WHO IS JESUS THE MAN?
Man made religions are all about man trying to climb a so-called ladder up to God. Whether it’s Mormonism, Islam or Hinduism. They all do different works to justify themselves getting closer to God, like a mission trip or pray five times a day or fast. No matter how much they do it never seems to be enough. That’s because there is no redemption, they are always looking to atone for themselves by the works they do.
Because of the fall in the garden from the very beginning we are all guilty and deserve to be punished. When all human efforts fail to get us to go up the ladder to reach up to God, then a divine effort needs to succeed. God comes down the ladder to us. This is what the incarnation is all about.
Incarnation means — In the flesh. When Christians refer to the incarnation they are referring to God in the flesh. Look at the two chapters in John that shows who Jesus is.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.”
John 1:1-2 NIV
“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.”
John 1:14 NIV
Jesus always had a divine nature. He adds on a human nature during the incarnation. Jesus has two natures, a divine nature and a human nature all wrapped up into one person. 100% God and 100% man. He is God combined with humanity.
Why was the incarnation necessary? The incarnation happens so that Jesus can atone for our sins. It tells us this in Hebrews 2:17.
“For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.”
Hebrews 2:17 NIV
So how do we get rid of the guilt we all have? God offers a pardon to guilty people. Instead of us being punished, Jesus is punished in our place. The incarnation makes it possible for Jesus to pay for our sins. By becoming one person with two natures, Jesus is able to accomplish the work at the cross.
The incarnation makes the gospel possible. In Philippians 2:5-8 it shows us how the incarnation makes this possible.
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Philippians 2:5-11 NIV
Human efforts can’t save us. God came down the ladder to us as the Son. The incarnation made it possible for Jesus to save us and serve us. The incarnation provides a model for us to do the same, so that we can serve one another in the church.