Wednesday, December 19, 2007

God became flesh

When Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, He did not surrender or compromise His Deity in any way. Instead, God the Son added something wonderful and entirely unexpected to His nature: He became a Man. The God-Man. This doctrine is called the “incarnation,” and a verse in the Christmas carol “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” expresses it well:

Christ, by highest heav’n adored, Christ, the everlasting Lord! Late in time behold Him come, offspring of the virgin’s womb. Veiled in flesh the God-head see; hail th’ incarnate Deity, pleased as man with men to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel. Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the new-born King.”

One of the key verses in the Bible that explains the incarnation is John 1:14: “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” In that lowly stable of Bethlehem, on the night of Jesus’ birth, three changes occurred that would forever change the world:

Immortal became Mortal. John says “And the Word became flesh.” Just as we use words to communicate our thoughts to others, so God used His “Word” to reveal His mind to humanity. This “Word,” of course, refers to Jesus Christ (cf. John 1:1, 17). D. A. Carson writes, “God’s ‘word’ in the Old Testament is His powerful self-expression in creation, revelation and salvation, and the personification of that ‘Word’ makes it suitable for John to apply it as a title to God’s ultimate self-disclosure, the person of his own Son.” Apart from Jesus Christ - the Word - it would be impossible for us to know God! But at the incarnation, the immortal Word of God took on mortal flesh. Though God could not die, Jesus could die. And this provided the means for His substitutionary death. Without the manger, there would have been no cross.

Heavenly became Earthly. After becoming flesh, this incarnate Word “dwelt among us.” The Son of God did not stop for a brief visit, but settled down to be with us. John pictures the Lord “pitching a tent,” dwelling in the midst of His people much like the tabernacle in ancient Israel. Jesus didn’t consider His glorious Deity and heavenly throne something to flaunt or cling on to, but humbled Himself to be like you and me (Phil. 2:6-7). As a human, He was tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin (Heb. 4:15), thus succeeding where Adam had once failed (Rom. 5:18-19).

Invisible became Visible. In the second half of verse 14, the Apostle John gives an eyewitness testimony. He says with absolute certainty, “we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” In other words, when John and the other disciples saw the glory of Jesus Christ, it was just the kind of glory you would expect to see radiating from God’s one-and-only Son. Of course, the baby Jesus had no visible halo as many Christmas cards depict. Isaiah said “He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him” (Is. 53:2). However, there were certain times when Jesus pulled back the cloak of His humanity and let us gaze into His Divine glory. As John wrote these words, he undoubtedly thought back to that night on the Mount of Transfiguration when “the appearance of [Jesus’] face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming…but when [Peter, James, and John] were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men standing with Him” (Lk. 9:28, 32). Finally, in Jesus Christ, the glory of the invisible God was put on display for all the world to see. And we are to radiate that glory today in the church (Eph. 3:21).

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift, and for His marvelous incarnation!

2 comments:

  1. Hey,

    Like you, I find the incarnation a fascenating doctrine! I enoyed your thoughts very much.

    I always like Hebrews 10:5 concerning the incarnation:

    "Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: Sacrifices and offerings you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, here I am -- it is written about me in the scroll -- I have come to do your will, O God."

    I think Christ prayed this prayer as he left heaven and "emptied" himself.

    There must have been a moment when God the Son, who has all knowledge, gave up his great knowledge to become flesh. He gave up his power, his might, his throne, his knowledge and became one of us.

    God's "power" doesn't make him God. His essence makes him God. Jesus stripped off the privilages of Godhood without giving up the person.

    I am suggesting that when God became flesh he didn't "cheat." he didn't use powers or abilities not available to us as well. He lived a perfect life using the same resourse (the Holy Spirit) we have. He showed us what perfect humanity walking in Godliness can do.

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  2. We are greeting you in the most precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

    " And whatever you do in word of deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the father through Him" Our relation is through Lord Jesus Christ only Epth 1:3:7.

    I am Pathulothu Hariya Naik who come from Banjara Tribal Family, We are believe that by the grace of God you all are fine and we are praying for you in our daily prayers. Here by the grace of God we all are fine. In word of God written, trust in Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on this faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord. And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord. Trust also in Him, and he shall bring it to pass" In the year of 1995 God saved me.

    And from that on words. I am Trusting in the Lord and commit my self to the Lord. And I am delighting in Him. And I committed my ways to the Lord. Now I am believe He will help me. God called me to do His ministry in the year of 1995. From that on words I obeyed his word and doing His ministry. Preaching the Gospel to my own Banjara people. Our Banjara people are very poor people who live in the forest. They are Idol worshiper’s they to do not know who is creator, real God. Because their lock of knowledge they worship and tress and stones. In their heart there is no peace. They are searching the true real God who give them peace. God called me from this kind of Banjara Tribe. Now I am preaching them about real God who give peace God is doing Miracles among the Banjara People. From my place many souls are accepted Jesus as their personal savior and Lord. And they are received in their heart. And they are attending the church. We all are gathering in a hut to worship Him. Now that is our church place. Now there are many who do now know real God. We are praying for them. We are requesting you to pray for them. I am going to preach the Gospel to them and bring many perishing souls to the presence of God. We have financial problems. Lack of finance, I am not able to move forward. Remember this pastor in your prayer. Those who help to poor. God will bless them. And we hope that God will help us. We are thanking you for before your ministry. So we are requesting you remember us in you daily prayer specially for our Banjara tribe people and our church.

    I offered my self to preach the Gospel. Especially to Banjara people and to feed Orphan children.
    Thanking you
    Yours Lord Worker
    PATHALOTHU HARIYANAIK

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