ALL ABOUT CHRIST – Part 2 (By Janine Mick Wills)
The word incarnation means “in the flesh” and indicates Christ taking to Himself an additional nature, through the virgin birth.The result is that He not only remains forever an unblemished deity, which He has been since “eternity past”; but He also now possesses true, sinless humanity in one person forever (Philippians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God… Philippians 2:7 …and was made in the likeness of men).
Christ did not lay aside or exchange His divine nature when He became man; He only added a human nature. Christ clothed His deity in human flesh, or man could not have looked upon Him (Exodus 33:20 And he (God) said (to Moses), Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live (“Face” meaning God does have a form, though He is a spirit – John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth).
John F. Walvoord, long-time president of Dallas Theological Seminary, said, “He was like a king, who temporarily puts on the garments of a peasant while at the same time remaining king, even though it was not outwardly apparent.”
This is a reverse picture of our salvation. Christ, being God, relinquished His place in a perfect Heaven to come down to an imperfect world. On the other hand, when we get saved, we cast down our filthy, carnal garments and don the righteous robe of Christ’s.
Since no man has seen God at any time, the acts and attitudes of the Father have been revealed in the Son (John 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. John 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?)
OLD TESTAMENT INTIMATIONS OF CHRIST’S BIRTH
Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed… (Christ received His humanity from Mary.)
Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. “Virgin” is from the Greek word `almah, al-maw’ – a lass, damsel, maid, virgin – culturally this would have been a virgin, otherwise she would have been labeled a fornicator. The liberals interpret this as a “young woman” to negate the virgin birth.
Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 53:2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. Micah 5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
THE VIRGIN BIRTH
Galatians 4: 4, 5 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons
Christ could not have had an earthly father or He would have inherited a sin nature.
Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.
Jesus was born of a woman without a man. He was begotten of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. Luke 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God).
It was not the immaculate conception as taught by the Roman Catholic Church (officially announced in 1854). This teaches Mary was conceived and born without original sin, a claim which has no biblical truth. Mary needed a Savior (Luke 1:47 And my (Mary) spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour).
Matthew’s Gospel account is to prove the Jesus was the King of the Jews, thus He had to come from a Jewish line. Verse 2 starts with Abraham, the father of the Jewish race.
Luke’s Gospel portrays Christ as the perfect Son of Man, thus his genealogy traces Christ all the way back to God (3:23-38). (Luke 3:23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli).
MARK AND JOHN’S SILENCE REGARDING THE GENEALOGY OF CHRIST
Mark’s account of Christ’s life is that of a servant. Servants had no genealogies (No one cared about a servant’s heritage).
Mark 1: 1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;
John’s account of Christ’s life is that of the Son of God. God needs no genealogy (John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:14 And 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).
Since the four Gospels all approach Christ from a different P.O.V., we get a wonderful and well-balanced picture of Him (Matthew 18:16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established).
The Jews never permitted women to enter into their genealogical tables, but Mary’s lineage can be traced back to King David (Luke 3:23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son (in-law) of Heli (Mary’s father).
CHRIST’S TWO NATURES
1 Corinthians 15:47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
The difficulty in understanding Christ’s Two Natures (Similar to understanding the Trinity)
1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. Even Paul said Christ being manifested in the flesh was a mystery!
Why should we study Christ’s two natures?
- 2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
- Romans 15:14 And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.
THE NATURE OF THE UNION
The hypostatic union (We already talked about Christ’s incarnation or becoming flesh. This section is about His being God AND flesh.)
hypo – under; beneath; less than normal; in a low and usually the lowest position in a series of compounds
stat – one that stops and steadies; stabilizing agent or device; agent causing inhibition of growth without destruction
- Christ has two distinct natures: humanity and deity. Although He has two natures, He is one person.
- Christ, in the incarnation, was neither a divine man nor a human God. He is the God-man, fully God and fully man. He is no less God because of His humanity and no less human because of His deity.
- Christ spoke of Himself and was spoken of as a single person. There was no interchange of “I” and “thou” between the human and divine nature, such as we have between the persons of the Trinity. Jesus never used the words “us,” “we,” or “ours” in reference to His human-divine person (plural form).
Kenosis (“emptying”) – Christ leaving His preincarnate position and taking a servant-humanity (Philippians 2:6-8 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross).
Christ’s emptying of Himself was not a subtraction but an addition.
What the emptying entailed:
- The veiling of Christ’s pre-incarnate glory (Man could not have looked upon Him otherwise – Exodus 33:20).
- A voluntary non-use of some of His divine attributes (Mark 13:32 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.)
- The condescension involved in taking on the likeness of man and emptying Himself of all He was in heaven (He displayed human attributes – hunger; thirst, weariness, weakness, sleepiness, etc. All the things we deal with day-to-day, He, too, experienced (Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin).
We find many manifestations of Christ’s two natures side-by-side, yet all are ascribed to one person.
- The same Person Who was born an infant is the Ancient of Days. (Luke 2:7; Daniel 7:13).
- The same Person Who is the son of Mary is the God over all. (Mark 6:3; John 17:2).
- The same Person Who is the Son of David is David’s Lord. (Matthew 9:27; 22:45).
- The same Person Who slept calmed the wave. (Matthew 8:24-26).
- The same Person Who wept because of Lazarus’ death, raised him from the dead (John 11:35-38, 43, 44).
THE BIRTH OF CHRIST
Jesus was born to lowly parents (Leviticus 12:8 And if she be not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons; the one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean).
As Savior of ALL the world, the baby Jesus was visited by both the lowliest (shepherds – Luke 2:8-18) and the noblest (wise men – Matthew 2:1-11). NOTE: Christ referred to Himself as the “good Shepherd” – I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep (John 10:11) and is known as the “King of kings” – And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS (Revelation 19:16).
Jesus was born a king.
It is rare indeed for one in a royal family to be born a king. Born a prince, yes, but not a king. The prince becomes the king only on the death or abdication of his kingly father. But Jesus was born a king. How? The simple answer is that Jesus “lived” before He was born, and when He assumed the body of a baby, He was the King in disguise.
John 18:37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. 1 Timothy 1:17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Jesus was born a Savior (Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins).
Even Jesus’ name was divinely decreed. God gave His name to Joseph through the angel’s message (Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins). Philippians 2:9, 10 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.
Jesus is the English modification of the Greek word Iesous, the O.T. form was Joshua (“Jehovah is salvation”).
Everything had to be “perfect” for Christ’s entrance into the world (Galatians 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law).
According to Micah 5:2 Christ had to be born in Bethlehem (But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting). This would not have been possible. But Caesar Augustus happened to want to tax the “whole world” (the civilized world). He was responsible for the roads Joseph and Mary traveled on to get from Nazareth to Bethlehem.
One of Augustus’s most impressive accomplishments was the roads he devised for Rome. His successors would continue this project and the roads of Rome would become impressive accomplishments that united it even more. Rome’s road system stretched 50,000 miles that went to regions such as Syria and Britain with Rome at the heart. These roads that Augustus started to build would also remain unparalleled to in terms of speed until the 19th century. It is even said Augustus covered 800 miles within 10 days using these roads. Some of these roads still stand and are in use today, such as the Appian Way in Italy. The roads of Rome are a remainder of Augustus’s ingenuity and importance to history.
Swaddling clothes – When a Hebrew child was born, it was washed in water, rubbed in salt, and then wrapped in swaddling clothes; that is, bands or blankets that confined the limbs closely (Ezekiel. 16:4 And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut. neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all).
No room in the inn – This seems to have been a blessing. Mary didn’t have to be surrounded/around a lot of people during labor and birth. The stable would certainly have been more private.
You know “the rest of the story”! The angel of the Lord told the shepherds of Christ’s birth and where to find Him. The skies filled w/ heavenly host praising God saying, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men.” The shepherds went with haste to see the newborn King.
Why did Christ do/go through all that? 2 Corinthians 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
THE CIRCUMCISION OF CHRIST
Since the whole mystery of Jesus’ birth had not been revealed to Mary and Joseph, they acted in obedience to the Law (Leviticus 12:1-6). Jesus’ circumcision was a fulfillment of the Law (Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill).
Baby Jewish boys were circumcised and officially named at eight days old – Genesis 17:12a And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you (Abraham), every man child in your generations…)
Luke 2:21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
Read Luke 2:22-35.
Simeon, led by the Spirit, came to the Temple to see the “Lord’s Christ” (Luke 2:27). His prayer foretold of the Gentiles’ salvation (Luke 2:32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel). He also foretold Mary of Jesus’ effect upon Israel and the world and her own future suffering (Luke 2:34, 35And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed).
Anna, a prophetess, an eighty-four-year-old widow, and one, “which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day,” also recognized Jesus as the Savior (Luke 2:38 And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem).
Continued at “All about Christ (Part 3)”.