John 1:1; 1Tim. 3:16
Our prayer and goal in this lesson is that we may understand and appreciate Christ’s marvelous condescension in His coming into the world as a man that He might die in our stead.
Key verses: Gen. 3:15; Deut. 18:15; Is. 7:14; Is. 9:6-7; John 1:14.
The Promise: The pre-existent Lord Jesus Christ, God the Son Eternal, the second person of the Blessed Holy Trinity became flesh, took upon Himself a human body, and dwelt among men, finally giving Himself as a sacrifice for sinners. This we believe by faith. This is a divine mystery as we read in 1Tim. 3:16; also “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:15). This is the fountainhead of the promise of the incarnation of Christ. Satan, of course, thought he had won the victory at Calvary.
We are not left in the dark as to the meaning of “the seed of the woman” (Is. 7:14). The name “Immanuel” is very significant. It means “God with us.” It suggests the uniting of two planes of life - God and humanity. Is. 9:6-7 foretold the Child born to humanity who was in reality “the Son given.” No child of mere human beings could bear such titles as were given the seed of the woman.
The Annunciation: The angel of the Lord (Gabriel) who appeared to the virgin Mary and to her espoused husband Joseph, announced the coming of this long awaited Messiah of the Jewish nation (Matt. 1:20-23; Luke 1:26-35). The angel also announced the birth of John the Baptist, the forerunner for the Saviour. Soon light is to break out unto a darkened world who have been waiting these many long centuries for the fulfillment of God’s promises (John 1:4-9). Reading on down in John 1:9-12, we see the marvelous revelation that we can be sons of God.
The Fu1lfillment: No wonder angels shouted for joy when God clothed Himself with humanity (Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 2:8-14). The Redeemer of mankind was the Seed of the woman. He is the ultimate destroyer of Satan. The O.T. sacrifices and worship system is to be all completed through this babe in the manger (Gal. 4:4-5; Jn.l:14).
The Adoration: Wise men came from the east to worship the new-born King of the Jews (Matt. 2:1-6; Luke 2:l-20). It is the wise man who seeks Jesus (Luke 19:10; John 12:21). Every magician among the Orientals knew of the prophecy of the Messiah from Gen. 9:26 (a Shemite) and if they had access to Genesis 49, of course they knew He would be Jewish and would be marked by a star (Gen. 49:10; Num. 24:17). Notice, they come to worship “Him” they do not come to worship Mary. The common people in Bible times had much more information available than modern scholars do, since the majority of them believed and read the scriptures as though they were revelations from God (Mark 12:12,37).
Herod the king demanded of the Jewish leaders where Christ (Christos - a king) was to be born that he might also go and worship him (Matt. 2:4,7,8,16). Herod expects the Jewish scriptures to be able to accurately foretell the future, and is so convinced they can, that he is willing to murder on the accuracy of that information. Herod had more faith in the scriptures than most of the Jews.
The Importance of the Virgin Birth in the Incarnation:
The lord shall give you a sign, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive” (Is. 7:l4). Because of Ahaz’s unbelief, God gives him a sign, that in the virgin birth would come the Messiah - Immanuel - God manifest in the flesh. The promise is then to the house of David of the greater Son of David, whose birth would be a miracle of Divine power. God would secure the establishment of His covenant with the house of David, by raising up a child in whom the Divine should actually commingle with the human; and that this child should be the offspring of some unknown virgin of the race of David.
The essential feature of a given sign is not the fact that a virgin conceives, but that Messiah is Immanuel. That the unchangeable communion of God with His people is actually made apparent in the midst of impending judgments (Mic. 5:1-2). This was to strengthen the hope of the faithful in Judah in this hour of fear and danger.
He was to be “Immanuel” - God with us - the Son of a virgin, pure and sinless from His birth, knowing to choose good and refuse evil. Christ would be both God and man – Immanuel. Not only the Son of Adam, but the Son of God; at once David’s Son and David’s lord; the Son of Mary, and the Son of the Highest. Isaiah prepared the faithful for this mysterious parentage by his grand prophecy of the birth of the virgin’s son, Immanuel. All the confluent streams of grace and truth met and merged in Him, the end of the law, the goal of the grand march of Messianic prophecy, the revelation of the mystery of the ages, the denouement of the Divine redemptive plan, “the brightness of God’s glory and the express image of His person” (Heb.l:l-5).
In a nutshell - Jesus Christ is God. His divinity is not an acquired decoration of His human soul in His mature years. The Godhead of Jesus is not a metaphor, it is a great and solemn fact, the confession of which is for us Christians no lifeless formula or dead dogma. It is a living, intense conviction, resting at once upon the authority of the Bible and upon conscience. Deny the Godhead of Jesus, and you forfeit the essence of Christianity (1John 2:22-23).
This is denied by the followers of Islam and other eastern religions. The Muslim claims to worship the same God as we – Jehovah, Allah, the God of Abraham. But they deny that Jesus is who He says He is. They say he was a great prophet, but Mohammed was a greater prophet. I say to you, if Jesus is not who He says He is, he not only is not a prophet, He is the greatest fraud and biggest liar this world has ever known. Why, we date everything from His birth. No one dates anything from Mohammed’s birth, do they?
The Lord of heaven and earth blended our nature with His own; the manhood into God. He shared not only our state, but our nature and essence; He took from us a human nature that He might give us a divine. And this mystery of the God and man is a mystery everlasting. This blessed union is incapable of dissolution. Jesus’ humanity passed through the various stages of growth like any other member of the human race. He was recognized as a Jew (Jn. 4:9; I Tim. 2:5). By His incarnation, Jesus Christ came into possession of a real, human, physical nature consisting of spirit, soul and body, which gave to Him a true humanity (Matt. 26:12,38; Luke 23:
46; Heb. 4:15). Jesus Christ was subject to the ordinary physical limitations of human nature, such as hunger, thirst, weariness, pain and death (Jn. 4:6; Matt. 21:18; Jn. 19:28; Luke 22:44; 1Cor. 15:3). Jesus took on our nature that He might identify with all our troubles, trials, and temptations.
Our human nature became the tabernacle of God, that He might dwell with men, and make them His people, and be their God. It was an incarnation in which the heart of God reached the most distant part of His spiritual creation - a descent in which infinite greatness takes the deepest form of condescension, and the tenderest form of compassion.
The incarnation teaches us, as nothing else conceivably can, The essential dignity of our human nature. For the chief distinction of this human nature and the supreme evidence of its soaring dignity is that - it is capable of the divine. God can come into it, take it up into His own nature, dwell in it. The incarnation teaches us the truth of a new headship for our fallen race, by which the fallen may be lifted even unto the eternal glory.