The Incarnation was the act of God the Son putting on flesh and becoming man. We refer to His lowly birth in Bethlehem to Mary the virgin and Joseph the carpenter as the Incarnation. We celebrate His birth at this time every year on Christmas Day. We have no reason to believe that He was born on the 25th of December but this is the day in which much of the world stops to recognize something world changing happened over two thousand years ago.
“But Christmas is still called Christmas. It is not called ‘Gift Day.’ Christ is still in Christmas, and for one brief season, the secular world broadcasts the message of Christ over every radio station and television channel in the land. Never does the church get as much free air time as during the Christmas season.” ~ RC Sproul4
Recently a popular pastor spoke on the Incarnation and said that as long as Jesus predicted His death and rose again, His birth was of little importance. However, if this were true, the Holy Spirit would not have inspired so much to have been written within the pages of the Bible about His birth. The Incarnation matters and it matters a great deal.
Last week, Albert Mohler spoke on The Briefing about the importance of the birth of Jesus.
“If Jesus was not born of the virgin then the Bible cannot be trusted when it comes to telling us the story of Jesus, and that mistrust cannot be limited to how he came to us in terms of the incarnation. The fact is that biblical Christianity and ultimately the gospel of Christ cannot survive the denial of the virgin birth. Because without the virgin birth, you end up with a very different Jesus than the fully human, fully divine Savior revealed in Scripture.
“Then, as now, the issue comes down to the truth and authority of Scripture to reveal Christ. And that’s what the Bible does. It reveals Christ and it reveals Christ to have been conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of a virgin, born in Bethlehem as predicted by the prophets, and born in order to save sinners.
“But before he died for us, he was born for us, and that is the great central fact that is celebrated as Christmas.” ~ Dr. Albert Mohler5
The Incarnation makes the atonement possible. If Jesus had just been another guy, His sacrifice would have been of no eternal value. Being perfect, He only could have secured His own salvation. In order for His sacrifice to atone for the sins of all believers, He had to be divine, He had to be deity, He had to be God. “We might recognize the baby in the manger as God in flesh. But seeing Christ as a helpless and vulnerable infant can delude us into thinking that the humility of the incarnation was not isolated to His physical form—that somehow, His deity was also diminished.” ~ John MacArthur2
Immanuel means “God with us.” God the Son is eternal, self-existent, and preeminent. He has always existed. His birth was not His beginning but it did mark a beginning. Our hope rests wholly in who Christ is. He is God the Son, the second person of the Trinity, the Creator of all things and He chose to come to earth and live as mortal man in order to willingly lay down His life for His Children.
“God the invisible was manifest; God the spiritual dwelt in mortal flesh; God the infinite, uncontained, boundless, was manifest in the flesh. What infinite leagues our thought must traverse between Godhead self-existent, and, therefore, full of power and self-sufficiency, before we have descended to the far down level of poor human flesh, which is, at its best, but as grass, and, in its essence, only so much animated dust!
“Where can we find a greater contrast than between God and flesh? Yet the two are perfectly blended in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ the Saviour of the lost. ‘GOD was manifest in the flesh;’ truly God, not God humanised, but God as God. He was manifest in real flesh; not in manhood deified, and made superhuman, but in actual flesh.” ~ Charles Spurgeon1
In all the hustle and bustle of this season, take time to really consider and meditate on what Immanuel really means, what the Incarnation set into motion, and the hope we have in knowing our Savior became man in order to become the perfect Lamb for sacrifice a few years later.
“We must look to a baby born not with fanfare, pomp, and circumstance, but to poor parents in desperate times. Joseph and Mary, and the Baby Jesus for that matter, were real historical figures. But in a way, Joseph and Mary extend beyond themselves, beyond their particular place and time. They represent all of us. We are all poor and living in desperate times. Some of us are better than others at camouflaging it. Nevertheless, we are all poor and desperate, so we all need the promise bound up in that baby.” ~ Stephen Nichols6
- “Condecension”. 2016. Blog. Pyromaniacs. http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2016/12/condescension.html.
- MacArthur, John. 2016. “Grace To You”. Blog. Christ’s Supremacy Before The Manger. http://www.gty.org/blog/B161219.
- MacArthur, John. 2016. “The Incarnate Image Of God”. Blog. Grace To You. http://www.gty.org/blog/B161220.
- “Marley And His Message To Scrooge”. 2016. Blog. Ligonier Ministries. Accessed December 21. http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/marley-and-his-message-scrooge/.
- Mohler, Albert. 2016. “The Briefing 12-16-16”. Blog. Albert Mohler. http://www.albertmohler.com/2016/12/16/briefing-12-16-16/.
- Nichols, Stephen. 2016. “The Real Meaning Of Christmas”. Blog. Ligonier Ministries. http://www.ligonier.org/blog/real-meaning-christmas/.