The Indispensable Truth of the Incarnation

A key essential to the Christian faith is that Jesus is fully God and fully Man. It’s where the Transcendent Eternal God becomes a human.

So much of the debate in the early church revolved around who exactly Jesus Christ was. In fact, the Church took many efforts to ensure that Christ’s nature was fully codified and defined in the Nicene Creed to combat the heresy Arianism. Every week when attending the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we read the explicit and fully spelled out doctrine of the Incarnation.

So amazing!

Also, the Council of Chalcedon played a huge role in defining the correct Christology. Truly, the hypostatic union is one that transcends beyond reason, but yet not fully unattainable for us not to apprehend.

The fact that Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity, became human is an interesting point of history. We read so many affirmations about his deity that it is hard to deny how in fact Jesus is fully 100% divine. Even without the gospel of John, we can go to Matthew and see that Jesus speaks of unity and oneness with the Father (Matthew 11:27).

Moreover, God calls Jesus his “Son” ( Matt 3:17) which clearly shows how consubstantial and begotten he is. Also, Jesus referred to himself as “Son of Man” which is a loaded title of divinity! This “Son of Man” is clearly a title from the Book of Daniel for the powerful King with a dominion that all peoples, nations, and languages would serve (Daniel 7:13-14).

His name “Jesus Christ” isn’t a first and last name, but instead a title that indicates far more. Jesus is the Hebrew translation of Joshua which means “Yahweh Saves.” Christ is the Greek term for “anointed” which is similar to the Hebrew word Messiah. Therefore his name is indicative of his role in the Bible.

Just as the military leader Joshua in the Old Testament led the nation of Israel to the Promised Land, he is an antitype of Jesus Christ. The New Testament Joshua would usher in his faithful into a greater Promised Land that wouldn’t be subjected to invasion or captivity but instead can’t be destroyed.

In Matthew, we read that the Virgin Birth would be the way by which the Incarnation would come in order to fulfill the words of Isaiah, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means God with us). (Matt 1:13).”

Although Jesus’ name isn’t Immanuel, it represents a way people would refer to Him or the title was given to Him. Even Jesus makes this point clear about the symbolism behind his name when he stated, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father (John 14:9).”

In John 1, we read, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (14).” Interestingly, this language of “dwelling among us” is very similar to the tabernacle in Old Covenant. In brief, the tabernacle was a sacred tent and principal place of worship where God would meet Israel and dwell among His people. The Hebrew word for the tabernacle (Mishkan) is translated as “dwelling place.”

In Exodus 40, after Moses erected the tabernacle and fulfilled the commands from God, the Lord’s glory cast down upon it guiding Israel in the form of a cloud. Whenever the cloud was above the tabernacle, Israel would travel, but if it wasn’t they would stay put.

Therefore putting God at the center of a stubborn nation so they might not ever doubt the presence of God. Similarly, Jesus Christ having “fullness of deity (Col 2:9)” was very present to Israel and gentiles on earth 2000 years ago to show grace and truth. Just as in the tabernacle God glory was shown for his people, Jesus Christ’s glory was “beheld” by many ( Jn 1:14).

The Incarnation is a foundational belief as a Christian. We can ponder and contemplate on the supernatural and really marvelous miracle this was. Just think about it:

The true God became man leaving behind his honor and glory to dwell upon our dirty streets.

God had his Son born in a manger to show how in touch he is with poverty and humility. Jesus, the God-Man, was tempted with the same temptations we suffer, but he didn’t give into sin.

Jesus knew what terrorism and chaos were like as he clung to our Blessed Mother Mary and St. Joseph as they escaped the slaughter of the Holy Innocents. Furthermore, he grew up in a time of political control of the Roman government.

Yet through all of this, he was fully God!

What a sublime mystery this was.