With this final article in my series on the beauty of Jesus in the Incarnation, I want to focus on the salvation of God in the Incarnation. More than presenting you with dry theological facts or systematic theology, I am hoping to connect you with the epic narrative that God has been writing since the dawn of time. God’s story of salvation, redemption, and restoration is the human story, and He invites us to listen, watch, and participate as He unfolds it before us.
Judgment and mercy are meant to fit together like a hand in a glove. If a full picture of God’s heart in judgment and mercy could be painted, judgment would be the canvas on which the colors of mercy would be brushed. It’s not possible to biblically talk about one while ignoring the other. As I discussed in my last post on the judgment of God in the Incarnation, division and judgment centered around the person of Christ was the bold message of John the Baptist. The Incarnation marked a massive season change for Israel - they were about to be indicted by God in the flesh! Though Israel could never measure up, mercy came without cost (Isaiah 55:1-3) and one could still be saved from the coming “unquenchable fire” into the promises made to Abraham. However, inheritance of those promises was no longer based on ethnicity. Participation in the covenant blessings required continual repentance and belief in the Coming One.
In my last article in this Christmas series, I looked at a more well-known aspect of Christmas – the humility of Jesus. But today I want to take an extended post to tackle probably one of the most neglected, misunderstood, and misrepresented facets of Christ’s first coming in light of the grand narrative of redemption. Jesus took on flesh to display the LORD as a zealous, jealous judge that will use the least severe means necessary to divide the thoughts and intents of men’s hearts. His jealousy is not only reserved for a dramatic act at the end of the age (which I have addressed a little bit elsewhere on this blog), but was also expressed in a significant, substantial, and necessary way at His first coming.
Perhaps the humility of God in the incarnation is one of the most considered aspects of Advent and Christmas. How could One surrounded by perfection and beauty descend to the lowest place and be born in a filthy animal feeding trough? How could one so highly exalted stoop so low to be the Servant of all?
To rightly understand His humility in becoming a human, we must be informed biblically on where He dwelt and how He was worshipped before He took on flesh. Only with this backdrop are we rightly prepared to experience the potency of His emotions and desires that flooded His heart and caused Him to constrain Himself to the poverty of a human frame forever.
Before creation, the Son was dwelling together with the Father, daily His delight (Proverbs 8:30). He was perpetually adored by all the host of Heaven from the moment of their creation, never ceasing to be recognized for who He was and never ceasing to receive worship. He was the preeminent One, beautiful beyond comparison, so excellent in all His ways. He was one with Yahweh, the LORD. There was no one like Him in all of creation.
Few things about the life of Christ are more captivating than His meekness, and still fewer things about the incarnation of Jesus are as potent as His meekness. How outlandish is the thought that the very Word of life, the One who spoke the cosmos into existence, lay in animal feed crying, completely powerless to speak any word at all? As with the other things we’ve already looked at in this series, that simple fact should propel our hearts into a surge of devotion and worship. In pondering the meekness of God in the incarnation, it is important to clearly define what meekness is so that we can really begin to partake of the greatest feast of the knowledge of God ever prepared, found only in the person of Jesus the Messiah.