“The Miracle of Immanuel”
The Rev. Lou Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)
The dictionary defines a miracle as a supernatural event. Our lives rest upon the genuineness of the miracle of Immanuel, the Incarnation. The Incarnation means God in the flesh. December 25th is not simply a holiday. We celebrate the historic fact of God’s miracle of the Incarnation. We are merry because we know that the One who came and dwelt among us, Jesus, did what Adam failed to do. We know that Jesus, the God-Man gave His life as a ransom for many so that those whom the Father gave Him would be delivered from the bondage of sin.
The Prophet Isaiah said, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14 God’s promise was fulfilled in 4 B.C. with the birth of Jesus. Matthew wrote, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God with us).” Matthew 1:23
The Incarnation was so important that God spoke through His prophets throughout the Old Testament declaring the absolute necessity of the God – Man. It is a miracle that we simply cannot adequately understand, but we receive this absolute truth because God said it. Our hope of eternal life is real because the miracle of Jesus’ birth was real.
The Apostle Paul took the opportunity of rivalry and disunity in the church to declare both the explicit and implicit meaning of the Incarnation. “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11 (ESV)
First, the Incarnation is the ultimate definition of humility. God, the Creator of all, condescended to lower Himself and take upon Himself human nature. God came to earth as a man. All the while, He remained divine. He voluntarily set aside His glory. No analogy is adequate to describe Jesus’ humiliation in the Incarnation and His crucifixion.
Further, Paul wrote that Jesus was born of woman, born under the law to redeem those who were under the law, Galatians 4:4. Jesus was fully man, but a man without sin! Jesus was born without sin because He was born out of the natural course. He was miraculously born of Mary who conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Because Jesus perfectly obeyed God the Father even unto death upon a cross, those who are in Christ are accepted by God because of Jesus’ blood and righteousness. Apart from Jesus’ Incarnation we would never be able to have a relationship with God. The Incarnation led to the satisfaction of the Law’s demands! Because of His perfect sacrifice the sins of His people have been paid for.
Second, Paul wrote of Jesus’ exaltation. Because of His perfect obedience to His Father, even to death on a cross, God gave Him the name that is above every name. That name is Lord. The Father gave Jesus to be the Master of all that exists. Jesus said “All authority in heaven and on earth” was given to Him, Matthew 28:18.
In summation, Paul wrote of God’s purpose in the Incarnation. Everything about the Incarnation is for the glory of God, the Father! The entirety of God’s plan of redemption is for His glory!
The Incarnation also has an implicit affect. The implication of the Incarnation, God with us is that those who are in Christ are joint heirs of heaven with Him. All those who are in Christ will receive exalted and glorified bodies like Jesus. God has promised that His people will see Him face to face. The miracle of Immanuel is God’s provision that insures redemption for every believer.
May this Christmas Season remind you of God’s great provision in sending His only Son!