Theme: Jesus, God in the Flesh
Two things about Jesus defy explanation. One is that Jesus of Nazareth, son of Joseph and Mary, a carpenter by trade was in reality God in the flesh. The other is that God would take on human flesh and live as a man. Both Jesus’ deity and His humanity challenges us.
As is the case any time we attempt to grasp God, it is the finite trying to comprehend the infinite, the mortal mind wrestling with the eternal and the feeble wishing to embrace the almighty. The reality of God stretches far beyond all of our capacities for knowledge and comprehension.
What we do know and what we can grasp is what it means to be human. What we are is what God became in Jesus. The importance and implications of this great truth reach to the very heart of God’s love for us.
Readings and Introductory Comments:
Hebrews 1:1-3; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1:16
The fact of Jesus’ deity is nowhere any more clearly and definitively demonstrated than in His role as creator. Just as we observed last week in our consideration of God as creator showing His power and majesty, it only follows that such is no less true for Jesus as the creative agent.
Isaiah 7:14; 9:6-7
The Old Testament is filled with prophecies of the coming Messiah. The number has been placed in excess of 300 such prophecies. One feature of the Gospel accounts—and particularly Matthew’s—is that Jesus is the one who has fulfilled these prophecies. In particular, though, is that this prophesied one would be called “Immanuel,” that is, God with us.
Luke 1:1-2:38; Matthew 1:18-2:23
To think that God would become man and live among us is incredible to ponder. Such is an event of immense magnitude. The means by which God chose for this to transpire are startling. A young virgin would bear the child. He would be born into poverty and need and far away from humanities focus and attention. Obscurity, not notoriety, marked God’s arrival on earth in human form.
John 1:1-5, 14-18
Jesus, whom John calls “the Word,” was present when time began and is Himself God. He is the one through whom God created and is the source of light and life. Remarkably, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Literally, He “tabernacled” with us. He “took up residence among us” (NET); He “moved into the neighborhood” (MSG).
From man’s perspective, baby Jesus was born in a manger in Bethlehem. From heaven’s perspective, Christ Jesus did not retain His equal standing with God but divested Himself of whatever necessary in order to take on human form and live as a man. And of course, it doesn’t stop there.
Matthew 16:13-20; Mark 1:24; Matthew 8:29, Mark 15:39; Matthew 3:17; 17:5
The Gospel accounts are filled with incidents of recognition and confession of Jesus’ identity. The most famous of these is that of Peter (Matthew 16:16). Even demon’s could not but acknowledge who He was (Mark 1:24; Matt. 8:29) and the compelling testimony of the Roman soldier at His crucifixion is powerful (Mark 15:39). God even audibly speaks on two occasions to this important point (Matt. 3:17; 17:5),
1 Peter 1:18-21; Hebrews 9:11-14; 4:14-16; Romans 8:34; 1 John 2:1
Of course, Jesus as God in the flesh meant He was (is) able to fulfill the purposes for which He came; to be the perfect sacrifice for sin, to be our merciful High Priest, and serve as the advocate and intercessor for man before God.
1 John 4:2; 2 John 7
The truth that Jesus was indeed God in the flesh is a fundamental spiritual breaking point. That is, accepting or rejecting that fact carries very weighty implications.
1) Hebrews 1:1-3; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1:16
- From whom are all things and through whom are all things? (1 Cor. 8:6) What’s the distinction?
- Speaking of Jesus, all things are said to be created _______him, ________ him and ________him (Col. 1:16).
2) Isaiah 7:14; 9:6-7
- Who would be with child and bear a son?
- Why was the virgin birth necessary?
- Besides Immanuel, what else will this prophesied one be called?
3) Luke 1:1-2:38; Matthew 1:18-2:23
- What did the angel tell Mary her son would be called? (Lk. 1:32)
- How did Elizabeth refer to her cousin Mary when she visited? (Lk. 1:43)
- Whom did the angels announce had been born in Bethlehem? (Lk. 2:11)
- Whom was Simeon promised he would see before he died? (Lk. 2:26)
- What did the wise men call the one whom they sought? (Matt. 2:2)
4) John 1:1-5, 14-18
- John 1 calls Jesus “the Word.” Genesis 1 tells us God spoke creation into existence (Gen. 1:3). What is the connection?
- What is the significance of Jesus being called “the Word?”
- Of what was the Word full?
5) Philippians 2:5-11
- What did Jesus have to do in order to become a man?
- What did Jesus do beyond being “born in the likeness of man?”
6) Matthew 16:13-20; Mark 1:24; Mark 1:24; Matthew 8:29, Mark 15:39; Matthew 3:17; 17:5
- How did Peter come to know Jesus true identity? (Matt. 16:17)
- Consider James 2:19 in light of the confession of demons to Jesus’ identity
- What is the significance of the Roman soldier’s confession? (Mark 15:39)
7) 1 Peter 1:18-21; Hebrews 9:11-14; 4:14-16; Romans 8:34; 1 John 2:1
- What is the connection between Jesus’ identity and our salvation? (1 Pet. 1:18-21)
- How does Jesus’ becoming a man effect His role as High Priest? (Heb. 4:14-16)
- Consider Job 9:33 in light of Jesus role as our intercessor and advocate.
8) 1 John 4:2; 2 John 7
- What is one who confesses that Jesus was God in the flesh?
- What is one who does not?
- If you were in charge of arranging for the introduction into the world of the most important human being ever to live, what might that introduction be like? To whom should it be made known?
- Here’s one I continue to ponder: God cannot be tempted with sin (Jas. 1:13) and yet Jesus, God in the flesh, was tempted in every respect as are we (Heb. 4:15). How are these both true?
- Jesus was not “Jesus” until so named by Joseph and Mary, as per the angel’s instruction (Lk. 1:31). He was present in the beginning, was God’s agent of creation, was present during Israel’s wilderness wandering (1 Cor. 10:4). He presently resides at God’s right hand and will be returning to collect His own to deliver over to God for eternity.
- When God made all things everything about it was very good (Gen. 1:31). When God came in the flesh to live among His creation, it was unwilling to receive Him (John 3:19). Think about this; the world God made was so made to allow for Satan to work and influence humanity against his creator.
“By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is come from God” (1 John 4:2; ESV)
Devotional Writing Links:
Jesus and Me (CLICK HERE)
He Emptied Himself (CLICK HERE)