The Incarnation by R C Craft
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, (the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth (John 1:14).
“The Word was made flesh.” Christmas is about a baby yet it is about more than a baby. Christmas is about a birth yet it is about more than a birth. Christmas is about the Incarnation; God encapsulated himself in flesh in order that man might be filled with God’s Spirit. Jesus was the physical embodiment of the Almighty God. Supernaturally conceived by the Spirit and miraculously born of a woman, the baby of Bethlehem was in some manner the temporal vessel of the eternal God. One individual translated
John 1:1, “In the beginning God had an idea.” God literally ‘fleshed out’ his idea; he brought it to fruition.
The Word. An individual cannot be separated from the things he says; even God is identified by his words which we call the Bible. In like manner, the words of God that were uttered before there were written records reflected the personality and attributes of God. The Old Testament is a record God’s multiple attempts to reveal his true self to a number of individuals. God’s words were a reflection of himself while his ideas put into action showed those living in God’s creation his eternal essence.
Known as Jehovah throughout the Old Testament, God revealed himself as Jesus in the New Testament. The compound names of Jehovah that occur throughout the Old Testament gradually reveal his character, attribute by attribute. The ultimate compound name was Jesus, transliterated from the
Greek iesous, which revealed the essential personality of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It is a representation of the Hebrew Yah-ousha, or Yeshua. This compound word means Jehovah-salvation or Jehovah has become salvation.
Salvation came to the world in the form of a tiny baby. The Christmas child was a temporal manifestation of the eternal God. The LORD saw that there was no savior, no redeemer nor intercessor so he made himself flesh that he might be both redeemer and savior to the men and women he had created.
Was made. God was manifest in the flesh. In Mark the same Greek word fanero (phaneroo) is translated ‘appeared’ (Mark 16:12, 14). Strong’s Dictionary defines it as “to render apparent.” At the first Christmas the true personality of God appeared. “God so loved that he gave his only begotten Son” (John 3:16). With the appearance in the world of the small child supernaturally conceived in Mary’s womb, God made apparent his love for mankind.
The angel which addressed the shepherds clarified the meaning of the event: “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you. Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” The Savior was born. Christ had come. The LORD was flesh. Where would this auspicious personage be found? In the form of a baby, lying in a manger. “O come let us adore him, Christ the Lord.”
The wise men from the East asked, “where is he that is born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East and have come to worship him.” The heavenly celebration of the angels to the shepherds may have been viewed many miles away! It was the sign of the king! David’s son would yet sit on David’s throne!
Flesh. Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh. “That holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God (John 1:35).” The Spirit of God overshadowed the virgin girl; the miraculous occurred in her pure body. A virgin conceived as prophesied over 700 years earlier by Isaiah (7:14).
The process of development that occurred within Mary was unique yet normal. It was normal in that the baby was formed within her as a normal child. It was unique in that no fleshly father contributed sperm cell; rather in some way the DNA of the Father was provided by the Spirit that was God. The Spirit that formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed the breath of life that changed the dust to flesh provided the DNA that combined with Mary’s DNA to conceive lithe holy thing” that was the Son of God.
Joseph refrained from consummating the marriage until Jesus was born thus the virgin brought forth a son and called his name Jesus as instructed by the angel. Mary’s firstborn son was to be a blessed man of God; he would save his people from their sins!
AND DWELT AMONG US. Ordained ” … to bruise the head of the serpent (Gen 3:16),” Mary’s son must confront the Evil One who had caused mankind to lose his place in the Garden. Following his baptism, others discovered that he was no longer in the crowds; “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.” (Gen 4:1). Demonstrating his prowess to the adversary was a necessary step in achieving his goal for this journey into the world he had created. The adversary must comprehend his identity and recognize his power.
After the initial encounter the word quickly spread through the hordes of hell, “The Messiah has arrived.’ Every demon that found an opportunity attacked the One who had overcome their master. In Capernaum the unclean spirit cried, If We know thee whom thou art, the Holy One of God.”(Mark 1:23-24); After that, “he suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him.” Repeatedly the Scripture records, “He cast out devils.” Men might question who he was but the demons recognized and acknowledged him early in His ministry.
Yet Jesus was a man like other men. Consider a few examples.
He had a job. His ministry began in the carpenter shop in Nazareth. He was apparently the breadwinner of the family. At age 30 he closed the shop and apparently went to a place where He would be unknown and learn the Scriptures.
He lived what he preached. His public ministry began as John’s was ending He was immersed in water “to fulfill all righteousness.” He would be the greatest evangelist of all time for he came to seek and save sinners.
He had a family. Early in life he was taught to trust and obey God. In his mother’s arms he heard that he was special and that there was a great work for him. Although Joseph apparently died before Jesus was old enough to be a teacher in Israel he taught his boys and girls to serve God. Now, God had entered into the world as a part of their household.
Because of his “normalness” they used a donkey to travel to Egypt to save the baby’s’ life. Throughout his ministry folks who wanted him to be like them questioned him. His overwhelming response was, “Except ye believe that I Am … ye shall die in your sins.”
While Jesus dwelt among us, he demonstrated repeatedly that he was God manifest in the flesh. Jesus understood that need and provided an outlet for their curiosity. The God of the Old Testament provided a multitude of prophecies regarding the coming of the Messiah. Jesus has or will fulfill them every one.
They could have identified him as their Messiah by a simple examination of their own prophets.
In the Old Testament there are also a number of phrases called compound names of Jehovah. By attaching an adjective to the noun Jehovah the Hebrews attempted to adequately describe the character of their God. Some of those phrases are:
Jehovah-jireh. meaning “The Lord will provide.”
Jehovah-rapha, meaning “The Lord who heals;”
Iehovah-Nissi, meaning If The Lord my banner”
Jehovah-Shalom, meaning If The Lord is my Peace.”
lehovah-Shammah, meaning “The Lord is there.”
Jehovah-rohi, meaning ‘The Lord is my Shepherd.”
Jehovah-tsidkenu, meaning ‘The Lord our righteousness”
Jesus also exhibited those traits: Jesus was a provider; he provided food to 5000 and 4000!
Jesus was a healer; he healed individuals and groups!
Jesus was their banner; they were persecuted for his name’s sake!
Jesus was our peace; he gave them courage in the turmoil.
Jesus was Present; In the storm on the sea he saved them.
Jesus is our Shepherd: He cared for Mary in his dying moments.
Jesus is our righteousness: he broke down the wall of partition and gave us access into the Holy Place!
Thus, it is apparent that the holy thing called Jesus was the Mighty God of Scripture who manifest himself in flesh that all men could be saved! Furthermore, he is still operating on the earth as the Holy Spirit and will do so until the rapture of the church.
Jesus STILL exhibits these traits!
He is provider: he has kept me in a steady job for the past 42 years.
Jesus is healer; he healed me of diphtheria when I was an infant.
Jesus is banner: I was baptized I in his Name over 48 years ago.
Jesus is peace: “My peace I give thee.”
Jesus is present: He filled me with His Spirit over 48 years ago. He also promised, “I will go with you all the way.
Jesus is Shepherd: he leads, guides and protects me everyday.
Jesus is Righteousness: “Wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord!” He took my place on Calvary.
The babe of Christmas was the God of Creation. The eternal One somehow was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. The ultimate gift of God is eternal life with him in an eternal paradise.
“Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden.”
This Christmas accept the gift of God that will make your life complete!
Excerpted from FOCUS on Alabama