Dwelling in God’s word: the mystery of the incarnation
The incarnation is one of the great mysteries of the Christian faith. A mystery is not something unknowable, but rather something infinitely knowable. A mystery always has more depth to discover and more wonder to dwell in.
I invite you to dwell deeper into the mystery of the incarnation, focusing on three aspects: Immanuel, God with us; the Word became flesh; and the Son of God.
Read Matthew 1:18–22. What does it mean to
you that Jesus is ‘Immanuel, God with us’?
Since Adam and Eve walked with God in the Garden of Eden, humans have longed for God to be with us, and for us to be with God, living in intimate fellowship with our creator. Yet we can never achieve this ourselves. This yearning is captured beautifully in the Advent hymn ‘O Come, O Come, Emmanuel’. God has to come down to us, to our level, to be with us. The mystery of the incarnation that Jesus is Immanuel, means that God is with us even in the midst of suffering and darkness. There is no human experience from which God’s presence is excluded.
Spend some time dwelling with ‘Immanuel – God with us’.
Is there a part of your life into which you’d like to invite
him? You might like to pray, ‘O Come, O Come, Immanuel,
into (this experience)’.
Read John 1:1–5, and 1:14.
How do you react as you contemplate this mystery?
The creator of all things was formed in a human body. The creator entered his creation as a creature. The eternal second person of the Trinity, the Word, took on flesh and made his dwelling among us.
It is in the human being, Jesus, that we truly see the ‘grace and truth’ of God. It is in the Word made flesh that we most clearly hear God’s voice. It is in this man, Jesus, that we see the glory of the One and Only. Matter matters to God. Our creator takes the world so seriously that he becomes a part of it in order to save it!
Spend some time dwelling with ‘the Word who became
flesh’. What response does this mystery draw you into?
You might like to pray, ‘Word made flesh, what are you
wanting to say to me?’
Read Luke 1:26–38. The angel Gabriel gives a number
of names to the one who will be Jesus. He says,
‘The holy one to be born will be called the Son of God’.
Have you ever marvelled at the mystery of a child within
a mother’s womb? When holding an infant, what feelings
came over you?
Mary receives the wonder of the developing baby in her womb. She feels the Son of God kick and move inside her body.
The Son of God enters into the world through the womb of an unwed teenage mother. He comes in weakness and vulnerability, utterly dependent on his mother through pregnancy, birth and beyond for nurture, life and sustenance.
In the mystery of the incarnation, God makes himself completely vulnerable, completely dependent. God comes to us not in power but in weakness, not in grandeur but in humility. God opens himself up to being rejected – by us.
Spend time dwelling with ‘the Son of God’. Have there
been times in your life when you have said ‘no’ to the
Son of God? You might like to pray, ‘Son of God, I receive
and welcome you. Enter again into my heart, especially in
those places I may have said “no” to you in the past’.
Pastor Nathan Hedt is the LCANZ’s Pastor for New and Renewing Churches.