The Power of the Incarnate

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As we welcome another New Year, we do so on the heels of a season commemorating the birth of Jesus. For the past few days I have been contemplating the power of the incarnate – God came to dwell in the flesh as a babe born in a manger. During a Christmas Eve service, my pastor used Moses as an example of one who demonstrated downwardly mobility. Born as an Israelite, but raised in the house of Pharaoh, he was provided the very best of everything – education, training, riches, power, and prestige. But as God would have it, through circumstances and calling, Moses fled Egypt where he encountered the Living God. God’s call on his life was to go back to Egypt, but no longer identifying with the house of Pharaoh, but rather, to identify with the Israelites, his people, who had been enslaved for over 400 years. Though reluctant, Moses did go, to which God used him to unfold one of the greatest recorded accounts we have of God miraculously saving His people from tumultuous times.

Thinking about Moses, I am moved by his willingness to forsake the only life he had only known to serve the great “I AM” and identify with the people of God, mere slaves who suffered terribly. I wonder, if I had been Moses, upon seeing the suffering of the Israelites and learning that I too was one of them, would I have been willing to stand on their behalf when it would cost me so much? Undoubtedly, we must admire the humility of Moses who was a faithful servant, but it is important to note that he pointed to a better promise to come – Jesus, who was “found worthy of greater honor than Moses” (Hebrews 3:3).

Jesus, a better Moses, the incarnate Son of God, who “became flesh and made His dwelling among us” (John 1:14). Though born as an infant just 2,000 years ago, Jesus has always been and is God as Hebrews teaches us:

“In the last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom also He made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word.” (Hebrews 1:1-3); and,

“For this reason He had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that He might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because He himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.” (Hebrews 2:17-18).

The power of the incarnate is that the One true God emptied Himself of heavenly rights to identify with us, a people made to bear His image and likeness, but terribly marred by our rebellion against Him. Enter Jesus. Fully divine, for all things were created through Him; yet fully human, born of the Virgin Mary. Through the sinless life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, He came to offer us life, joy, and salvation to make us one with Him again. The incarnate Lord suffered on our behalf. Why? To bring us back to God!

In reflecting upon these truths, I believe there are two appropriate responses for each of one of us. One, do not harden your heart to this gospel message, but receive it with gladness and joy! His desire for you and me is that we turn from our rebellious ways and look to Him, the author and perfecter of our faith. And two, that in a manner much like Moses, let us remove our worldly garments and take on our new identity as servants called to the One true God as we live downwardly mobile lives pointing to the One found worthy of greater honor, Jesus.

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