A review of the Old Testament quickly reveals that God has always been active in his relationships with mankind. This living God, after Adam and Eve sinned plunging all mankind into sinful state, had a plan for people’s salvation that involved not only miraculous events but eventually, involved making himself subject to the limitation of flesh and blood. He executed this plan by sending his Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to be born of a virgin.
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John 1:1-14 (ESV)1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.2 He was in the beginning with God.3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.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.
Text: John 1:14 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.
A review of the Old Testament quickly reveals that God has always been active in his relationships with mankind. Beginning with Adam when God knew that he should not be alone so He created Eve. Even when they sinned and we're ashamed God Himself, provided covering for their bodies.
Genesis 3:21 ESV And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.
He gave Noah instructions to build an ark so that mankind survived the flood.
He told Abraham that He was going to bless all mankind through a son that He was going to miraculously provide.
Genesis 22:17-18 ESV I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice."
He caused Pharaoh to free Israel through a series of plagues. On and on throughout the Old Testament in story after story of God was actively involved with people.
He led protected and fed the Israelites for more than 40 years in the wilderness.
That's in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
The concept of God being alive was awesome to the Old and New Testament writers, because they knew that the nations around them worshiped gods of wood and stone. God's who couldn't do anything because they we not alive.
This living God, after Adam and Eve sinned plunging all mankind into sinful state, had a plan for people’s salvation that involved not only miraculous events but eventually, involved making himself subject to the limitation of flesh and blood. He executed this plan by sending his Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to be born of a virgin.
Hebrews 1:1-4 ESV Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
There are a number of things to consider when you think about the reality of Jesus Christ becoming human.
The passage of Scripture that really records the event is our text: “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.
The word “Word” in the text is the Greek word “Logos”.
The idea of the logos had deep and rich roots in both Jewish and Greek thinking.
Jewish rabbis often referred to God, especially in His more personal aspects, in terms of His word. They spoke of God Himself as "the word of God. ",For example, ancient Hebrew editions of the Old Testament change Exodus 19:17
Exodus 19:17 ESV Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain.
To read; "Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet the word of God. " In the mind of the ancient Jews, the phrase "the word of God" could be used to refer to God Himself.
The Greek philosophers saw the logos as the power which puts sense into the world, making the world orderly instead of chaotic. The logos was the power that set the world in perfect order and kept it going in perfect order. They saw the logos as the "Ultimate Reason" that controlled all things.
So John is saying to both Jews and Greeks: "For centuries you've been talking, thinking, and writing about the Word (the logos). Now I will tell you who He is." John meets both Jews and Greeks where they are, and explains Jesus in terms they already understood.
Let's look at a few things about the reality of Jesus taking on flesh and becoming a human being just like you and me.
This is very important as we look to His crucifiction and Resurrection, which we are going to celebrate later this month, because He lived and died as a human and was resurrected as a human, yes in a glorified body, but as a human being nonetheless. At our Resurrection or when Jesus returns to the earth whichever happens first we will have glorified bodies like His.
I. First let's look at His birth and physical development.
Jesus’s life developed naturally even though he was conceived supernaturally. We can even trace his family lineage.
Genealogy and lineage were very important to the Jews. Just read throughout the Old Testament especially the Law, or the first 5 books, and the the books of history like 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah where genealogies are listed with names we can't pronounce. 1 Chronicles which I tried to read recently is almost all lists of family genealogies.
That was important to the Jewish people because you had to be a part of a specific family in order to be a priest, or to do certain things in and around the temple, your family had an inheritance of land, so it was important to know your family history.
Jesus’s earthly family background is recorded in two different Scripture passages (Matt. 1:1–16 and Luke 3:23–38).
The genealogy in Matthew is from Joseph's side and the one in Luke from Mary's side.
You'll notice, when you read them, they split with with two of David's sons. Nathan on Mary's side and Solomon on Joseph's side. So from both His mother and His earthly father, Jesus had a right to the throne of Israel as a descendant of David."
Isaiah 11:1 ESV There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. (Jesse was David’s father)
This gave a certain credence to his history as far as the Jew were concerned.
His Birth was supernatural. A young virgin named Mary was selected by God to be the human instrument for the birth of his Son. The most sacred and awesome act of God in relation to humanity took place as the Holy Spirit blessed this virgin with the gift of the Christ child.
Luke 1:26-35 ESV In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!" But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 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, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." And Mary said to the angel, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?" 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.
His birth was supernatural but, the child Jesus grew physically just like all the other Jewish boys.
You remember the story of the time that Jesus went to Jerusalem, to one of the feasts with Mary and Joseph but stayed behind when they left.
Luke 2:42, 46-47, 52 ESV And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.
II. He had human emotions
The Bible uses human language to express the activities and emotions of God. At times the language is inadequate to represent God’s character completely. But Jesus literally took on himself the emotional make up of a human being.
Anger. In Mark 3:5 He was upset with those who were challenging his authority to serve people on the Sabbath.
Mark 3:5 ESV And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.
Compassion. Jesus had a deep love for people. As he moved around Galallie, Samaria, and Judea, he showed that love and compassion.
Matthew 9:35-38 ESV And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest."
He showed His displeasure at times. One of those times was when his own disciples attempted to prevent parents from bringing their young children to him.
He showed Sorrow. Jesus had deep concern and brokenheartedness for his friends and followers.
John 11:32-35 ESV Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. And he said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to him, "Lord, come and see." Jesus wept.
Luke 19:41-44 ESV And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, "Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation."
He showed Sensitivity to people and situations.
In Luke chapter 7 when went to the Pharisee, Simon’s home and this woman came with some expensive perfume and anointed his head and washed His feet with her tears He was aware of and sensitive to what the people there were thinking and saying about her and he used this to teach a great lesson on forgiveness.
Luke 7:39-40 ESV Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner." And Jesus answering said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." And he answered, "Say it, Teacher."
Then He told a parable and ended it with;
Luke 7:44-48 ESV Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little." And he said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."
He was lonely at times. Isaiah the prophet said the Messiah was “despised and rejected of men”.
Isaiah 53:3 ESV He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Due to the nature of his life and ministry, Jesus experienced deep loneliness at times.
Matthew 27:45-46 ESV Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" that is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
III. He had physical limitations.
The first thought one has about God is at he is omnipotent. In light of his character and purpose, God knows no limits. However when Jesus emptied himself of his heavenly attributes and came down to earth as a baby he accepted the bodily limitations of a human being.
Philippians 2:5-7 ESV Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
Hebrews 2:14-17 ESV Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
He got tired.
John 4:4-6 ESV And he had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.
Even though he was tired He still talked about salvation and worship. You know the story about His conversation with the woman at the well ending with him telling her that He was the Messiah.
John 4:25-29, 36 ESV The woman said to him, "I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things." Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am he." Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, "What do you seek?" or, "Why are you talking with her?" So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, "Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?" Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.
He got Sleepy
Matthew 8:23-24 ESV And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep.
Even in this situation He took the opportunity to teach with His disciples.
Matthew 8:25-26 ESV And they went and woke him, saying, "Save us, Lord; we are perishing." And he said to them, "Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?" Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.
He Got Hungry. The physical well-being of Jesus was dependent on the intake of food. Satan tried to take advantage of this need by tempting Jesus to turn stones into bread.
Matthew 4:1-4 ESV Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread." But he answered, "It is written, "'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"
He got Thirsty. Jesus’s agony on the cross was intensified by a gnawing thirst. The natural chemistry of his body cried out for the same nourishment required in others.
John 19:28 ESV After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), "I thirst."
He was bound by time and space. Prior to coming to earth, the spiritual presence of the Messiah was without limit. His entrance into the realm of humankind made him a temporary captive to time and space. He could only be in one place at a time.
IV. His spiritual development as a human being.
Jesus Christ was God in the flesh, but in his human form he developed spiritually. Because He did He could relate to the spiritual development of people.
He was baptized. Jesus asked John the Baptist to baptize him
Matthew 3:13-17 ESV Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."
At Jesus’s baptism God gave a public declaration of his relationship with Jesus.
He was Tempted
The Lord went through agony as the devil tempted Him.
Luke 4:1-13 ESV And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread." And Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone.'" And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, "To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours." And Jesus answered him, "It is written, "'You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.'" And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, "'He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,' and "'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'" And Jesus answered him, "It is said, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'" And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.
These were genuine trials and temptations. In his temptation Jesus drew closer to the hearts of the people he came to serve.
Then the Transfiguration the ultimate in His spiritual development. It was in this experience that Jesus visibly revealed his godhood to Peter, James, and John. God announced his relationship with the Christ.
Matthew 17:1-5 ESV And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah." He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him."
The crowning achievement of Jesus’s humanity was his physical death. He was aware, of course, that his impending death was to be temporary.
John 14:1-4 ESV "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going."
But He still felt a human fear of death.
Luke 22:41-42 ESV And he withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done."
Finally, he was involved in the ultimate physical event—he died
Luke 23:46 ESV Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!" And having said this he breathed his last.
His total humanity was sealed by death.
What was the reason for Christ’s humanity?
It was God’s way of sharing himself to redeem sinful humanity. He became just like you and me. He experienced everything we experience. The joy the hurt the rejection and yet He did it willingly.
John 10:7-10 ESV So Jesus again said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
He did this so that He could offer His human body as a sacrifice for the sins of all mankind.
1 John 2:2 ESV He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
Jesus died for everyone but only those who respond in faith will reap the benefits of His sacrifice. In other words, Jesus’ death was sufficient for all, but only effectual for some (those who have faith).
In other words, the offer of salvation is universal—to all who will believe.
Romans 10:8-11 ESV But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, "Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame."
John 3:16 ESV "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Has this experience been in vain as far as you are concerned?