The Incarnation of Christ (John 1:1-3)

The incarnation of God in the flesh, Jesus Christ, is strongly attested in the Scriptures. John, in the preface of his gospel account, makes it of crucial importance to recognize the eternal divinity of the Messianic figure, Jesus. This is not a mere addendum to the story of Jesus and his ministry; this is the genesis of all that He is and does. Jesus’ person as the logos was “in the beginning…with God… and was God” (John 1:1-2). There is no exegetical or syntactical footwork that can maneuver around the obvious meaning of John’s first sentence: Jesus was God and was with God at the beginning of history. This is a proclamation of Jesus’ divine subsistence in the Godhead, and is the foundational truth that must ground the rest of the gospel narrative portraying Jesus’ ministry.

Further, John continues, “all things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being” (John 1:3). The supremacy of Christ expressed in his work in creation is not secluded to John. Almost an identical phrase is used by Paul, “in him all things were created…all things have been created through him and for him” (Col. 1:16). Strict logic completes this equation. God is eternal, and the only one who existed before the creation of the world. In order for the creation of the world to be created “through” Jesus, then Jesus must have existed before the world. And since God was the only being to have existed before the world, Jesus’ subsistence in the Godhead naturally follows.

The incarnation then concerns the immutable God humbling Himself, coming in the likeness and form of man, fully dwelling in the person of Jesus Christ, within the limitations of space and time (Phil. 2:6-8; Col. 1:19; 2:9; Hebrews 2:14-15; 1 John 1:1-3; 4:2-3; etc.). This is radical, life-altering truth. An event of this magnitude beckons to be addressed. It is not simply a creedal statement to hang up on your wall and run to when life gets tough, a consolation for our consciences when we feel the weight of our guilt. No, this is the way in which we must see the whole history of the world, and submit ourselves therein. The God of the universe did not become a man, humble Himself beyond our comprehension, so that we could have a fanciful Christian country-club – “well they can believe what they believe.” An apathy directed towards the world’s apathy concerning the incarnation dishonors the infinite holines of God and His redemptive plan. Oh Lord, convict us and move mightly in our hearts!

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