Incarnation = Mission of Love

I was raised in a Christian family. I was taught such things as prayer, Bible reading, attending church, tithing, righteousness, etc. I have heard about Jesus and His sacrifice my entire life. Every December, we talk about the birth of Christ; how He came into this world with a mission that ultimately culminated in His death and resurrection. Usually, that second part is just glossed over so it can be saved for March/April when we talk about Easter.

The way I’ve heard the message usually has contained little excitement except around these holidays. I think the problem is familiarity with the subject. It is so easy to talk about Jesus’ birth and His death/resurrection. All my life, I have heard of these things as my pastors, my Sunday school teachers, my parents and my friends have all tried to influence an increase in my knowledge on these topics. However, increasing knowledge has to be in the heart more so than in the head. If you speak on these things based on what your heart knows, then it will affect you in some way. I’m not saying that every time someone mentions the birth of Christ that they break out into tears and start slobbering over everything. But Christ’s birth has got to have more meaning than the birth of your siblings, your nieces and nephews, your friends’ children, and even your own children. In order for this to happen, we have to understand, as much as humanly possible, the birth of God into a human being.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made… 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 1:1-3, 14 ESV).

We hear this big word being thrown around at Christmas time – incarnation. That word is not found in scripture, but exists to encapsulate this idea about God taking on humanity in the form of a baby.

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” (Gal. 4:4-7 ESV).

This verse tells us that Christ had a mission: to save us and to make us sons (and daughters) of God. During His lifetime on earth, He gave us a mission: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34 ESV). He said it again a couple of chapters later: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:12-13 ESV). It was important to Him that we love each other, but not just to love, but to do it in the same way that He loves us. Then He goes on to tell us that He will prove His love by dying for us. Christ died for us out of love.

He gives us the mission to love as He has loved. This does not mean that we are all to go out and die for each other, but it does mean that we should be willing to put our lives on the line, to be ready to die, out of the love that Christ has placed in each of us for the world. We don’t show our love for the world by watching them live a life apart from Jesus. What is the major obstacle to people sharing their faith? Fear. What are we afraid of? The likelihood that we will have to give up our lives because of our testimony is pretty low for the average person. I saw this clip of magician Penn Jillette talking about how someone gave him a Bible. He asks how much do you have to hate someone to believe that everlasting life is possible, and not tell them that. He is an atheist, but he still understands that sharing the message of Christ has to do with love.

This is the true message of the incarnation of Christ. The only reason that He came to earth was to live a life as a man, then to allow Himself to be tortured and killed, and to rise again on the third day. This is an awesome act of love that is easily overlooked in all the hubbub that Christmas has become. During this busy time, I think it would be wise for everyone to pause and consider why Christmas even exists in the first place – Christ was born. And why was He born, to die for our salvation.

Christian musician Michael Card wrote a song called “The Final Word” which really captures the meaning of the incarnation. I am including a video of the song as well as the lyrics. I hope and pray that all who read this blog would take to heart the purpose of Christ’s birth. I also pray that all would embrace the mission of love that He has laid out for each of us.

The Final Word by Michael Card

You and me we use so very many clumsy words.
The noise of what we often say is not worth being heard.
When the Father’s Wisdom wanted to communicate His love,
He spoke it in one final perfect Word.

He spoke the Incarnation and then so was born the Son.
His final word was Jesus, He needed no other one.
Spoke flesh and blood so He could bleed and make a way Divine.
And so was born the baby who would die to make it mine.

And so the Father’s fondest thought took on flesh and bone.
He spoke the living luminous Word, at once His will was done.
And so the transformation that in man had been unheard
Took place in God the Father as He spoke that final Word.

He spoke the Incarnation and then so was born the Son.
His final word was Jesus, He needed no other one.
Spoke flesh and blood so He could bleed and make a way Divine.
And so was born the baby who would die to make it mine.

And so the Light became alive
And manna became Man.
Eternity stepped into time
So we could understand.

He spoke the Incarnation and then so was born the Son.
His final word was Jesus, He needed no other one.
Spoke flesh and blood so He could bleed and make a way Divine.
And so was born the baby who would die to make it mine.

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