The Wonder of the Incarnation

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This Christmas season we have much to adore our Savior for. I want to that love and adoration to intensify and increase this morning as we dwell on the incarnation!
John 17:1–2 ESV
1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.
John 17:3 (ESV)
3 And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
“For to know God, so as thereby to be made like him, is the chief end of man.” —John Owen
Problem: How do we know God? How can we know Him? He is so much greater and grander that we are! God is solitary and unique and above all else. How can we as simple finite beings truly know this great God?
Christmas is the glorious time of year when we reflect on the answer to this perplexing question. We can know God by means of the incarnation. The mystery, the wonder when God became a man. Fully God and yet fully man. And by means of Jesus and His incarnation we can know the God of heaven.
The incarnation of our Savior is a most wonderful and glorious event in history, and because of it Jesus deserves all our worship!
Why is the Incarnation so wonderful?

Because God is absolutely incomprehensible

1 Timothy 6:16 ESV
16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.
What do we mean that God is incomprehensible?
“God, in his own essence, being, and existence, is absolutely incomprehensible. His nature being immense, and all his holy properties essentially infinite, no creature can directly or perfectly comprehend them, or any of them.” —John Owen
Immortal, invisible, God only wise, in light inaccessible hid from our eyes, most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days, almighty, victorious, thy great name we praise.
Great Father of glory, pure Father of light, thine angels adore thee, all veiling their sight; all praise we would render, O help us to see 'tis only the splendor of light hideth thee.
This is why Scripture says that God dwells in unapproachable light, and that no one has ever seen or CAN see God. It is not merely that God is holy and cannot tolerate sinners like you and like me. God is the invisible God, He dwells in light inaccessible hid from our eyes because He is absolutely incomprehensible by mere finite beings.
“He must be infinite that can perfectly comprehend that which is infinite; wherefore God is perfectly known to himself only—but as for us, how little a portion is heard of him!”—John Owen
Illustration: playing charades with a group of friends and two of them of close siblings. The objection is always, “they can’t be on the same team.” Why? Because they know each other so well that they can act out the simplest of pantomimes, which to any other person is absolute nonsense, absolutely incomprehensible—and yet the sibling gets the correct answer in a moment.
It is impossible for sinful finite beings to know a holy infinite God. A God who dwells in unapproachable light. A God whom no one has ever seen or can see. And yet, Jesus Christ, because he took upon Himself a human nature, because He was born in that lowly manger all those years ago- makes God known!
John 1:18 ESV
18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
Friends, Jesus deserves your adoration and your worship this Christmas season because He has made the absolutely incomprehensible God known!
Why is the Incarnation so wonderful?

Because of humanity's desire for a fuller representation of God

There seems to be an innate need within all humanity to some how take God, who is incomprehensible to their senses, and make a representation of Him.
Why do people desire to make some kind of representation of the incomprehensible God? So they might understand and know Him better. They must have a nearer and more evident manifestation of God!
God, in His grace gave humanity certain representations of part of his nature.
Romans 1:19–20 ESV
19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
The creation gives us certain information about the nature of God- namely his God-ness and his eternal power.
Psalm 19:1 ESV
1 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
OT Law:
Hebrews 10:1 ESV
1 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near.
The OT Law was a shadow of the good things to come. In some ways the OT Law represented God and His nature, mostly in pointing forward to the true form of those realities.
Neither creation nor the Law was sufficient to rightly represent God. God a better plan for how to represent Himself. All humanity needed to do was to be patient and wait. But, they could and did not.
Exodus 20:4 (ESV)
4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
Romans 1:21–25 (ESV)
21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools,
23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,
25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
“But none of these things ever did or could give such a representation of him as wherein the souls of men might fully acquiesce, or obtain such conceptions of him as might enable them to worship and honor him in a due manner.”
“They cannon, I say—by all that may be seen in them, and learned from them—represent God as the complete object of all our affections, of all the actings of our souls in faith, trust, love, fear, obedience, in that way whereby he may be glorified, and we may be brought to the everlasting fruition of him.” —John Owen
This is why God commanded that no image or likeness ever be made of Him. Nothing that finite mortal man could ever make would first of all be like Him, or second cause us to worship, honor, love, trust, fear, or obey him.
Illustration: Have you ever wanted to capture that most beautiful and perfect sunset in a picture? Maybe it was a starry night sky, or a panoramic view of the ocean, or a glorious landscape of the Rocky Mountains? No matter how good your camera is, no matter how skilled you are as a photographer, you just cannot capture exactly what you see in real life. The picture of the thing, the representation, never lives up to reality.
This is infinitely more true in relation to an almighty, uncreated, eternal, immeasurable, glorious God!
This is the wonder of the incarnation!
God, in His grace, had a plan to make Himself, a representation, a manifestation, a likeness of Himself. And God did this in the person of Jesus Christ!
Why is the Incarnation so wonderful?

Because Jesus is the image of the invisible God

1 Corinthians 2:9 ESV
9 But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—
Human wisdom or cunning could never have imagined the plan of God to reveal Himself to the world. God’s plan to make for Himself his own likeness or image was beyond our understanding or comprehension.
Matthew 1:18–25 (ESV)
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.
19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.
20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife,
25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
Luke 1:26–35 (ESV)
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary.
28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”
29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.
30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.
32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,
33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.
The marvelous plan of God for how he would reveal Himself to the world was through the incarnation!
Jesus Christ is the complete image and perfect representation of the Divine Being and excellencies.
Colossians 1:15 ESV
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
The One who dwells in unapproachable light, who cannot be know by mortal men in and of themselves, wonderfully revealed Himself to us through the Son.
Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God.
So much so that Jesus can say:
John 14:9 (ESV)
9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
How is it possible for Jesus to say that? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father?
Because of our great Triune God!
Each is fully God, equally uncreated, eternal, immeasurable, almighty, and glorious.
One in essence, and yet three in terms of their persons.
This is the glory of the incarnation!
Colossians 2:9 ESV
9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,
The mystery of the incarnation is that the Word, the Son, Very God of Very God, and full possessor of the divine nature; while remaining what he always was, became what he was not by adopting a complete human nature and perpetually uniting it to his single, eternal person without diminishing, compromising, or blending his human or divine natures.
Jesus is the God/Man. Fully God and yet fully Man.
Philippians 2:6–7 ESV
6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
Jesus is the very form of God, and yet emptied himself by adding to himself a human nature. Fully God and yet fully man. And this is the only means whereby an infinite incomprehensible glorious God could make for himself his own likeness. Only in the person of Jesus Christ, the only and unique Son of God.
John 1:14 ESV
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Jesus is the image of the invisible God. In him God was, in him he dwelt, in him is he known, in him is he worshipped according to his will, in him is there a nearer approach made to us by the divine nature than ever could enter into the heart of man to conceive.
Illustration: The sun itself is a bright ball of burning gas in our solar system, and that sun shines its rays of light down upon the earth.
Hebrews 1:3 (ESV)
3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature,
If we imagine looking up at the sun in the sky, we could ask whether we are seeing the sun or whether we are seeing the light from the sun. The answer is that the sun, to be the sun, shines forth its light. When we are perceiving the light, we are perceiving the sun. The two have the closest possible relationship. Yet they are distinguishable.
Jesus is the image of the invisible God, or He is the radiance of the glory of God. Jesus is the rays of light that radiate out from the stellar glory of the Father. We cannot apply this illustration to the essence of the Son and the Father for they are ONE in essence. But they are distinct in person. The Father is not the Son and the Son is not the Father in terms of their person. But they share the closest possible relationship- to see the one is to see the other.
Jesus Christ is the complete image and perfect representation of the Father, and Jesus Christ makes the Father known to us!
Why is the Incarnation so wonderful?

Because God’s glory can only been seen in the face of Jesus Christ

God’s glory effecting our salvation:
2 Corinthians 4:1–6 ESV
1 Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. 2 But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
God’s glory effecting our sanctification:
2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV
18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
“And it argues the woeful enmity of the carnal mind against God and all the effects of his wisdom, that, whereas he has granted us such a glorious image and representation of himself, we like it not, we delight not in the contemplation of it, but either despise it or neglect it, and please ourselves in that which is incomparably beneath it.”
My friend have you despised the glorious image and representation of God? Have you rejected Jesus Christ up to this point in your life? Today could be the day where you for the first time see the light of the glory of God. But you must look into the face of Jesus Christ. You must put your faith in Christ alone. You must turn from your sin in repentance and believe in Jesus as the glorious image and representation of Almighty God!
Maybe you have neglected the glorious image and representation of God. May you have satisfied yourself by focusing your affection, you time, your contemplation of things incomparably beneath Jesus. When is the last time you beheld the glory of the Lord by contemplating Jesus in the Scriptures? When was the last time you were able to see transformation taking place in your life? How long has it been since you have looked back on the last 6 moths to a year of your life and said, “wow, I’m a different person than I was just a year ago”? Have you lost your delight for the glorious image and representation of God?
Turn back to Christ, repent of your errant ways, determine in your heart that you are going to seek after Christ supremely in your life. Start this Christmas by basking in the wonder of His incarnation. The Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us. To be the image of the invisible God, the brightness of his glory, and the exact imprint of his nature. Wonder at Jesus, Worship Him, Adore Him, Love Him, more and more.
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