow in popularity. (Borders book stores are already shuttering
The thought struck me recently that this new medium really doesn't
change the message of the book. I've downloaded, for example, short
stories by O. Henry, originally produced in the medium of ink on
paper. But the electronic medium doesn't change the thoughts of this
entertaining author. My mind still receives the same message as it
would have if I had been reading "the old fashioned way".
The same could be said for mp3 files. I listen to music on my iPod
that originally was pressed onto vinyl discs. Since then I've
digitized my favorite LPs, and the medium has changed dramatically.
But the music is still the same. The medium did not alter the
There was a time, though, when the medium was a major aspect of the
message. I'm referring now to the Incarnation, the coming of Jesus
Christ into this world by means of a fleshly body. The medium He
chose - a body like our own - is in itself a message (though He
certainly spoke other messages while in that body on earth).
Here's how Paul described the marvel of the medium: "Have this mind
among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was
in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be
grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being
born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he
humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death
on a cross" (Philippians 2:5-8, ESV).
Paul's use of the word "form" is the concept of "medium". God could
have spoken His expectations straight from heaven, as He did in Old
Testament times (see Exodus 20, for example). But when God the Son
came to earth in a body like our own - subject to pain, fatigue,
thirst, hunger, etc. - that in itself was a powerful message.
Hebrews 4:15,16 aptly sums up the message Jesus' medium conveys: "For
we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our
weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may
obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."
Because Jesus experienced life as we know it, we know He understands
our needs. That knowledge of His compassion draws us to Him more
powerfully than if He had merely thundered laws from heaven. The
medium He willingly chose is one of the most beautiful messages of
Timothy D. Hall