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Three Incarnation Truths

19/12/2020

Three Truths of the Incarnation.

Text.  John 1:1-14 

WHY does John refer to Jesus as ‘The Word?’   Why introduce a puzzle into such an important matter?  Yet for the early readers of John’s Gospel, there would be no doubt at all what he is writing about.  The Jews would understand perfectly. The WORD, to a 1st Century Jew was ‘God in Action.  Genesis 1:3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

Jesus is God’s Great Gift to the World

So, when John wrote ‘The WORD became flesh’ his readers knew that what he was saying is that God Himself, in the person of his son, in his wisdom, his omnipotence and power, became one of us, took the initiative, rushed to our rescue.  What does all that mean for us though?  For help, look at verse 14:-

1 IncarnationAnd the Word became flesh and dwelt among us

Martin Luther said, “The mystery of the humanity of Christ, that He sunk Himself into our flesh, is beyond all human understanding.”  I wouldn’t even try to explain that mystery here in a simple carol service!  But just think of the contrast between what he was in eternity before the incarnation, and his condition afterwards as it is expressed here.

  • Before his birth.  John explains Christ’s pre-incarnate state in these beautiful opening words, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The Unitarians don’t believe this.  They think that Jesus was just a good man, a good example to us, and some of them would dare to suggest that by his selfless sacrifice, he was elevated to Godhood,   What a dangerous unbiblical opinion! In Christ flesh did not become God, but the eternal God became flesh.  Paul would express this in Philippians 2:5 7  Before his birth he dwelt in heavenly splendour, seated upon his eternal throne, attended and worshipped by the angels. But…
  • At his birth. He became flesh.   The Greek for flesh expresses the weakest part of the human nature. καὶ ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο.  For a Greek mind, the flesh is a tomb, it imprisons our spirit.  For the Hebrew, the flesh is like grass, – Isaiah 40:6-7   The Hebrew witnessed the fragility of the plant life of the Middle East, the grass springing up, and struggling to survive in the blazing sun of the day, and the freezing cold of the nights, only to be cut down by the wind blowing off the desert sands…  The human flesh is beset with illness, and pain and mystery and death.   And it was into our human frailty and pain and death that the King of Heaven entered for us.   
  • After his birth.  He dwelt among us!  And how mean and humble was that dwelling.  He dwelt among the lowest of men, in the lowest of circumstances.  At Bethlehem that day, when a little helpless baby was born; he was born into abject poverty, born in a filthy byre, on filthy straw, in the most backward village in the most despised part of the Roman Empire, God himself entered into the world that he had created.  Matthew 8:20.  

3 Salvationfull of grace and truth.

When the Lord Jesus came into this world, John notes two of the attributes of God that He brought with him,

  • Grace.  God’s unearned love, unmerited favour, reminding us that we cannot ever deserve God’s love, or earn it, that it is a free gift, given to us without any merit on our part.  God loving the unlovable.
  • Truth.  One of the essential attributes of God, is that he is TRUTH.  Absolute truth, – Romans 3:4 That’s why we never measure ourselves by the standards of other people.  God alone embodies all truth, and measured by his standards, we always fall short.  

There’s an abundant revelation of these two attributes.  He is FULL of Grace and Truth!  Everything that Jesus said and did in this 33 years on this earth was full of God’s unmerited favour towards men, and was reflecting the essential nature of God.  And at the Cross, where he died for sinners like us, God’s Grace and God’s Truth came together, as his love satisfied his justice, as Jesus took upon himself all the debt and punishment demanded by the broken law, all my sin and yours,  relieving us of the guilt and restoring our broken relationship with God.   1 Timothy 1:15  

2 Revelationand we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father

There is only one way to see God, and that is through Jesus.  In this part of the verse, John dives deeper into the great mystery that was the nature of Christ.  He was a man, he was one of us.  He bore our humanity as the perfect man.  yet he never ceased to become God.  He wasn’t half man and half God, he was fully God and fully man!  And the glory of God was seen in him.  He was the same as us, but different from us, – for we are children of God by adoption, we have no right to be in his family, for we are born as the children of our father, the devil.  But God in his grace redeems us and brings us into his family, makes us his own.  But Jesus is God’s Son BY DIVINE RIGHT. He is the only begotten son of the father.  Hebrews 1:1-3  In his birth and life, Jesus revealed God to us.  John 14:9  

Jesus was the Logos, the Word became Flesh, and lived among us as one of us, brought us the love of God, lived to fulfil the law, and satisfy God’s righteousness for us, showing us who God is and what He is like.  

BobMcEvoy December 2020

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