Humanity with Love
by Gini Crawford, MSW
At the right time, over 2,000 years ago, God Himself out of love for us became man (the incarnation), and literally lived among us. The incarnation refers to the time when God the Son took on a human body. Before the incarnation of Jesus Christ, there were theophanies. Theophanies were temporary appearances by God the Son to humans in the Old Testament times: God the Son was walking and talking in the garden with Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:8-15, Colossians 1:15-17). God the Son comforted and provided for Hagar in the wilderness (Genesis 16:7- 13). God the Son appeared to Moses in the burning bush (Exodus 3:1- 16). God has always wanted to be with us and His incarnation guaranteed that (2 Corinthians 5:18-19).
A man and his adult handicapped son pass me most mornings on their tandem recumbent bike. There is always a big smile on his son's face and a wave towards me as they pass. Yes, I am a slow bike rider. The man is the one peddling up the long hill I see them on. This man takes at least an hour or more out of his day to show his love to his son. Every time they pass me, it reminds me love is shown through selfless time given. Jesus' love is shown to us through the selfless time He physically spent on this earth. During this time Jesus willingly put our interests and needs first by becoming a man, to serve us to the point of death on a cross. (Philippians 2:3-8).
To ponder: Even though Jesus isn't bodily living on this earth now, He is still very much with you (Matthew 28:19-20). When you are struggling with unmet needs or it seems no one really cares, remember, Jesus became human to be there for you - to give you mercy, grace and help. (Hebrews 4:14-16). Will you give Him your time by diligently and intentionally getting to know Him through His Word and prayer. He very much wants to peddle with you through life.
The miracle birth
What did Jesus do as God to become man? This is a complex question we could speculate about until Jesus comes back, but let me answer it very simply: the virgin birth.
Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit and thus born of a virgin. You might be thinking, a pregnant woman can't be a virgin. You are absolutely right, except this birth was different from any other. This birth bought together the human and divine, so that Jesus' full humanity would be evident to us from a human mother, and His full deity would be evident by His conception in Mary's womb by the powerful work of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:35). The virgin birth made it possible for the Son of God to take on human flesh without inheriting a sin nature like the rest of humanity (2 Corinthians 5:21).
In the Gospels, Luke gives the most details about Jesus' birth because he understood how key the virgin birth was for God to become man (Luke 2:1-20). Archaeology has proven that Luke, who wrote the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts, is a first rate historian. He was also a medical doctor, so he understood the virgin birth was impossible without a miracle of God.
The virgin birth reminds us of God love for us, because the Creator was willing to become the created, a man. What would life be like if God hadn't cared enough for us to be born one of us? Now, that's the best Christmas gift ever, isn’t it?
God's humanity was necessary for us
Some people have assumed that Jesus was not entirely human. Yet, Jesus had to be one of us to save us. If Jesus had not been a man He could not have died in our place and pay the penalty for our sins. Jesus, the man, was our substitute (2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 2:6-8).
Jesus was just like us: Jesus had a body like ours. He was born like we were, yes, conceived differently but a birth like ours. He grew up and became an adult and started to age. Jesus got hungry, thirsty, tired and so on just like every human does. His human side was tempted like we are, but He didn't sin like we tend to do. (Matthew 4:2-3; Luke 2:7, 40, 52; Hebrews 4:15-16). About Jesus' humanity:
...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. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel" (which means, God with us).... / Christ Jesus ... being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form... / Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect ... to make propitiation for the sins of the people. / You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. Matthew 1:20-23; Philippians 2:5b, 17-18; Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 3:5 ESV®
In a communist country, a young man was going to be imprisoned because he had stolen. His father had also stolen in the past but had escaped notice. His father out of love went to the authorities and confessed to his son's crimes and was imprisoned. He took his son's place. Our God Who exists in perfect holiness and righteousness took on humanity, and out of love for us, even though He was completely innocent, died as a criminal in our place. Read 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, 21; Colossians 1:19-22.
This would be a good time to thank God for becoming one of us. If you have time, write a short prayer or psalm expressing your gratitude. A lot of Psalms are King David expressing his gratitude to God for what He had done. Read Psalm 138.
Reflect on Colossians 1:21-22.