Micah 5:2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
J.R. Tolkein said the incarnation is “too lofty of a truth” for him to intend to work it into his book, “The Lord of the Rings.”
A look at the history and mystery of the incarnation of Christ:
History: The Incarnation as a story
Micah 5:2 says that Christ’s origin dates back to antiquity and eternity.
- Jacob’s wife died giving birth in Bethlehem to Benjamin, which means “son of my right hand.”
- A royal city: Kings were chosen here
- Bethlehem has a dual meaning: “House of bread” and “House of war.” This is significant because Jesus brought life, but caused enmity between family members.
- Galatians 4:4 says God sent his son “when the time had fully come.”
- Israelites waited for about 400 years between the last prophesy and the birth of Christ. The incarnation of Christ teaches us to wait on the Lord in times of drought.
- Micah 5:2 says “out of you” will come the Messiah. God brought the Savior from flawed people who he loves.
- For example, God used Mary to bear Jesus. Mary cherished him from the time of his birth to the time of his death.
Mystery: The incarnation as a wonder
Jesus came to die. He didn’t come for the manger. It’s a wonder that he is both fully human and fully God.
- Some people emphasize the divine because Jesus was sinless. They consider sin a necessary characteristic of humanity. However, God didn’t create man to sin, but to be in his image. So it’s wrong to say that sin is human.
- Jesus had emotion, affection, intellect and choice–all human characteristics.
- Emotion: In John 11:35, Jesus “wept.” Jesus also became furious at the money changers in the temple and demonstrated his anger by turning over tables!
- Intellect: In Luke 2:52, Jesus grew in wisdom and stature. What patience Jesus had to learn even as a fully divine creature!
- Choices: Jesus chose to die. Note: Jesus didn’t cease to exist in heaven when he became a man. In Colossians 1:17, we learn that in Christ, we move and live and have our being. Christ had to coexist in both heaven and earth in order for humans to continue to live during His time as a human.
Jonathan Edwards called the incarnation “the infinite condescension.” We must understand his greatness in order to understand what he gave up to become like us.
- From 381-451 A.D., the church debated the degree to which Jesus was both God and man. They had many theories. Some thought he was sometimes God and other times man. Some thought his God-side was stronger than his man-side, gradually ruling him to perfection. One by one, they ruled out these options and agreed that Jesus was both 100% God and 100% man.
In Ezekial 36:26, we learn that Christ can remove our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh. Praise him who is able to do such wondrous things throughout history and forever! Have a merry Christmas!