The Incarnation: for You and in You

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How are we to celebrate the Incarnation? How can we live out God's message of deliverance so that others can experience it?

The promise of Isaiah—both for an immediate situation in his time and for a future, permanent solution for humanity—was that a messiah figure would be born who was called Immanuel, “God with us.” Of course, anyone could tag that name onto any would-be prophet in any era of history, but does anyone fit it better than Yeshua of Nasrath, born in the city of David? And in light of Daniel’s prophecy of a ruler born during the Roman era who would transcend all other empires (Daniel 2:39-45), we have to believe Jesus is the one. “God with us” really was with us.

Unfortunately, we often interpret “God with us” as “God with me.” We make the Messiah exclusively personal. He is personal, of course, but he isn’t only personal. He came not only to deliver us from the futility of life but to deliver many others from futility too. His message is for us but never designed to stop with us. We have to extend it everywhere. 

How do we do that? The incarnation shows us. God clothed himself in human flesh to be “God with us,” and with the advent of his Spirit, calls us to do the same. “As the Father has sent me, so send I you,” he said to his followers (John 20:21). In other words, “I am sending you out in the same way—the same spirit, the same mission, the same power, the same purpose—that the Father sent me.” 

In that sense, we not only celebrate the incarnation. We become one. “God with us” becomes “God in us.” And we live the message of deliverance so others can experience it.

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