LESSON 13 THE INCARNATION OF JESUS CHRIST Lesson Plan

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1 LESSON 13 THE INCARNATION OF JESUS CHRIST Lesson Plan What is the Incarnation The word Incarnation does not occur in the Bible, but the term does rightly express the biblical truth as to how Jesus became man. It is a combination of the Latin words in (same as our English definition) and carnis (meaning flesh ). Literally we can say that the Incarnation describes the process by which the Second Person of the Holy Trinity took on flesh. While remaining fully God, He became fully man uniting two natures in one Person. John 1:14 gives us the best definition: And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. And from the point of His Incarnation throughout eternity, Jesus will forever be the God-man. At the Incarnation, Jesus entered His own creation in a unique and powerful way. He is Immanuel, which translated means, God with us (Mt. 1:23; cf. Isa. 7:14). In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (Jn. 1:1). While the Word throughout eternity existed with the Father, it was not until the Incarnation that He was called Jesus. Jesus is His new name as given by Joseph in obedience to the command by the angel. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins (Mt. 1:21).

2 Where does the Virgin Birth fit in Over six hundred years before the Incarnation, Isaiah 7:14 predicted, Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. In the New Testament we see the emphasis on Mary s virginity and the Spirit s work in conceiving Jesus. Consider Matthew 1:18, Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. Even Mary was confused when the angel first announced this upcoming event. She said, How can this be, since I am a virgin?" To which the angel replied, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God (Lk. 1:34-35). Trying the fathom the unfathomable Listen to how these authors try to unravel the great mysteries and extremes of the Incarnation: The Word became flesh! God became human! The invisible became visible! The untouchable became touchable! Eternal life experienced temporal death! The transcendent one descended and drew near! The unlimited became limited! The infinite became finite! The immutable became mutable! The unbreakable became fragile! Spirit became matter! Eternity entered time! The independent became dependent! The almighty became weak! The loved became hated! The exalted was humbled! Glory was subjected to shame! Fame turned into obscurity! From inexpressible joy to tears of unimaginable grief! From a throne to a cross! From ruler to being ruled! From power to weakness! (Sam Storms, Pleasures Evermore, NavPress, 2000, p ). He was conceived by the union of divine grace and human disgrace. He who breathed the breath of life into the first man is now Himself a man breathing His first breath. The King of kings now sleeping in a cow-pen. The Creator of oceans and seas and rivers afloat in the womb of His mother. God sucking His thumb. The Alpha and Omega learning His multiplication tables. He who was once surrounded by the glorious stereophonic praise of adoring angels now hears the lowing of cattle, the bleating of sheep, the stammering of bewildering shepherds. He who

3 spoke the universe into being now coos and cries. Omniscient Deity counting His toes From the robes of eternal glory to the rags of swaddling clothes. The omnipresent Spirit, whose being fills the galaxies, confined to the womb of a peasant girl. Infinite power learning to crawl (Sam Storms, Pleasures Evermore, NavPress, 2000, p. 156). Infinite, and an infant. Eternal, and yet born of a woman. Almighty, and yet hanging on a woman's breast. Supporting a universe, and yet needing to be carried in a mother's arms. King of angels, and yet the reputed son of Joseph. Heir of all things, and yet the carpenter's despised son (C.H. Spurgeon). The Almighty appeared on earth as a helpless human baby, needing to be fed and changed and taught to talk like any other child. The more you think about it, the more staggering it gets. Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as this truth of the Incarnation (J.I. Packer, Christian Reader, v. 33, n. 6). The word of the Father by whom all time was created was made flesh and born in time for us. He without whose divine permission no day completes its course, wished to have one of those days for His human birth. In the bosom of His Father He existed before all the cycles of the ages. Born of an earthly mother, He entered on the course of the years on that very day. The maker of man became man that He ruler of the stars might be nourished at the breast, that He the bread might be hungry, that He the fountain might thirst, that He the light might sleep, that He the way might be wearied in the journey, that He the truth might be accused by false witnesses, that He the judge of the living and the dead might be brought to trial by a mortal judge, that He justice itself might be condemned by the unjust, that He discipline personified might be scourged with a whip, that He the foundation might be suspended on a cross, that He courage incarnate might be weak, and He security itself might be wounded, and He life itself might die (Augustine). By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:16). Why do we need an Incarnation 1. We are sinners with no ability to save ourselves.

4 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). 2. God the Father sent God the Son to redeem us. But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons (Gal. 4:4-5; cf. 1 Tim. 1:15; 1 Jn. 4:10). 3. Jesus Christ remained fully God to qualify as our sinless substitute. You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin (1 John 3:5). 4. Jesus Christ became fully man to qualify as our human representative. He had to be made like His brothers in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people (Heb. 2:17). 5. At the cross Jesus Christ took our sin (bearing its full penalty) and gave us (those who have faith in Him) His perfect righteousness. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21). He became what we are that He might make us what He is (Athanasius). Impact of the Incarnation What a paradox that a babe in a manger should be called mighty! Yet even as a baby, Jesus Christ revealed power. His birth affected the heavens as that star appeared. The star affected the Magi, and they left their homes and made that long journey to Jerusalem. Their announcement shook King Herod and his court. Jesus birth brought angels from heaven and simple shepherds from their flocks

5 on the hillside. Midnight became midday as the glory of the Lord appeared to men (Warren Wiersbe, His Name is Wonderful, Christianity Today). What does the Incarnation prove Man is sinful- If humans were good, we would be able to save ourselves. But because our sin is so vile, we needed God Almighty to fully perform our salvation by becoming one of us in complete humanity. Philippians 2:8, Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. God cares- God was moved by compassion for the people He created. Knowing the sacrifice He would have to undergo, He became one of us, entered our existence and died on our behalf in the greatest demonstration of love the world has ever experienced. 1 John 4:10, In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. God is with us- Since Jesus became man and dwelt among us, He is able to sympathize with our weaknesses (Heb. 4:15). Our Savior knows first-hand the physical limitations of the body (Mt. 4:2; Jn. 4:7), the pain of personal conflict (Lk. 22:48; 22:61) and the agony of temptation (Mt. 4:1-11; Heb. 4:15). He is able to come to [our] aid (Heb. 2:18). Salvation is found in Christ alone- If Jesus is God incarnate and in His death alone people are saved, then the only road to eternal life is through Him. Acts 4:12, And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved. Items for discussion What impresses you most about the Incarnation?

6 Why do so many observe Jesus Christ s Incarnation (Christmas!) and do not observe His commandments? Why is the Incarnation considered by many to be the most amazing miracle in the Bible? What does the Incarnation teach us about the Person of Jesus Christ? How is the Incarnation illustrated when we partake of the Lord s Table? How did the Incarnation reveal God to man? What could happen if we compromise the biblical teaching of the Incarnation? Bible Memory John 1:14- And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

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