The Word Became Flesh

If you are like me, then you probably have a manger scene somewhere in your home, complete with Jesus, Mary, Joseph, shepherds, and animals. As we peer into these manger scenes and see a depiction of Jesus as a baby, we are readily reminded of the full humanity of Jesus. Like us, he was born as a man and was dependent on His mother and earthly father for comfort and support. Yet, we must be reminded not only of the full humanity of Jesus but also the full Divinity of Jesus. In the opening chapter of his gospel account, John beautifully brings these two truths together:

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 have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1,14).
This is the great mystery and truth that we celebrate during this Advent season—that God Himself came in the Person of His Son! God the Son became flesh and dwelt among us as a man. God did not send an angel or some messenger on His behalf; rather, God the Son came to us. As the writer of Hebrews proclaims, God “in these last days has spoken to us by His Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world” (Hebrews 1:2). The very Creator of the world chose to be born, to dwell among us, to take our sin, to die for us, and to rise on our behalf. So, as we continue to celebrate during this Advent season, let us once again (or maybe for the first time) be grasped by the full humanity and Divinity of Jesus.

As a closing thought, I’ll leave you with the Nicene-Constantinople Creed of 381 and The Definition of Chalcedon of 451, two great documents that arose as the early church defended the truths we’ve been discussing. (Of particular relevance is this section of the creed: "Who for us men and for our salvation came down from Heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man.") Here are the documents in full:

Nicene- Constantinople Creed

I believe in One God,
the Father Almighty,
Maker of Heaven and Earth,
and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Son of God,
the Only-Begotten,
begotten of the Father before all ages;
Light of Light;
True God of True God;
begotten, not made;
of one essence with the Father,
by Whom all things were made;
Who for us men and for our salvation
came down from Heaven,
and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
And He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate,
and suffered, and was buried.
And the third day He arose again,
according to the Scriptures,
and ascended into Heaven,
and sits at the right hand of the Father;
and He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead;
Whose Kingdom shall have no end.

And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life,
Who proceeds from the Father;
Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified;
Who spoke by the prophets.

And in One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins.
I look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.

The Definition of Chalcedon

Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable soul and body; of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead, and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards his Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards his manhood begotten, for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin, the God-bearer; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ; even as the prophets from earliest times spoke of him, and our Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the creed of the fathers has handed down to us.

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