The Why of the Incarnation

“When the Maker of time, the Word of the Father, was made Flesh, He gave us His birthday in time, and He, without Whose divine bidding no day runs its course, in His incarnation reserved one day for Himself. He Himself with the Father precedes all spans of time, but on this day, issuing from His mother, He stepped into the tide of years. Man’s Maker was made Man that He, the Ruler of the stars, might nurse at His mother’s breast, that the Bread might be hungry, that the Fountain thirst, the Light sleep, the Way be tired from the journey, that Truth be accused by false witnesses, that the Judge of the living and dead be judged by a mortal judge, that the Teacher be beaten with whips, the Vine crowned with thorns, the Foundation be suspended on wood, that Strength might be made weak, that the Healer be wounded, that Life might die” (St. Augustine).

Why did God take on human flesh in the form of Jesus?

If it’s to tell us that all we really need to do is try a little harder and be a little nicer to each other, He might as well have stayed in heaven.

If it’s to add to the many roads that lead to God, then again Jesus’ life was pointless and His death was a waste. On top of that, His own words prove He was either a liar or a lunatic.

If it’s to tell us that we’re all okay, then He needn’t have bothered. I think deep down we know that we’re not okay, that the world we live in is not okay, that we need someone other than ourselves to get us out of the mess we’re in.

Jesus didn’t come to make good people better or even bad people good– He came to make dead people alive. He came to seek and save the lost. He came to reconcile the estranged to God, to turn aliens and strangers to God’s promises into the very sons and daughters of God.

We do no one any good if we compromise the gospel message to the point that it offers no hope any longer. When we become so much like the world around us that we no longer have a distinct message, we might as well all go home and live however we like and forget about church.

The world around us doesn’t hate us because we’re too different from them, but oftentimes because we’re not different enough. They don’t need our appeasement or our compromises as much as they need the message of hope that rang out on that December morning all those hundreds of years ago.

God has come to us to dwell with us and be our God and we can be His people. As John 3:16 says, whoever believes in Him need not perish but have true and eternal life to the full.

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