Tag Archives: incarnation

God Incarnate: Our Every Hope

Hebrews 2:9 “But 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.”

People often say around Christmas that “Jesus is the reason for the season,” and they’re right. We celebrate Christmas because of Christ’s birth. More specifically, we rejoice in the incarnation, that the eternal son of God humbled himself by taking on flesh like ours. He became man, with all the needs, weaknesses, and frailty that comes with not only infancy, but the entire length of human life on a fallen planet.

More than just being the reason for a season, the incarnation of Jesus is the reason for every shred of hope found in the Christian life. Jesus displayed perfect obedience throughout his life, as “being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross Philippians 2:8).” He was “in every respect…tempted as we are, yet without sin (Hebrew 4:15).”

We struggle to obey God, and we sin every day, but “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood (Hebrews 12:4).”

But Jesus did. Jesus bowed to the Father in the garden of Gethsemane and resisted abandoning His Father’s will, crying “Father if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done (Luke 22:42).” Jesus surrendered to the point of shedding blood, an unfathomable cost to Himself, to pay a far greater debt than we ever could pay. He purposefully surrendered Himself to wicked men, and to the cross, but ultimately to the purposes of God to save our souls.

You see, Jesus coming as a man, means we can never say “God doesn’t understand,” nor “God doesn’t care.”

He came and lived the life we never could live- a perfect, sinless life, full of trouble and abuse. “Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted (Hebrews 12:3).” He turned his cheek to those who struck him, closed his mouth to those who scorned him, gave his back to those who beat him, and resisted all urges to flee, dominate, or curse. We can’t say he doesn’t understand how hard it is to live in flesh on this sin-sick earth.

Why did he do it? “For the joy that was set before him (he) endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of God (Hebrews 12:2).”

Or as prophesied in Isaiah 53:10-11:
Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.

“For the joy that was set before him…”
“He shall see his offspring… “
“Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied…”

Out of love for His Father, and to glorify Him, Jesus also looked with love upon us. Out of the anguish of his soul he would win us. “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6).”

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” His death means we can never say he doesn’t care.

Without the incarnation we have no second Adam. There is no perfect, righteous life, lived on our behalf, as our representative. Without the incarnation there is no perfect sacrifice. No spotless lamb of God to finally bear the whole punishment for our sin, as Christ did on the cross.

But because of the incarnation we have hope. We can know God. We can look at the life of Jesus and find out what love is. We can be forgiven. We can have everything. Jesus Christ, his birth, death, resurrection, and awaited return is the reason for all our life and our hope. Don’t neglect his gift of salvation this Christmas.

 

His Humiliation

Acts 8:33 “In his humiliation justice was denied him.  Who can describe his generation?  For his life is taken away from the earth.”

Philippians 2:6-8 is essential for understanding this and I want to look at it again.

“Though he was in the form of God, (he) 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 to the point of death, even death on a cross.” 

You see, He was and is God.  What does it mean that He did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped?  It does not mean that He could not understand it, believe it, or comprehend it.  Jesus Christ knew that He was one with God, and stated Himself “before Abraham was I AM (John 8:57).”  The word grasped, in the original language means to be “seized” or to “hold fast.”  So in other words, although He was God and deserved to receive from people all that God demands, He humbled Himself, laying down His rights as God and did not demand to be treated as God.  He did not exercise His full benefits and capabilities as God. 

Though He had all power to provide for His own needs, as well as destroy all hindrances in His way, He can be found in scripture hungry, tired, thirsty, and with no place to rest His head (Luke 9:58).  He can be found on His knees offering “prayers and supplication, with loud cries and tears, to Him who was able to save Him from death (Hebrew 5:7).”  See Him facedown in Gethsemane “greatly distressed and troubled… ‘sorrowful, even to death.’(Mark 33-34).”

Though able to execute justice or to stop men’s mouths, He was lied about, ridiculed, and scrutinized by mere men.  In fact, He allowed Himself to be treated like a worm, like a dog, like an apostate, like a murderer.  For a time He chose to serve His creation, to bear with them and sacrifice Himself in love for them, even to the point of death on a cross.  It is incredibly important to understand that His nature did not change, but rather that He laid aside His rights as God.  Listen to these words of Jesus that show how much He humbled Himself and had to have much patience while living among a cursed, finite, and unbelieving generation of people.

Matthew 17:17 “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you?  How long am I to bear with you?”

Mark 8:17-18 “Do you not yet perceive or understand?  Are your hearts hardened?  Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear?”

He patiently endured our weakness, blindness, idolatry, false religion, arrogance, sin, self love,  hate, and the list could go on forever and ever.  Through it all His love held steadfast towards sinners while He faithfully preached the Kingdom to them, healed them, fed them, and fought to free them from slavery to religious hypocrites.  He became a servant of man to such an extent that He even washed the feet of the friends who would abandon Him at His impending death.  And finally, dear friends, the hate that we had for Him lead to the place where He willingly laid down His life for us and took upon Himself the punishment we deserve.

Jesus looking out saw them

Hurling insults and stones

Crying out “Crucify Him!”

Forsaking Him all to His own.

Jesus looking out crying

“Father forgive them please!

They don’t know what they are doing

For this crime too I will bleed.”

Jesus looking out dying

Bearing God’s wrath and all man’s strife

And here I can picture Him saying

The good shepherd lays down his life

For the sheep…No one takes it from me

For them I will lay it down willingly.” (John 10:11,18)

Are you beside yourself in amazement?  Dear friend, you should be.  This truth seems to me so great that our body of flesh cannot even bare the glory of it.  I feel that if this earth were shot through with the blazing glory of this truth, the universe as we know it would collapse under its greatness.  So awesome is Jesus Christ.