I have received a rather long article from an anonymous guest blogger which I will be posting in a series. Please take the time to read it and study it carefully. Feel free to print it and distribute it. I hope you enjoy this series.
The Incarnation of Jesus and the Body of Christ
What do the scriptures really teach about the Incarnation of Jesus? In the Church of God in Christ Mennonite, we are taught that Jesus did not receive his Humanity from Mary. Occasionally there is discussion about this, with most people saying, “Well, what does it really matter? It is not that important.” However, in recent times it has become obvious that to question this teaching can create repercussions in the church, to the point of excommunication for not being in unity with the doctrines of the church. This then becomes a very serious and important issue. In this article we want to explore the teaching from the historical understanding of this church and compare it with the Word of God.
To simply accept a teaching because it is what the forefathers taught should not be sufficient for the true believer. We need to diligently search the scriptures to see if these things are really so. There is enough said about the divinity and humanity of Christ in the bible to conclude that it is a matter of importance. I will quote a fair amount of scripture, and I urge the reader to carefully read each passage as you move through this article. If you skip the scriptures, you will miss the deep meaning. It is after all, the scriptures that speak.
Here is some food for thought; the incarnation of Christ (Jesus coming to earth in the flesh) is the single most important happening in all the history of the world!
A deeper understanding of the incarnation will bring us to a renewed vision of the work of Christ for all mankind, so much so that we will come to see our shallow and unregenerate hearts in a new light. This theme is so central to the gospel, that we could say until we see how Christ came in the flesh, we will not fully understand the gospel. I would beg the reader not to ostracize these thoughts at the outset, but please give them your serious and open-minded consideration. What I present here is written in human weakness and I acknowledge at best, a very imperfect understanding of these very deep and important truths!
John 1:1-24 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with god, and the Word was God. the same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the wold, and the wold was made by him,and the world knew him not. He came unto his own but his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 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.”
There are some simple, yet profound truths for us to consider in the above scripture. If we ponder these truths together with other clear scriptures, we will see the following points.
1) The Word is Jesus.
2) The Word was made flesh.
3) The Word is our light.
4) The Light shines on every person born.
5) God marks His temple and dwelling place with Light.
6) If we receive Him the Light indwells us and we become sons and daughters of God.
a. This makes us brothers and sister with each other and with Christ.
b. This makes us part of the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, the
Church of Christ, and the Kingdom of Christ by becoming part-
akers of the Divine Nature of Christ.
7) Jesus being made flesh is essential to our salvation. Our relationship with Him, and our relationships with each other are deeply embodied in the incarnation.
First, let’s look at the meaning of the word “incarnation.” The Free Dictionary has the following definition. (1) the doctrine that the Son of God was conceived in the womb of Mary and that Jesus is true God and true man. (2) A bodily manifestation of a supernatural being.
We all readily agree that Jesus is in fact the Son of God, sent down from heaven to live on earth in the form of a man. John 6:48-51 “I am that bread of life. 49. Your fathers did eat manna inn the wilderness and are dead. 50. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven , that a man may eat thereof, and not die. 51. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. JOhgn 6:54 “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up on the last day.” By taking on Himself the flesh and nature of the human race, Jesus opened the door for us to experience His divine nature.
The title that is characteristic of Jesus in the New Testament is Son of Man; it occurs some eighty times in the Gospels, and was His Own accustomed title for Himself. In 1 Timothy 2:5 we read “For as there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” Jesus was also the Son of God and was miraculously and supernaturally conceived in the womb of Mary by the power of the Holy Ghost. He was both fully man and fully God.
Jesus had a very human body. Luke 2439-43 “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; and handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. 40. And when he had thus spoke, he shewed them his hands and his feet. 41. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye have here any meat? 42. And they have him a piece of broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. 43. And he took it and did eat before them.”
He suffered the same human feelings and needs as we do. Matthew 21:18 “Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered.” Matthew 26:38 “Then said he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here and watch with me.” John 12:27 “Now is my soul troubled.” John 11:33 “When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.” John 11:35 “Jesus wept.”
Jesus was tempted and struggled with His flesh. 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.” Matthew 26:39 “And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Matthew 4:1 “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.” Hebrews 5:8 “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.”
What he went through in the Garden of Gesthsemane was similar, but really deeper and more profound, than what we go through in life when we get converted and at different times as we struggle with our flesh. Jesus had to give up His will, but knowing he needed to be obedient. HIs temptations were also very real, in All points like ours. We can simply take God’s Word at face value. A temptation by it’s very nature implies a desire to sin, or else it would not be a temptation. And if it were not possible for us to sin, ow then could we be tempted to sin? Temptation by its very nature implies the possibility of DOING!