Immanuel (God With Us)
In Christ all the fullness of the deity lies in bodily form. (Colossians 2:9)
The reason we rejoice at Christmas is that the baby born to Mary and Joseph on the First Advent was no ordinary child. As Matthew records, this baby was the ultimate fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy of Immanuel – “God with us” (Matthew 1:22-23). The ultimate self-revelation of God to humankind, Jesus the Christ was and eternally is God incarnate (literally, “in flesh”).
Although John’s Gospel does not include a narrative of the birth and infancy of Jesus, the doctrine of the Incarnation is aptly summed up in his introduction: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God….And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1,14).
The clear testimony of Scripture is that, in the Incarnation, Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man; that is, He existed as the perfect unity in one person of a divine and a human nature. Paul eloquently express the profound truth of the Incarnation in his letter to the Philippians saying: “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who being in the very nature God, did not consider quality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in the appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:5-8).
As the God-Man, the spotless Lamb of God (John 1:29) lived a perfectly sinless human life and died a sinner’s death to sufficiently atone, once for all, for the sins of humanity (Romans 5:1-21, Hebrews 10:11-18). Without both natures, Christ’s payment would have been insufficient. As God, His sacrifice was sufficient to provide redemption for the sins of humankind. As man, He did what the first Adam failed to do. Paul says, “For just as through the disobedience of the one man, the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19). Or as Paul explained to the Corinthians, “As in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).
– a Christmas devotional by Hank Hanegraaf