Like Button

Sunday, December 23, 2018

The Incarnation

Most of our Christmas stories come from two sources. We have Luke, the classic "angel appears to Mary" to "the Bethlehem birth" and the shepherds with the angels, and we have Matthew, where Joseph is told about it and wise men come. Mark studiously ignores that story and starts with John the Baptist and Jesus's baptism. But what about John?

There's no Christmas story in John ... but there is. His is the story of the Incarnation. Now, before we go there, you have to understand "incarnation." The word itself is intended to convey "in the flesh." "Incarnate" as a verb means "to make into flesh." And, at its core, this is the critical Christmas story.

John's version begins before the Incarnation.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. (John 1:1-2)
"In the beginning" is John's original starting place. This Word was both with God and was God. The same, yet distinct. This Word was uncreated. We know this because "All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made" (John 1:3). Anything that was made was made by this Word (so He could not have made Himself). He is the Creator of all things created. He is called "the true light" (John 1:9). And then we get to the important part -- the Incarnation.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. (John 1:14)
A single, simple line. Not even a complete sentence or thought. (There's more to verse 14.) But it is critical -- the Incarnation. He existed before anything was made. He was with God and was God. He was the Creator of all that was created. And He "became flesh." Incarnation.

On this basis,
He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him. But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:10-13)
He was in the world prior to His Incarnation, but it was this "being made flesh" that produced this result. God Incarnate could be received, could be believed in, could give us the right to become children of God. Now that is a joyous Christmas story.

No comments: