At this time of the year, it is only fitting that we touch once again on the Incarnation. Pastor David Kowalick has rightly noted that the scar on Jesus’ stomach is as significant as the scars on His hand, feet and His side. If we take into consideration both the Incarnation and the Resurrection have the same profound significance we can develop a clearer understanding of the atoning work of Jesus Christ as including His whole life. If the gospel is truncated into the Passion event, then the atoning work loses its context and significance.
The world was created out of nothing making creation entirely dependant on the Creator but at the same time it has a distinct existence in itself and must not be confused with God. There is a certain element of freedom God has given to the created order. As we investigate and explore creation, it can inform a great deal about God to us if we allow what we investigate to disclose to us and inform us of its secrets. With the Incarnation, we have sense of understanding the world after the fact of God entering into our world and has become the reference point for all the ways and works of God. Jesus Christ is the one through whom all things were made creating the whole universe out of nothing. Yet, the Creator now becomes the Creature as one of His creatures brought into our existence through one of His creatures. He joins Himself to our existence and allows what He creates to continue with its processes. Creation is in a posture of resistance to her Creator and the Creator allows the whole of creation to continue in this posture.
The descendants of God is the hidden activity of God through our history. In the incarnation, our history becomes His history. Then the history of God is laid out in the Person and work of Jesus Christ where we have gradual disclosure of Himself throughout His life. It is sin and death of human nature that conceals who God really is in Himself. He took on everything that we are in our broken, dark depravity and thereby hid Himself behind this darkness in order to sanctify and heal our existence into a way of being consistent with God. He became what we are in order that we become what we ought to be.
In His ministry, there is a gradual unveiling of who Jesus is where He often made Himself explicitly clear in the claims about Himself. The confusion by many around Him, including His very own disciples showed there was still a hiddenness that became complete at the crucifixion. His whole life involved humiliation and exaltation as well as veiling and unveiling in an ever so careful and progressive manner. Jesus became so hidden at the depth of humiliation on the Cross and His burial. The true nature of Jesus Christ was unveiled in the resurrection. The true nature of His coming and what it means to us is explosively brought to the attention of His followers revealing the whole Passion event in a totally different and unanticipated light.
In the Resurrection it is clear that redemption and creation are tied together. The focus of creation is now centred in Jesus Christ. The plan from the beginning is God with us. When humanity fell the plan was still God with us. God’s response to humanity’s resistance to His plan is an outright No!. That is No to our self destruction. The resurrection is the answer to His No with a Yes in Jesus Christ. Without the No the Yes does not mean anything. The Yes is only good if it is a response to the bad state affairs that God was not going to allow to continue to have its way. So God says No to the self destruction of creation and will not allow it to have its way.
The Resurrection reveals who Jesus Christ is in Himself. The event is a God event showing something remarkable about God. This is not some god who tries to put things right at a distance so as not to get His hands dirty. This is God who encounters humanity as a human being wallowing in the muck and filth of our fallen and depraved humanity. This is God the Creator who places Himself under our condemnation facing our trials and tribulations driving Himself deep within our beings. When God is with us, He really is with us inside and out. At every stage of human existence, God has a firm grip on humanity. As He is driven into death, in Jesus Christ, God never lets go. Jesus Christ rises from the dead and is still with us forever more. The point of reference for the way things are do not lie in the sin and darkness of our history. The reference is Jesus Christ who is the new human being for all human beings in a whole new and created order giving meaning and fulfilment to everything visible and invisible.
In the resurrected Jesus Christ we have the new world order where all things have been put right. His whole life then is the means through which God has undertaken to bring this to an eternal reality ever present to us. God has engaged and encountered humanity by this means which says so much about who God is. It is an event that supersedes creation in its splendour and is the core message of the gospel. That is God enters into creation to bring about reconciliation by operating within it making Himself part and parcel of it. In doing so, all creation is now brought into the fellowship of the Father Son and Spirit.
The Resurrected Jesus Christ give us a window into who God really is in Himself. This is God who lives the Human life and has been brought into our existence through the miraculous event of the Incarnation. He comes into the world through human birth, that is the Virgin Birth. The whole life of Christ is a miraculous event and when we encounter Him as the Resurrected One, we encounter God as the Word made flesh who eternally dwells among us. Amen.