“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on a level with a man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” – C.S. Lewis
I have always loved the above quote by C.S. Lewis. I love it because I think it shows the importance of the incarnation of Jesus in a way that you cannot deny it. When you look at the gospels, you either walk away believing Jesus really was the Son of God, or he was just crazy. C.S. Lewis argues that he was not just a great human teacher, he was not a prophet; he was, and is, the Son of God in human flesh. If we believe that as being true, then we have no other option but to bow down and worship him as our God and Savior. However, you cannot get to this point without thinking through the truth of the incarnation and what it actually means.
John 1:14 says, “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.”
In the very first verse of the book of John, we see John describing Jesus as the eternal, incarnate Word, being fully God, while also fully human at the same time. When he says in verse 14 that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”, he is saying that in Jesus coming and dwelling among man on Earth, we have seen the glory of God. Furthermore, the glory of God revealed in Jesus did not consume us in our overwhelming sin, but rather was “full of grace and truth”. God was gracious to us through his Son in that Jesus was able to die for us on the cross there by giving us abundant grace. This is by far the most amazing event in all of history: the eternal and all holy God taking on human flesh to live among us as fully God and fully man in one person, Jesus of Nazareth. In this historical act is where the foundation of our hope lies.
In the book of Titus we see the importance of the incarnation even more. Titus 2:11, 13 says, “For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men . . . awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”
In these two verses, we see that we have hope first because we know God appeared in human flesh for the salvation of all people, and second because we are eagerly awaiting when Christ will come again in all glory. Because of the incarnation of Jesus Christ in being born as fully God and fully man, and dying for us on the cross, we can wait eagerly for Christ’s return, “our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”
The incarnation was not an event that happened but no longer affects us now. Rather, Jesus’ birth as fully God and fully man still affects us today. It is because of the incarnation that Jesus was able to die on the cross and save us from our sins, and it is because “the Word became flesh” that we can hope in God’s eternal kingdom and eagerly await the day that Christ will return in all glory.