15th December 2013

The Meaning of the Incarnation 

“Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.”
Philippians 2:5-8 (The Message) 

As we celebrate our Saviour’s birth, I wonder if we ever stop to consider what a great sacrifice Jesus made by becoming one of us? Read how Paul describes it in his letter to the church at Ephesus (above). 

When theologians refer to the second person of the Trinity becoming human, they sometimes use the word “incarnation.” You’ve probably heard that word before, although most of us probably wouldn’t know what it really means?  Incarnation comes from the Latin incarn. It’s a medical term, used to describe the flesh that grows over a wound, allowing it to recover. Its archaic meaning is to heal, by covering with new flesh. Do you see then, how incarnation is an ideal word to describe Jesus being born as one of us? It is how God fulfilled the original meaning of incarn. The Bible shows how we, the human race, have been mortally wounded by sin, and the wages—or what sin has earned us—is death. 

So Jesus came in the flesh, and his flesh covers our mortal wound. God comes among us in the form and in the weakness of humanity to bring healing to our weak and wounded bodies.  He did it willingly, but it was a sacrifice. Think about it. He had existed for all eternity as the Lord of Creation. But now he was a helpless baby, unable to talk, to stand. He who had had all power was now dependent on his mother for everything. He got cold, he got hungry, he had his nappy changed. His glorious, divine existence had been exchanged for the comparative squalor of life as a human being. 

In his book Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis described it this way: “The Eternal being who knows everything and who created the whole universe, became not only a man but (before that) a baby, and before that a fetus inside a woman’s body. If you want to get the hang of it, think how you would like to become a slug or a crab.” 

Usually, when we think of Jesus’ sacrifice, we think of his crucifixion, which we remember on Good Friday. But the whole experience of becoming human was a great sacrifice. Let’s remember that as we celebrate his birth. 

Prayer
Righteous Father, thank you for Jesus and that he was willing to give up everything of lasting value for us. Thank you that he was willing to humble himself, to put aside his divinity and to live, to be, as one of us for all of us. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen
 

Study by Joseph Tkach 

______________________________________________________________________

joeandtammyAbout the Author:
Joseph Tkach is the President of Grace Communion International (the Denominational name of The Worldwide Church of God UK), and resides in California, USA.

You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK.  For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.wcg.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

Contact:
Email:  admin@daybyday.org.uk

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Print This Article

Comments

Got something to say?