I have been one of those who believe Christians, as a whole, tend to make a great deal out of Christmas, the celebration of Christ’s birth, and tend to neglect Easter. I’ve always felt we should make a great deal more out of Easter than we do.
This Christmas, however, I’ve re-thought that… Just let me say it this way: THE INCARNATION IS A BIG DEAL! In the incarnation our Creator, the Eternal God, revealed Himself in human flesh. He came down to us! Imagine it…. Almighty God in the womb of a virgin, a baby in diapers, learning to walk and speak, playing with friends in the neighborhood… “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” (Luke 2:52)
Without the incarnation God would be an aloof Creator unable to identify with us – and us with Him. Without the incarnations John the Baptist’s declaration would be meaningless… “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 & 36) – There would be no redemptive significance in Jesus’ death. And what would be the ultimate significance of the resurrection if Jesus were merely a man? What power would it possess over our daily lives right now and our hope of eternal life? What about all the prophetic Scriptures that point to this one to come… the Messiah? I could go on…
Hey, THE INCARNATION IS A BIG DEAL! What happened in the birth of Jesus of Nazareth really matters! Consider what these Scriptures have to say about its significance!
“An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, BECAUSE WHAT IS CONCEIVED IN HER IS FROM THE HOLY SPIRIT. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because HE WILL SAVE HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS.’ All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and THEY WILL CALL HIM IMMANUEL’ (WHICH MEANS ‘GOD WITH US’).” (Matthew 1:20–23 NIV)
Then there is the story of the unusual phenomena in the heavens that served as a significant astrological sign of the birth of a remarkable world leader that drew “the wise men” to Judea to worship Jesus! (Read about it in Matthew 2:1–12) What happened in Bethlehem with the birth of Jesus was a big deal!
Mark’s gospel jumps right to the point. He begins like this: “The beginning of the good news about JESUS THE MESSIAH, THE SON OF GOD! ” (Mark 1:1 NIV)
“In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said… ‘YOU WILL CONCEIVE AND GIVE BIRTH TO A SON, AND YOU ARE TO CALL HIM JESUS. HE WILL BE GREAT AND WILL BE CALLED THE SON OF THE MOST HIGH… HIS KINGDOM WILL NEVER END.’ ‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’ The angel answered, ‘THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL COME ON YOU, AND THE POWER OF THE MOST HIGH WILL OVERSHADOW YOU. SO THE HOLY ONE TO BE BORN WILL BE CALLED THE SON OF GOD!’” (Luke 1:26–35 NIV)
“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I BRING YOU GOOD NEWS THAT WILL CAUSE GREAT JOY FOR ALL THE PEOPLE. TODAY IN THE TOWN OF DAVID A SAVIOR HAS BEEN BORN TO YOU; HE IS THE MESSIAH, THE LORD.’” (Luke 2:8–11 NIV)
“Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. IT HAD BEEN REVEALED TO HIM BY THE HOLY SPIRIT THAT HE WOULD NOT DIE BEFORE HE HAD SEEN THE LORD’S MESSIAH. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: ‘Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For MY EYES HAVE SEEN YOUR SALVATION, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.’” (Luke 2:25–32 NIV)
And then there is John’s commentary on the significance of the incarnation… “IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD, AND THE WORD WAS WITH GOD, AND THE WORD WAS GOD. He was with God in the beginning. THROUGH HIM ALL THINGS WERE MADE; WITHOUT HIM NOTHING WAS MADE THAT HAS BEEN MADE. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it…The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. HE WAS IN THE WORLD, AND THOUGH THE WORLD WAS MADE THROUGH HIM, THE WORLD DID NOT RECOGNIZE HIM… THE WORD BECAME FLESH AND MADE HIS DWELLING AMONG US. WE HAVE SEEN HIS GLORY, THE GLORY OF THE ONE AND ONLY SON, WHO CAME FROM THE FATHER, FULL OF GRACE AND TRUTH… NO ONE HAS EVER SEEN GOD, BUT THE ONE AND ONLY SON, WHO IS HIMSELF GOD AND IS IN CLOSEST RELATIONSHIP WITH THE FATHER, HAS MADE HIM KNOWN!” (John 1:1-5, 9-12, 14, 18 NIV)
Apostle Paul also speaks about the importance of the incarnation (and this great passage should all be in CAPS!
“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the Church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Him!” (Colossians 1:15–19 NIV)
Finally, we have the declaration of the writer of Hebrews in the Bible! “In these last days God has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” (Hebrews 1:1–3 NIV)
Hey… Easter is a big deal! But so is Christmas! It celebrates the “incarnation” – the coming of God in human flesh to be our Lord and Savior!