Last week’s word was Christology. This Wednesday’s word of the week is closely associated with the doctrine of Christ. Incarnation is an important theological term meaning God became man. In last week’s post, we reflected that Jesus is both man and God. Incarnation is the affirmation that God took on human flesh. In John’s account, the Logos, John 1:1 is God. And God took on human flesh.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.John 1:14
In ancient Gnostic thought, the logos, Greek for word reflected the idea that ultimate reality is an idea or concept from the spiritual realm. The Gnostics pursued special, spiritual knowledge. From their Neo-platonic roots, Gnostics held a spirit/matter dualism where the spirit was much more important than matter. Matter was the flesh, was rude, and less important than the spirit. The flesh was merely a mechanism for experiencing the spiritual. What lasted and what was important was the spirit.
But God (logos) became flesh. Jesus is God incarnate (God made man). There are numerous implications for our Christian faith here:
- The incarnation reflects the goodness of original creation. God made Adam and Eve (male and female) embodied beings. Body and soul both matter.
- The incarnation necessitates caring for body and soul. That God became flesh (fully God and fully man) emphasizes God’s care for the whole person (body and soul), not merely one’s soul/spirit.
- The incarnation highlights the humility of Jesus. That Jesus became flesh and humbled himself under the development restrictions of growing in the womb to an adult reveals Jesus’ humility that underscores his longing to reach sinners with salvation.
- The incarnation shouts the lengths God will go to save his creation. Jesus set aside heaven and traveled to earth to save his creation. No one has ever exceeded this distance to rescue others.
- The incarnation speaks to the certainty that only Jesus can save. For us to be forgiven, we needed a substitute. We need the incarnation because for a substitute to be sufficient, we need one of us (Jesus in human flesh) and we need someone sufficient to die for the sins of the world (God).
That God would enter into human flesh should stagger us with awe and humility. Would you pause today and worship God who sent Jesus to be the Word made flesh?