Many people, even those in pews across the world, think the idea of the incarnation is ludicrous. How could Almighty God become flesh and blood? And even more absurd is the idea that Jesus could be fully God and fully human at the same time.
But the reality of the incarnation is not as ludicrous as some like to think. And the first chapter of Genesis provides us the reason why. As you read, notice how often the text tells us, “God said.”
Verses 1-2: “In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.”
On the first day: “Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.”
On the second day: “And God said, ‘Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.”
On the third day: “And God said, ‘Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.”
On the fourth day: “And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night . . . “
On the fifth day: “And God said, ‘Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.”
On the sixth day: “And God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.’ . . Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness.”
Orthodox Christians “understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.” (Hebrews 11:3) We understand God created everything in the universe, visible and invisible, by doing nothing more than simply SPEAKING them into existence.
To use the word ‘incredible’ to describe how God did all that by simply speaking it into existence – ‘incredible’ is a grossly impossible understatement. I mean, just think of it for a moment: All God needed to do to create everything that is seen and unseen was to simply speak it into existence.
So, since this One created the entire universe with a word, why is it so unthinkable that this same Creator became incarnate as Jesus – fully human and fully God – and lived for a time with us? Why should such truth seem so ludicrous? I mean, we’re talking about the omnipotent One to whom nothing is impossible.
But I think there is something even more incredible than God simply speaking creation into existence. There is something even more incredible than Almighty God being incarnate in Jesus, the second Person of the Trinity.
It’s this: This same God who CREATED humanity, permitted His creatures to spit on Him, punch Him with their fists, pull out His beard, and mercilessly whip Him until His back was a mass of shredded flesh. And then this omnipotent, All-Sovereign Creator and King of the universe permitted them to nail Him to a cross.
THAT is incredible!
And why did He let His creatures do that to Him? That is yet another incomprehensible truth. He did it because, as Scripture tells us again and again, because He loves you. And me. And it is not too far-fetched to believe He even saw your face, and mine, while He hung on that cross.
But some will wonder how that could be, that Jesus could love me, that He could see my face when I wasn’t even born yet?”
Those are reasonable questions. And they have a reasonable answer in that God created not only creation, but He created the very concept of time itself. Indeed, He CREATED time. He is therefore outside of time and not at all subject to its limitations.
That’s why the future is as clear and open to Him as is the past. And both are to Him the same as the present.
Scripture supports that point of view. For example, the Psalmist wrote in his 139th psalm: “Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.”
I hope you caught that. David recognized God knew all about his future before he was ever born. God saw him even at the end of his days when he turned the kingdom over to his son, Solomon.
And then there is this statement by God to Jeremiah: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)
God saw the end from the beginning of Jeremiah’s life, even as He created Jeremiah in the womb.
We could look at other Biblical texts that demonstrate God’s incomprehensible foreknowledge, such as His prophecy about King Josiah (1 Kings 13:2), or King Cyrus (Isaiah 44:28). But doing so would take us too far afield from the primary point of this message. Suffice it to say once again that from God’s omniscient point of view, the future is as clear to Him as the past. And both are as clear to Him as the present.
So why should it seem preposterous to think that when Jesus, the God-Man, hung on that cross, He STAYED on that cross because in His omniscient eyes He looked down through the millennia and loved YOU. He could see YOUR face. And mine.
He saw our hurts, and our heartbreaks, and our lostness. He stayed on that cross so He could, for all who call on Him, save us, heal us, nurture us, and embrace us. Right now. Today. Two thousand years after He saw our face as He hung there.
Incredible? Unimaginable? Unthinkable? There are no adjectives accurate enough to describe what God has done for you and for me.
All we can do – all we ought to do – is fall on our knees and thank Him.
And live for Him.