Thursday, December 31, 2015

Incarnation — Putting on Flesh

At Christmas we celebrate the coming of Jesus. This is one of the most amazing miracles of the Bible. It is called the incarnation or "putting on flesh." The infinite, uncontainable God of the universe came down and put on human nature and took a human body. 

The incarnation has several meanings for us.

First, it means that God bridged the gap between humans and Himself. Sin and our own finite nature stop us from ever reaching God on our own. All other religions of the world are based on human effort to reach up to god or to reach some perfected state based on our own efforts. For us, we celebrate a God who came to us, to bring us to Himself, because our efforts would never be enough to come into His perfect presence.

Second, the incarnation means that we have a God who identifies with us in our trials and temptations. Jesus wept with and for his friends. He go tired and was hungry. He was tempted, but did not sin. God the Son became fully human, and because of that when He comes to us, we can know that He understands and cares for us right where we are.

Third, because He is both God and man, He is the perfect high priest to stand as a mediator between God and man. Furthermore, he is also the perfect sacrifice who paid the debt for our sins. Therefore, as He stands before the Father interceding on our behalf, we can have confidence that our sins are indeed forgiven and that we are accepted by God.

Fourth, we, who are His followers, are called to be like Jesus. In fact we are called the body of Christ, which means that we are called to live “incarnationally.” When we are going out into a lost and dying world, we should be bringing Jesus to them. As we live and speak the gospel, we are helping to bridge the gap to God for others. To do this we need to enter into their lives. This will likely be hard, messy and painful as we walk with broken people in a fallen world. Fortunately, we do not have to fix them ourselves, but rather we simply point them to Jesus, God who took on flesh to bring people to Himself and to fix the broken world.

At Christmas, we remember the incarnation which means that God entered into His world, and we are also reminded that God calls us to be incarnational by entering into the lives of others so that they too can meet the God who came down.