pine cone on tree
advent lettering

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

God Incarnate

by Jordan Jarrett

Today's Reading

John 1:1-18

“By thine own eternal spirit, rule in all our hearts alone…”

Immanuel, “God with us.” This was the name of the Savior — as declared in Matthew 1:23 — who would bring light into the world with his glory. In John 1:1-18, we get a more complete summary of Jesus as God Incarnate; as light and glory incarnate; as the One the world had waited for.

But stop and think about it, piece by piece. Do we fully realize and appreciate the implications of Jesus coming to us as God Incarnate?

First, take one of the most familiar verses we have regarding creation: “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...” (Jn. 1:1-3)

Jesus, the “Word” described here, existed “in the beginning.” Not only did He take part in creating the world, He existed before the beginning of time itself. We can’t begin to fathom such a concept in our limited human experience.

Jesus, the Son, existed “with God” the Father. While the Father, the Son, and the Spirit make up the triune God of the Bible, Jesus is as distinct as He is together with the Father. In that, He was able to come among His creation to bring His grace and glory within our reach.

And finally, Jesus “was God.” Whatever the Father is, the Son is too. Jesus is fully divine. Yet he became fully man to make the glory of heaven known to His creation. This is what we mean by “incarnate;” He was God in the flesh.

“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.” (Jn. 1:14)

Pause on the word “dwelling” as it pertains to Jesus. He — the Word — made his dwelling among us. This recalls the imagery of the tabernacle of God’s presence that was set among the Israelites in the wilderness after the Exodus from Egypt some 1,600 years earlier (Numbers 2:17). Jesus’ birth and life among us represented the ultimate tabernacle of God’s presence among his people. God’s pure glory is too much for anyone to behold directly, as He demonstrated to Moses in Exodus 33:20. But through Christ, as Ephesians 2:18 puts it, we “have access to the Father by one spirit.”

Many people at the time thought John the Baptist was the one fulfilling the promises of the Messiah to come. Not only was that a false assumption, it the farthest thing from his purpose that anyone could assume. He knew what he was called to be a messenger who pointed to the True Light that was coming into the world, paving the way for people to receive Jesus. “He came as a witness to testify concerning that light so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light" (Jn. 1:7-8). John made himself less to make Christ greater and ultimately stepped out of the picture for God Incarnate.

It is an example set for us to follow this Advent season and beyond, having access to the truth after Truth Himself walked among us. John set a worthy standard of living to honor God. But Jesus set the ultimate example, having gone further to put us in right relationship with the Father: “Yet to all who did receive him, he gave the right to become children of God…” (Jn. 1:12)

Jesus brought with His incarnate arrival, the New Covenant, by which Jew and Gentile could become children of God if they believe in Jesus’ name. By this, we all can know the love the Father through the countless acts of love by His only Son, so that we may be adopted into His Kingdom: “How great the love of God lavished upon us that we should be called children of God.” (1 Jn. 3:1)

So it is the least we can give in worship to live in the example of God Incarnate. He came to set for us a real-time example, and to reconcile us to the Father. 1 Peter 2:21 puts it best, “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.”

Previous Article Next Article