Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory. 1 Timothy 3:16 (ESV)
Even though angels of God proclaimed his birth, Immanuel (God with us) did not enter this earth in a royal fashion. Placed is a meager manger in a stable in Bethlehem of Judea, the birth of the Savior of the world could not have been more inconspicuous. The prophet Isaiah spoke of this child hundreds of years earlier and revealed his name would be Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
Names such as Immanuel, Mighty God and Everlasting Father leave no doubt that God himself put on human flesh and came as the Son of God. And they called his name Jesus (Luke 2:21). Paul wrote, Who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:6-11 ESV)
When Paul made the statement “He was manifested in the flesh,” he was giving much more than a hint that the incarnate Christ was pre-existent with the Father. Paul concurred with the apostle John who wrote, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with 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 1:1-2, 14 ESV) Peter wrote that Jesus was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times (1 Peter 1:20). And the writer of Hebrews describes Jesus as the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature (Hebrews 1:3).
Jesus bore witness of his pre-existence with the Father when he prayed, And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. (John 17:5 ESV) Not only that, but Jesus did, in fact, claim to be God incarnate. He stated to the religious leaders of his day, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58). Responding to his disciple Philip, Jesus said, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). And again to the Jews he said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).
The door of the gospel scheme is hinged on God the Father becoming flesh in the form of the Son. Without the incarnation there is no gospel, no good news. The Son of God became flesh to take away sins and to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:5, 8). The Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world (1 John 4:14). Whoever believes on him will not parish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
Have you received and believed on the incarnate Son of God?
Scriptures for meditation:
1 John 1:1-3