[INCARNATIONAL SERIES part 5]
Jesus came to that which was his own,1 which happened to be a people group he loved dearly. In every way he took upon himself the nature of a first century Jew. He spoke Aramaic, used metaphors and symbols of the cultural context, and participated in the customs of that people. Arthur Glasser points out that Jesus “adapted his message to the people he met so that it became both understandable and ‘good news’ to them, regardless of their station in life.”2 Jesus contextualized the revelation of God so that people could fuse a connection with God to their everyday life.
The Incarnation was the visible and tangible manifestation of God’s love in the midst of the depravity of humanity’s destructive sinfulness. It was the in breaking of grace, a rescue mission of redemption for a world that had long ago isolated itself from its loving Creator. It is a remarkably beautiful event, saturated in hope and joy. But the innocent sweetness of the Christmas story is also mired in the raw reality of the damaging impact of sin. The Incarnation was an incursion enacted to destroy the destructive forces, to accomplish a rebellion against rebellion, and to redeem the world that God so loved. This meant God was willing to take necessary steps to save us. The Incarnation meant a crude consequence assumed by the Holy God for our sake; an extreme cost that Jesus intentionally chose to take upon his shoulders. George Eldon Ladd directs us to this pivotal revelation: “Jesus was beaten and bloody from the scourging, his head torn by jagged thorns; he was arrayed in a purple robe in the mock regalia of royalty… All this illustrates one of the main themes of John: the Word became flesh.”3
The humility of God as evidenced in the Incarnation suggests the truth of John 3:16! Only through this Incarnational act of love was the necessary redeeming work of Immanuel, God with us made possible. Jesus entered the human condition in order to become the bearer of sin and the mediator between God and his people.4 This is the witness of those who follow Jesus today. John emphasizes the testimony of those who know the Incarnate God saying: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”5
1 John 1:10
2 Glasser, Arthur F. Announcing the Kingdom: The Story of God’s Mission in the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2003, 201.
3 Ladd, 288
4 1 Timothy 2:5, See also Bloesch, Donald G. Essentials of Evangelical Theology: Volume 2: Life, Ministry, & Hope. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1978, 247.
5 John 1:14 NIV