We’re talking about Christmas this week! No, not reindeer and elves and trees kind of Christmas. The more important story of Christmas: the incarnation of Jesus Christ.
Our first four weeks have been focused on familiarizing ourself with the Bible and the basics of scripture and theology. Now we begin digging into the content of our faith, and you’ll start to see our Foundations of Faith Building Blocks showing up in our lessons. This week we’re trying to answer question #10: Who is Jesus Christ?
The stories of Jesus adulthood and ministry give us the best look at his character, personality, and teachings. But to really understand who Jesus is, we consider how Jesus came to us. The songs and stories of Christmas are a great place to learn about this. There are over 300,000 babies born each day. What makes Jesus’ birth so special? When Matthew writes his gospel he tells us this:
Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.”
This was not just any baby. The earliest followers of Christ truly believed that when Jesus came to us, God came with us. John’s gospel begins with a more “abstract” telling of Jesus’ coming. He calls Jesus “the Word” (or Logos in Greek). And says this:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
He says the Logos was with God and was God… and then the Logos became flesh and lived among us. We call this the incarnation which literally means, “being made flesh.” God who is spirit, did an amazing and miraculous thing. God became human to be among us, to teach and show us how to live, and to die and rise so that humankind and God could be reunited.
Some of the best Christmas carols are the ones that reflect on the incarnation. Listen to verses two and three of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”
Christ, by highest heaven adored;
Christ, the everlasting Lord;
late in time behold him come,
offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
hail th’ incarnate Deity,
pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.
Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
risen with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,
born that we no more may die,
born to raise us from the earth,
born to give us second birth.
In Confirmation we spend time learning and memorizing the Apostle’s creed. There is a second ancient creed we sometimes use in church called, the Nicene creed. Look at how the Nicene creed describes Jesus:
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and became truly human.
Who is Jesus? He is more than a good man. He is also not simply a ghost or a spirit. Jesus is the incarnation of God. His purpose is much more than just to teach us how to be good. As both Divine and Human, he is the bridge that separates humanity from God. He is the perfect solution to humanity’s separation from God. By believing and being baptized into Jesus, we have union with God in a way that would be impossible without Jesus.
Journaling Questions this Week
Read Philippians 2:1-8
- Who is someone who has earned your trust? How did they do it?
- In Philippians 2, how does the Apostle Paul describe Jesus?
- Based upon this scripture passage, describe for me the incarnation of Jesus.