When Jesus was born, it was more than just a miracle, a cute baby, and an unusual location. Jesus’ birth, the incarnation, was a fashion statement that displayed the zenith of God’s power, love, and grace for all mankind. God dressed in human flesh and humanity would never be the same.
The last shirt you bought said something about you.
Maybe you wanted to display your professionalism, so you bought a business blouse or dress shirt. Perhaps you wanted to showcase your wacky side with a bold and funny statement t-shirt. Or maybe you got invited to an “Ugly Christmas Sweater” party and your only goal was to buy a sweater just a little wilder and uglier than your best friend’s.
Shirts Don’t Last
Shirts wear out. Trends fade away. The message you hope to convey about yourself with the clothes we wear changes. Even our beliefs and convictions about certain things expand or mature over time. So even if a shirt is still like new, it may have long lost its ability to express who you are.
But when God came to earth putting on the clothes and flesh of an infant child, the message he declared was indestructible, unchanging, and eternal.
The Incarnation – The Shirt God Wore
John 1:14 tells us 4 things about the “shirt” God put on when he was first wrapped in swaddling clothes and placed in the manger. It says, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
- First, “the Word” (God, the Son) became flesh. Like Paul says in Philippians 3, Jesus humbled himself to be made in human likeness (v. 7,8). That means he became one of us. That’s quite a statement! He loved us so much that he denied his own godhood and clothed himself in the shabby and vulnerable skin of a human.
- Second, he dwelt among us. What a cool thing for God to do! Ever since Eden, he’s been bridging the gap by getting closer and closer to us. In the garden, his Spirit walked with Adam and they had relationship. In the desert, he asked for a tent to be constructed so that he could travel with his people. In Jerusalem, he accepted a home built by hands so that man could come worship him. Yet, God still desired closer relationships with us. So when Jesus was born, his new humanity made it possible for us to see, touch, hear, and enjoy God’s beautiful presence. Not only was God wearing a “shirt” of humanity, he was close enough for us to see him face to face.
- Third, we could see his glory! Even though Jesus was the most unique man to have ever lived, there was nothing physically special about him. So how could we see his glory in the “shirt” he wore? Jesus’ glory was on display in the life he lived, the death he died, and the resurrection he demonstrated. Looking back on who he was and the impact he’s had on humanity since then, it’s plain that he was and is the most glorious man to have ever lived.
- Finally, he was full of grace and truth. They say it’s what’s on the inside that counts. You can wear a shirt that says one thing about yourself, but it means nothing if you go and do another. When God put on human skin, he wasn’t just hiding out in some fake disguise hoping to fool us into buying into his program. He was declaring the ultimate statement about himself, which is this: in Jesus we can find “grace” – receiving eternal rewards we clearly do not deserve – and “truth” – flawless knowledge about the God of the universe and his redeeming love for us. The baby in the manger, the miracle-maker in the streets, the sacrifice on the cross, and the risen savior all display God’s immeasurable grace and resounding truth.
Here at MinistryGear we want to join with you in celebrating the incarnation of our glorious savior. Whether you’re in kids, youth, adult, or some other ministry, we praise God for you and the work you’re doing to spread the word of the baby king born in the manger!
To celebrate, we’ve designed a special gift for you. It’s a poster image of John 1:14 for you to share with your family and friends this Christmas. Merry Christmas, and happy New Year!
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