The wisdom of God in the Incarnation

December 4, 2010

Who is God? What is He like? Since the days of Adam and Eve, few men in history have actually met with Him or heard His voice with clarity as they did. Abraham, Moses, David, and the prophets would often be the first names to come to our mind. For centuries, the nation of Israel would be the premiere recipients of the LORD’s self-revelation. And though He gave it to them eagerly, they did not receive it readily. When He came to visit them at Sinai to give them the Law, virtually the entire nation shrunk back in fear. (Just for the record, I probably would have too!) Instead of opening their hearts in love towards their Redeemer and Deliverer from the hand of the Egyptians, they turned to idols.

The Law was meant to reveal the heart and character of God to Israel. However, we now understand that the Law given to Moses was just a small taste of God’s self-disclosure for mankind. God’s words and God’s wisdom remained largely mysterious, distant, and hidden until one grand moment - the incarnation of Jesus. The very Word of God (John 1) and Wisdom of God (Proverbs 8; 1 Corinthians 1:24) had come into our midst and made His dwelling among us. Instead of a passing shower falling down to the earth, who God was and what He was like was now being fully revealed to mankind in a rushing torrent. Instead of letters on a stone tablet or words from the mouth of a prophet, God’s wisdom was now substantial. Wisdom now had a face, a voice, and human flesh.

…that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Colossians 2:2-3)

…but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God… But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption…
(I Corinthians 1:23-24, 30)

Through the incarnation of Jesus, all of the treasures of God’s wisdom and knowledge could now be readily displayed, because Jesus in His identity is the essence and fullness of the revelation of God and His wisdom. No man would have ever envisioned such a rich, perfect disclosure of God (1 Corinthians 2:1-9).

“Prior to His earthly existence, Jesus Christ is eternally God, the Wisdom, the Thought of the Father. In His earthly existence, He is that Thought or Word of God speaking to men. The words of men pass away when they have been conceived and uttered, but the Word of God is eternally uttered and can never cease from utterance. By His Word, the Eternal Father expresses all that He understands, all that He knows…Finite intelligence needs many words in order to express ideas; but God speaks once and for all within Himself – one single Word which reaches the abyss of all things that are known and can be known. In that Word of God are hidden all the treasures of wisdom…”
- Fulton Sheen, “Life of Christ”

Several times the apostle Paul used the term “wisdom of God” to include Jesus in the identity of the one true God, YHWH. However, the reachings of Wisdom’s hands go far beyond theological understanding and penetrate into the depths of the human heart to summon us nearer. We are no longer beckoned to approach a burning mountain as the children of Israel were. Because of the incarnation, we can approach a helpless Babe in a dirty feeding trough. Further still, obtaining the treasures of wisdom and the knowledge of God now requires that one approach Jesus. More than just mentioning His name or doing good works in His name, we must study, discover, and treasure all that the scriptures say about Him. There is no other way to a full revelation of God's glory, wealth, and wisdom than through that Babe, Jesus. We must allow those tiny hands to demonstrate God’s wisdom to us.

The way of wisdom is that when rational analysis can take us no further we turn to worship.
When reason fails, with all its powers,
Then faith prevails, and love adores.

- James I. Packer

As you ponder the treasures of wisdom and knowledge in the new life of that Babe this Advent and Christmas season, may your heart be drawn into deeper worship and abandonment to Him.

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About the author

Joshua Hawkins is a pastor, Bible teacher, and content creator for disciples of Jesus from College Station, Texas. He co-hosts The Apocalyptic Gospel Podcast, a weekly audio show exploring how a first century Jew would have understood the Gospel. He's also an all-around tech nerd and enjoys road cycling.

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