Thoughts on the Incarnation

I have been thinking quite a bit lately about the incarnation. Not quite sure exactly why… maybe its the time of year?? The theological concept that the divine Christ, who created everything we touch and see, chose to leave all he knew in glory to be a member of the human family, is mysterious, salvific, and awe-inspiring. One of the purposes of his coming is to show us the culture of his home, the culture of his heavenly family. A possible way to live life without sin, without pain, without crying, and without death or disease. He left that place in humility and longed to go back. As quietly as he came, he went.   I have asked lots of folks in lots of circles what the incarnation means to them— my family, staff, community group, and fellow pastors. The answers have been fascinating. I have had to dissect the idea that Jesus had a sheet of cheat-codes and could get out of any situation. I have had to dispel the concept that Jesus was God more than man and couldn’t have possibly lived a sinless life. Somehow Jesus was not a third being. Divinity is not blue and humanity yellow and somehow the mix is a person who is green. No way. His humanity was fully human. He was not some kind of kinnara or centaur. He was as man as man can be. Yet had the faith to live his life dependent on Holy Spirit and his Heavenly Father.  As Chalcedon put it, the nature of each was preserved completely. In no way did they cancel each other out or morph into something else. The hypostatic union was maintained with complete integrity. It had to or the whole event is a charade, a complete farce. Jesus had to be human in order to know how to save us from our sins. Yes he was omniscient, but he had to be human without the God-button to turn his chair around saving him from some temptation. He knows us now. Like he never knew us before.   “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 5:7-10).

I have been thinking quite a bit lately about the incarnation. Not quite sure exactly why… maybe its the time of year?? The theological concept that the divine Christ, who created everything we touch and see, chose to leave all he knew in glory to be a member of the human family, is mysterious, salvific, and awe-inspiring. One of the purposes of his coming is to show us the culture of his home, the culture of his heavenly family. A possible way to live life without sin, without pain, without crying, and without death or disease. He left that place in humility and longed to go back. As quietly as he came, he went.

I have asked lots of folks in lots of circles what the incarnation means to them— my family, staff, community group, and fellow pastors. The answers have been fascinating. I have had to dissect the idea that Jesus had a sheet of cheat-codes and could get out of any situation. I have had to dispel the concept that Jesus was God more than man and couldn’t have possibly lived a sinless life. Somehow Jesus was not a third being. Divinity is not blue and humanity yellow and somehow the mix is a person who is green. No way. His humanity was fully human. He was not some kind of kinnara or centaur. He was as man as man can be. Yet had the faith to live his life dependent on Holy Spirit and his Heavenly Father.

As Chalcedon put it, the nature of each was preserved completely. In no way did they cancel each other out or morph into something else. The hypostatic union was maintained with complete integrity. It had to or the whole event is a charade, a complete farce. Jesus had to be human in order to know how to save us from our sins. Yes he was omniscient, but he had to be human without the God-button to turn his chair around saving him from some temptation. He knows us now. Like he never knew us before.

“During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 5:7-10).