I don’t remember what day it was or what I was doing, but I know that when I finally understood the implications of Jesus’s coming to earth, I was changed. Continue reading Lent 2018 | Day #13: Incarnation
In part two of this Advent series we looked at the sweet baby Jesus. The truly human characteristics of his life and ministry on earth are remarkable and confounding. The word, “amazement,” would only slightly capture what the doctrine of the Incarnation represents. The Christian faith is subsumed in this mystery.
My goal in the previous article was to look at the human side of Jesus. However, there is another side, equally present and infinitely more difficult to comprehend. The apostle Paul records an early hymn of the church describing what Jesus “did” in order to come and take on flesh. I placed the word “did” in quotation marks because I have no better way of explaining what happened. Paul reminds the Philippians of Jesus humility and journey toward earth in the second chapter of the letter.
5 ;Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 ;who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 ;but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 ;And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 ;Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 ;so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 ;and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
From the very beginning the church has sought to understand what it meant for God to enter into the human narrative and secure the redemption of the entire race.The phrase that captures my mind and speaks directly to this mystery in these verses is found in verse 7. What does it mean that Jesus “emptied himself?” The very thought ties the mind in theological, intellectual and philosophical knots. I want to state right from the start, I am not claiming to have the definitive answer to this question. I do, however, have strong reasons for believing what I am going to offer.
Where has 2012 gone? Another year almost in the record books, but we still have one more month to go. December is an amazingly busy time around the church. There is a lot going on, but one of the realities my mind turns to around this time of year is the fact that Jesus, our Lord and Savior, was born in the home of ordinary and humble people. I think that we take for granted that there was not anything overly remarkable about Jesus earthly parents. I don’t know if Mary and Joseph fully understood what it meant that the baby born in the stable that first Christmas night would be the Messiah. I am not fully convinced that they fully could comprehend what God was going to do through their faithful obedience. What they did know was that this little, precious bundle of joy was going to change their lives forever! I think every parent understands this even if they are not sure how.
The mystery of Advent (what us church nerds call this time of the year) is that God became like one of us. The technical term for this is “Incarnation.” When we talk about Jesus coming into the world as a baby we are saying that Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, took upon himself something that he did not have before the moment of conception! The Trinity existed as spirit. But, after Jesus descended into the womb of Mary he no longer exists in this way. The great miracle and mystery of this truth is that Jesus voluntarily confined himself to the body of a human being so that we can enter into fellowship with the Father.
This past weekend I not only spent some time with great friends serving college students, but I was once again brought face to face with the greatest truth and mystery of the Christian faith. Over the course of three-and-a-half days I celebrated The Lord’s Supper five times. It would be easy to think that doing something this regularly would have a negative effect in appreciating … Continue reading The Incarnation of Jesus Leads to Worship