Faithlife Sermons

The Beautiful Mystery of the Incarnation

Christmas  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  30:50
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This morning I want us to focus our minds on our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. In one of the most wonderful and glorious moments in history, and yet one of the most incomprehensible and mysterious moments in history, Jesus Christ, the Eternal Son, very God of very God, entered the world and became like one of us. We call this beautiful mystery the incarnation.
The word incarnation, comes from the Latin incarnatio, which means to embody in flesh. We use the word to refer to the enfleshment of God the Son- the act whereby the second person of the triune God was embodied permanently in human flesh and nature. The Eternal Son added to his divine nature and second and full human nature, yet untied into a single person, un-confused, un-changeable, indivisible, inseparable. This is a glorious truth that is incomprehensibly wonderful!
The New Testament has much to say about this beautiful mystery that is the incarnation:
John 1:14 ESV
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The NT itself lists the incarnation as one of the great mysteries of godliness:
1 Timothy 3:16 ESV
16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.
Other Descriptions:
He is the second man, the Lord from heaven
1 Corinthians 15:47 ESV
47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.
He came (to serve)
Matthew 20:28 ESV
28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
He came into the world
1 Timothy 1:15 ESV
15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.
He came down from heaven
John 6:51 (ESV)
51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven.
He descended from heaven
John 3:13 ESV
13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.
He was sent
John 3:17 ESV
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
He appeared
1 John 3:5 ESV
5 You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.
He emptied himself and took the form of a servant
Philippians 2:7 (ESV)
7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,
He became poor
2 Corinthians 8:9 ESV
9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.
He was made a little lower than the angels
Hebrews 2:9 ESV
9 But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
A body was prepared for him
Hebrews 10:5 ESV
5 Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me;
He was made of a woman
Galatians 4:4 ESV
4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,
He partook of flesh and blood
Hebrews 2:14 ESV
14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,
He was made of the seed of David according to the flesh
Romans 1:3 ESV
3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh
He was sent in the likeness of sinful flesh
Romans 8:3 ESV
3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,
He was made in the likeness of men
Philippians 2:7 ESV
7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
He was made like His brethren in all things
Hebrews 2:17 ESV
17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
It is of this wonderful glorious truth I want us to focus our attention on this morning! And specifically I want us to think about the beautiful mystery or the incomprehensible paradox that is the incarnation.

I. The beautiful mystery of pre-existence

John 1:1–2 ESV
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.
What beginning does John refer to? The beginning of creation- Jesus antedates creation itself. Yet, the text implies that you can pick any beginning you wish. Before the the beginning of anything you can imagine the Word already was. Jesus is very God of very God. He is pre-existent. He is eternal. He is Alpha- He has no beginning.
And yet, in a sense, had a beginning as a human baby. He entered our word and the infinite, pre-existent one, the eternal one, became one of us.
John 1:14 ESV
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
This wonderful mystery leads to astonishing verses in Scripture.
John 1:15 ESV
15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ”)
John 8:58 ESV
58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”
John 17:5 ESV
5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
That glorious babe that we worship in the manger is the pre-existent, eternal Son of God. How can that small child be both pre-existent God and babe wrapped in swaddling clothes? It is the glorious beautiful mystery of the Incarnation. And though our finite reason fails to fully comprehend it, its glory should burst forth in our hearts and cause our worship of our blessed Savior Jesus Christ!

II. The beautiful mystery of omnipotence

Jesus, the eternal Son, the very God of very God, the omnipotent one, the all powerful one, took upon himself in his flesh weakness?
Jesus the Omnipotent One!
Revelation 1:13–14 ESV
13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire,
Revelation 1:15–16 ESV
15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
And yet he was made like us!
Hebrews 2:14 ESV
14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,
That means Jesus the Almighty partook in weakness!
Matthew 4:1–2 ESV
1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
Luke 22:43 ESV
43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him.
Matthew 26:38–39 ESV
38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
Luke 22:43–44 ESV
43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
What a glorious paradox- He took upon himself weakness and yet remains Omnipotent!
Hebrews 1:3 ESV
3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
That glorious babe that we worship in the manger is the Omnipotent Son of God. How can that small child be both all powerful God and yet frail human babe wrapped in swaddling clothes? It is the glorious beautiful mystery of the Incarnation. And though our finite reason fails to fully comprehend it, its glory should burst forth in our hearts and cause our worship of our blessed Savior Jesus Christ!

III. The beautiful mystery of exaltation

Jesus, the eternal son of God, very God of very God, the pre-existent, almighty one, who dwells in the glories of heaven surrounded by exaltation and worship became a meek and lowly babe, born in a manger, born into a word that did not know him?
Jesus in his exaltation!
Isaiah 6:1–3 ESV
1 In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”
Revelation 5:11–12 ESV
11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”
Revelation 5:13–14 ESV
13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” 14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
Jesus in his humiliation!
Luke 2:4–5 ESV
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.
Luke 2:6–7 ESV
6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
John 1:10–11 ESV
10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.
Isaiah 53:2–3 (ESV)
2 he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
That glorious babe that we worship in the manger is the Exalted Son of God. How can that small child be both all exalted God and yet despised and rejected human babe wrapped in swaddling clothes? It is the glorious beautiful mystery of the Incarnation. And though our finite reason fails to fully comprehend it, its glory should burst forth in our hearts and cause our worship of our blessed Savior Jesus Christ!

IV. The beautiful mystery of holiness

Jesus Christ, the Eternal Son of God, very God of very God, the holy sinless one, yet he entered our world, experienced temptation and suffered for the sin of the world.
Hebrews 2:17–18 ESV
17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
Hebrews 4:15 ESV
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Isaiah 53:4–5 ESV
4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53:6 ESV
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
This is the cause of joy during our celebration of Christmas!
Luke 1:76–77 ESV
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, 77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins,
Luke 1:78–79 ESV
78 because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high 79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Luke 2:10–11 ESV
10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2:14 ESV
14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
The words of Simeon!
Luke 2:29–30 ESV
29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation
Luke 2:31–32 ESV
31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”
That glorious babe that we worship in the manger is the Holy Son of God. How can that small child be both all Holy God and yet the one on whom all iniquity was laid? It is the glorious beautiful mystery of the Incarnation. And though our finite reason fails to fully comprehend it, its glory should burst forth in our hearts and cause our worship of our blessed Savior Jesus Christ!
There are many many more beautiful mysteries of the incarnation!
Jesus the God-Man, remains incomprehensible yet the most comprehensive revelation of what God is like. He remains immutable yet experienced progression in his humanity. He remains everywhere yet dwelt among men in a unique way. He remains all knowing while willingly assuming limited knowledge. He remains sovereign yet gladly submitted to the will of the Father. He remains infinite, unlimited, immeasurable God yet somehow displayed that glory through human flesh!
Colossians 1:19–20 ESV
19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
Colossians 2:9–10 ESV
9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.
John 1:16 ESV
16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
Have you received the fullness of the God-man? Do you know the wonders of His grace in salvation? Can you right marvel and worship Jesus Christ, incarnate Eternal Son of God, very God of very God?
For those that know Him- for those who reflected on his beauty with me this morning. For those who rejoice anew at the the thought of the Son of God entering our world, bringing peace and joy to the earth. Let us adore him more and more! He is truly deserving of our awe and worship!
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