The Incarnation of Jesus: “God came and dwelt in our midst"

Pastor Jeff Struecker

We’re just a few weeks away from the big holiday, discussing how Jesus accomplished our salvation. And when I say accomplished our salvation, I keep referring to the fact that he is God, and his throne is in heaven. We are humans, and we dwell here on Earth. And there is a huge gap between a perfect and Holy God and an imperfect and sinful people. So how could Jesus, our God and King, rescue us from our sins?

Last week, I used a shocking word to remind you of what this took. Jesus was humiliated, despised, and ultimately abused on the cross. Now, I want to talk about Jesus’s incarnation. The word incarnation means he became man and took on flesh that God incarnate. God came and dwelt in our midst. It has the language of taking on a temporary form, like dwelling in a tent. The language of Jesus’s incarnation means Jesus pitched his tent next to us so that he could hang out with us. It was very temporary because tents are temporary; they’re not permanent houses.

In Jesus’s entire lifetime on Earth, only three people ever got a chance to see with their own eyes a brief glimpse of who it was that was walking in their midst. Jesus took his three closest disciples up on a mountain. He revealed himself for just a split second on that mountain, and Peter, James, and John got to see not only Jesus but also Moses and Elijah.

And the Bible records for us a voice that came from heaven that tells us exactly who’s standing on that mountain from Mark 9:7.

Memory Verse

You see in this scene that we have depicted in Mark, which also shows up in the other new testament books of Matthew, Luke, and John, this scene is the split second where Jesus just showed them who was really standing in their midst and only a couple of people ever got a chance to see it. God spoke from heaven and wanted Peter, James, and John to know who was standing in their midst. So God said with an audible voice that man is also my son, and he is both God and man at the same time. And because he’s God and man, you should listen to him.

The Bible uses human language to describe God becoming a man. It doesn’t matter what language we’re talking about. See, the first person to recognize who Jesus was, was a baby, not just a baby; it was an infant in the womb. God sent a messenger before Jesus showed up on the scene and started doing his miracles and preaching. His message is God sent John the Baptist, his cousin, as a messenger. And when Mary, Jesus’s mother, was pregnant with Jesus, her relative, Elizabeth, was also pregnant with John the Baptist. And the Bible describes a moment when Mary and Elizabeth come together, and Elizabeth makes this bold declaration about the child Mary has in her womb. It’s John the baptist who’s already announcing how amazing this other baby is while he’s still in the womb.

Now, I’m going to challenge your mind. We all struggle over the years with how he can be 100% God and still be 100% man. Several months ago, I did a couple of episodes on this and the heresies that have been taught for hundreds or thousands of years about whether or not Jesus could be all the way God and all the way man. There’s a phrase that the church recognizes Jesus’s deity and his humanity. It’s called the Hypostatic union. Hypostatic union means there is a connection between Jesus’s humanity and his deity. It’s a connection that is bigger than his divinity. It’s the thing that connects both of these at the same time, and what the church was teaching is that when he became man, he remained 100% God and that while he was hanging on that cross, he was still 100% man who felt pain and went through the suffering as you and I would do. And to drive this point home, I have a question for you.

A Challenge

I asked the question about the Hypostatic union, so you would answer this about how you view Jesus. Do you still view him as all-powerful but equally approachable because he was human, just like you? Would you think about that and answer that honestly to God? And I hope you have a great Christmas season as we celebrate the virgin birth, the incarnation of Hosanna, the one who comes on God’s behalf to rescue us from our sins.