Emmanuel! (21)

I am suggesting, then, that the incarnational Christology of the New Testament had its roots not in philosophical speculation, and still less in the gratuitous imitation of supposedly similar ideas in other religions and cultures, but in Christian experience of Jesus, both in His earthly ministry and in His risen power, and that it was the natural translation of this experience into an attitude of worship which provided the seedbed for New Testament Christology. To fail to explore and account for this attitude of worship, as has much modern discussion of the origins of Christology, is to discard the real life situation of a warm and experience-centred devotion to Jesus in favour of a process of philosophical speculation which lacks an adequate starting-point in the life of the Christian church.

—R.T. France, “The Worship of Jesus: A Neglected Factor in Christological Debate?” in Christ the Lord: Studies in Christology Presented to Donald Guthrie, 33


Emmanuel! (18)

Leader: Let us now proclaim our faith with the saints of the ages:

All: We profess that God fulfilled the promise
that He had made to the early fathers
by the mouth of His holy prophets
when He sent his only and eternal Son into the world
at the time set by Him.
The Son took the “form of a servant”
and was made in the “likeness of man,”
truly assuming a real human nature,
with all its weaknesses, except for sin;
being conceived in the womb of the blessed virgin Mary
by the power of the Holy Spirit,
without male participation.
And He not only assumed human nature
as far as the body is concerned
but also a real human soul,
in order that He might be a real human being.
For since the soul had been lost as well as the body,
He had to assume them both to save them both together.
In this way He is truly our Immanuel—
that is: “God with us.”

Belgic Confession (1561), Article 18

Emmanuel! (17)

“For He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying,

‘I will tell of your name to My brethren;
in the midst of the congregation I will sing Your praise.'”  (Hebrews 2:11-12)

The writer uses some of the boldest incarnational language in the New Testament in order to define the identity of Jesus as the Son of the Father, but at the same time maintains a radical emphasis on His humanity. His reason for demonstrating the latter is to establish the right of Jesus to be the high priest or mediator of the New Covenant.  The role of the priest was to act on behalf of the people in relation to the holy presence of God. In order to represent the people, the priest had to be both one of the people and chosen by God to fulfil this role.  Jesus qualified on both grounds, as our brother (2.11) and as God’s Son (5.5).

Christopher Cocksworth, “The Cross, Our Worship and Our Living,” Atonement Today, 116

Emmanuel! (16)

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14)

God doesn’t need the incarnation any more than He needs the world. He would be the same infinitely joyful, infinitely lively and infinitely satisfied God if we had never existed and if Jesus had never been born.

God doesn’t need the incarnation, but the incarnation is not alien to God. God is boundlessly good, with a goodness that is infinite love. He is a ring of self-giving love from Father to Spirit to Son to Spirit to Father. Philanthropy—love for humans—comes naturally to the Triune God, the fitting expression of the goodness God is.

His Triune goodness is displayed in His willingness to become flesh and “mingle” with us (Nyssa). . . . Our good is to mingle with Him.

—Peter Leithart (blog post)

Emmanuel! (15)

The supreme mystery with which the gospel confronts us, [lies] in the Christmas message of Incarnation.

The really staggering Christian claim is that Jesus of Nazareth was God made man. . . determining human destiny, . . . and that He took humanity without loss of deity, so that Jesus of Nazareth was as truly and fully divine as He was human.

. . . . It is here, in the thing that happened at the first Christmas, that the profoundest and most unfathomable depths of the Christian revelation lie.

‘The Word became flesh’ (John 1:14); God became man; the divine Son became a Jew; the Almighty appeared on earth as a helpless human baby, unable to do more than lie and stare and wriggle and make noises, needing to be fed and changed and taught to talk like any other child.

. . . . The more you think about it, the more staggering it gets. Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as is this truth of the Incarnation.

—J.I. Packer, Knowing God, 53