The Rev. Lou Tiscione
Years ago, I remember watching a Christian television program in which a preacher announced one of his future crusades. He claimed at his crusade people would experience what the dictionary defines as a supernatural event. He promised a miracle.
This grandiose claim led me to think more deeply about the genuine miracle of miracles, the Incarnation. It is doubtful that this man was able to actually deliver on his promise. But, there is no doubt that God delivered on His! God did come in the flesh 2,000-plus years ago. His name was Jesus, which means “God saves.”
Isaiah predicted this miracle. “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14) Matthew recorded its fulfillment. “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God with us).” (Matthew 1:23)
The Incarnation was so important that God spoke through His prophets throughout the Old Testament declaring the absolute necessity of the God — Man. It is a miracle that we simply cannot adequately understand, but we receive it as the absolute truth because God said it. Our hope of eternal life is real because the miracle of Jesus’ birth was real.
The Apostle Paul took the opportunity of rivalry and disunity in the church to declare both the explicit and implicit meaning of the Incarnation. “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5-11 [ESV])
The first explicit revelation is that the Incarnation is the ultimate definition of humility. God, the creator of all, condescended to lower Himself and take upon Himself human nature. God came to earth as a man. All the while, He remained divine. He voluntarily set aside His glory. No analogy is adequate to describe Jesus’ humiliation in the Incarnation and His crucifixion.
Further, Paul wrote that Jesus was born of woman, born under the law to redeem those who were under the law. (Galatians 4:4) Jesus was fully man, but a man without sin! Jesus was born without sin because He was born out of the natural course. He was miraculously born of Mary who conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Because of Jesus’ humility in fully submitting to the law in obedience to God the Father even unto death upon a cross those who are in Christ are accepted by God because of His blood and righteousness. Apart from Jesus’ Incarnation we would never be able to have a relationship with God. The Incarnation led to the satisfaction of the law’s demands! Because of His perfect sacrifice our sins have been paid for.
Second, Paul also wrote of Jesus’ exaltation. Because of His perfect obedience to His Father, even to death on a cross, God gave Him the name that is above every name. That name is Lord. The Father gave Jesus to be the master of all that exists. Jesus said “All authority in heaven and on earth” was given to Him. (Matthew 28:18)
In summation, Paul wrote of God’s purpose in the Incarnation. Everything about the Incarnation is for the glory of God, the Father! The entirety of God’s plan of redemption is for His glory!
The Incarnation also has an implicit affect. The implication of the Incarnation, God, with us is that those who are in Christ are joint heirs of heaven with Him. All those who are in Christ will receive exalted and glorified bodies like Jesus. God has promised that His people will see Him face to face. The miracle of miracles is God’s provision that ensures redemption for every believer.