The Incarnation: Let us celebrate. God visited our world in various ways and different manifestations. Just to cite few examples:
Gen. 3:8 ff. God was walking in the Garden in the cool of the day with Adam and Eve.
Gen. Chapter 18 we see God appears to Abraham as a man and talks with him. They had dinner together.
Ex.34: 5-6 God stood with Moses and walked in front of him, but not showing His face.
Ex. 24:9-11 Aaron and Moses together with 72 Elders all saw God at the same time and even dined with him.
Gen 32:24-28- In a very close encounter, Jacob wrestled with God.
Exo. 13:21 The Hebrews needed assurance of divine guidance in the wilderness-so God personally, led them as a pillar of cloud by day and as a pillar of fire by night.
Exo.25: 8-9 shows us a very significant story. Here, God commanded them to build Him a Tabernacle. A place where God would come down and “dwell among them”
Exo 40:34 tells us that after they have built the Tabernacle, God filled the Tabernacle with his glory.
These different appearances of God are called ‘theophanies’
Finally, His coming as a child/Man. There are many prophecies in the OT about the coming Messiah. For instance:
Isaiah 9: 6 for instance,” For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Every Christmas time Christians quote this verse and have understood that this verse is fulfilled in Jesus. The God who repeatedly visited this earth many times before, is now announcing His coming ‘Incarnation.’ God coming in the form of a Man. And this mighty God will be born as a Child.
Just a few verses before, in Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” Putting these verses together in Isaiah, the Christians believed, that 700 years before Jesus, the Jews were told that God would be born among them-called the Messiah. Matthew and Luke record the angel’s words, birth and growth of Jesus in the early chapters.
The writer to the Hebrew Christians said: “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” (Heb.1:1-4). Jesus incarnation is the greatest miracle. He came to reach out so that sinners can find meaning and purpose in life, and received the gift of eternal life. Christ is the indescribable Gift. He is Life and the gift of eternal life is offered to the undeserving. This is called Grace! All by grace and by grace alone! (to be continued)