What is Salvation?
What is the Incarnation?
What is the Bible?
What is the Incarnation?
Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of
flesh and blood, Jesus also himself likewise took part of the same;
that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death,
that is, the devil;
The subject of the incarnation is very interesting,
perhaps because it is such a simple concept… God becoming a man… And
yet it is probably the most complex doctrine in all of Christianity.
From a theological perspective the incarnation means that the eternal "Logos", or the
Word of God became clothed in flesh. The second person of the
eternal Godhead put on the clothing of flesh and became a human
being. Becoming a man he was and is 100% human and 100% God. This
Hypostatic Union never ceases to be. The Book of Philippians contains the
most often used Bible verses on the subject.
"Christ Jesus Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery
to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took
upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became
obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Philippians indicates that the whole idea of Christ becoming a man
originated in his mind. He thought that to be equal with God is not
a thing to be grasped or held onto, the whole idea of humiliating
himself was no problem. Therefore he "emptied himself" which is from
a Greek word "kenoo" from which comes the word "kenosis" which means
to be emptied. The Latin translation is "incarnatio" which is where
we get the English word "incarnation" which means to empty himself. Many scholars have come to agree that the word "kenosis" indicates
that Jesus did not empty himself of any of his divine attributes,
but that he chose to restrict the use of them in whatever way he
chose to in order to identify with man and man's limitations, and
to fulfill his mission on earth. The glory of God that was in Christ
was veiled in flesh, yet he made the claim that if anyone would not
believe that he was Yahweh they would die in their sins. The Gospel
of John begins with the eternal word becoming flesh and in Latin
this is the word "incarnation":
John 1:14 "And
the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his
glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of
grace and truth."
Paul the apostle also attested to the deity and the Incarnation of Jesus Christ and in his second letter
to the Corinthians he encouraged the Christian believers
Corinthians 8:9 "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye
through his poverty might be rich."
Paul also said in Colossians 2:9
that "all the fullness of the Deity dwells in Christ in bodily form,"
and he also said in Romans 8:3 that God sent "his own son in the
likeness of sinful flesh." When Jesus prayed in the garden of
Gethsemane just before his betrayal he prayed "And now, O Father,
glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with
thee before the world was."
it is also interesting that Paul
mentions that Jesus Was “Made in the Likeness of Men”. When John
made the claim that the "Word became flesh", and Paul said that God
sent his own son in the "likeness" of sinful flesh, the message in
the Bible is clear that Jesus was a bonafide human being, a person
that walked the earth. He was not only a man, but a servant, and not
only a servant but the lowest of slaves according to the original
language. Almighty God made a decision to take on humanity and to
dedicate his life to serving man and doing good, to the point of
death even the death of the Roman cross.
"There is no greater love
than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends"
born, he had a birth, he was born of the virgin Mary who was from the lineage of King David
and Abraham the first Hebrew. Jesus grew up as a child, throughout his
childhood the Bible says he "increased in wisdom and in stature," he
also learned as a man observing the world around him. His body was
completely human flesh and blood, experiencing all the daily things
like eating and drinking and walking and thinking. He was a man with a name, his
name was Jesus, which is the Greek word for the Hebrew Joshua which means
"Yahweh has become salvation." The Bible mentions that Jesus
experienced humanity with all the needs that people experience, he
hungered, he thirsted, he grew tired, he slept, and so on. Jesus was
referred to throughout the entire New Testament as a man that lived
and walked the earth, he died as a man feeling all the pain, when he
rose again he had the appearance of a man, and right now the Bible
says that he is a man seated at the right hand of God in heaven (1
Timothy 2:5), he will return to this earth as a man, and will judge
the world as a man (Acts 17:31).
Listen to how the Lord characterizes a
situation in Ezekiel 34 where his leaders called "Shepherds" are
mistreating his people called "His sheep" and what He decides to do
"The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against
the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the
Sovereign Lord says: Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take
care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? You
eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the
choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. You have not
strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured.
You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You
have ruled them harshly and brutally. So they were scattered because
there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food
for all the wild animals. My sheep wandered over all the mountains
and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth,
and no one searched or looked for them.
God saw the religious rulers of Israel profiteering and taking
advantage of His flock without a care for their well-being. God
noticed His shepherds. Read the passage again slowly and see how God
feels about those who abuse his flock. Because these Shepherds do
not have a heart for His people, God decides He has to remove them
from their position.
“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against the shepherds
and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from
tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed
themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no
longer be food for them.”
But what is God going to replace them with? God announces something
that is beyond comprehension; He Himself will come for His Sheep.
"For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search
for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his
scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep.
I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on
a day of clouds and darkness. I will bring them out from the nations
and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their
own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the
ravines and in all the settlements in the land. I will tend them in
a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their
grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and
there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I
myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the
Sovereign Lord. I will search for the lost and bring back the
strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the
sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with
God came to us as our Shepherd to replace the harsh taskmasters of
the Law. Throughout the Gospels we read of constant tension with the
religious leaders of that time, until they finally decided to kill
Jesus. But Jesus, the Son of God fulfilled the tender promise of the
God Shepherding us Himself, in His coming and became like one of us.
He displayed all His reactions and how God would react, how God
feels, how God would do it, were He in our position. But even
further, in order to truly break the grip of the Law, which is the
judgment of God's holiness, Jesus must also offer Himself as a
substitute to die in our place.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for
the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the
sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my
life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep
pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and
there shall be one flock and one shepherd. John 10:11, 14
What about us today? We didn't get to experience Jesus in the flesh.
And we have our doubts. Even those who were with Him were constantly
disturbed by the idea of losing Him. To them and to us, He offered
“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and
he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you
forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because
it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives
with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will
come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you
will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you
will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in
you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me.
The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love
them and show myself to them.” John 14:15-21
Jesus promised that "another advocate" would come to help us and be
with us forever. This is the Holy Spirit. He is moving everywhere
and available to all who want to be a part of this amazing
salvation. He was "with" the disciples at that time but soon would
be "in" them. This is because Jesus would pay the price of sin, and
so God was freed up to be intimate again with man in full integrity.
The incarnation of God, the Son is is absolutely mind boggling and
beyond comprehension on so many levels. But so is all of creation.
Why is there anything instead of nothing? It's all incomprehensible.
But when one ponders that God in His Triune Nature so loved us, that
the Father gave His Son, and the Son came to give His life a ransom
for many, and now the Holy Spirit is given to all who ask, it can
move us to truly worship God in deepest deepest gratitude.
Do you want to be a part of this? Offer your heart to God, ask for
His forgiveness for anything you have done wrong. And ask Him to
fill you with Himself. Here are some sample words to help, but you
can use any language you like. You are turning your life over to His
care and starting a new and exciting life beyond imagination. And
then you can join all of us Christians in knowing Him and making Him
known. Begin to read your Bible in the New Testament and ask God to
lead you, you'll find a good place to fellowship. Watch what He
Heavenly Father. I suddenly and strangely feel a yearning deep
inside myself for You. I want to be a part of your Kingdom. I
understand Jesus died for my sins on the cross in my place. Please
forgive my sins and fill me with your Holy Spirit. Please change my
heart and cause me to hunger to know you. Lead me to where I need to
go. I trust You Lord. Amen.
- The Subject of the Incarnation
Charles Spurgeon -
Spurgeon Sermon on the Incarnation
Bible History Online
- Dr. Craig Johnson on the Incarnation
Contributions from Bible History Online and Crossbridge Ministries.