The Incarnation

I do not believe that the incarnation of Jesus Christ is elsewhere more beautifully expressed than it is in the Carmen Christi, the ‘Christ Hymn’ found in Philippians 2:6-11.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

This is radical humiliation. The Lord of the universe, the Creator of the ends of the earth, became like a man. The Creator became like His creatures. The God who spoke the world into existence…”made himself nothing.” Nothing. God became nothing. This beckons to be addressed, to be heard, to be honored. Apathy, pluralism, agnosticism, etc. is crushed by this one truth – if God humiliated himself to become a man, you best believe that it was necessary and important.

But we do not grasp the magnitude of this humiliation. We do not feel the depth of Jesus’ servanthood. This is because we cannot fathom the utter holiness of God, and subsequently, we do not understand the ‘advantage’ that Jesus forsook. “Wait, wait, wait…Jesus, you left that, to become this?” Let us just pause and soak in that realization…

And now we have this flavor of awe in our hearts, and naturally another question floods our mind: “Why Lord Jesus? Why would you do such a thing?” Obviously given the extent of this humiliation, there must have been a deep and extensive purpose.

Jesus came for one reason, and that was to die (cf. John 12:27). He came for an hour of glory, which was found at the cross of Calvary. Jesus was sent to be born as a man so that he could die like a man. At this season of remembrance for Christ’s nativity, let us not separate Christ’s birth from Christ’s atoning death. So here are 50 reasons Jesus came to die:[1]

1. To Absorb the Wrath of God
2. To Please His Heavenly Father
3. To Learn Obedience and Be Perfected
4. To Achieve His Own Resurrection from the Dead
5. To Show the Wealth of God’s Love and Grace for Sinners
6. To Show His Own Love for Us
7. To Cancel the Legal Demands of the Law Against Us
8. To Become a Ransom for Many
9. For the Forgiveness of Our Sins
10. To Provide the Basis for Our Justification
11. To Complete the Obedience That Becomes Our Righteousness
12. To Take Away Our Condemnation
13. To Abolish Circumcision and All Rituals as the Basis of Salvation
14. To Bring Us to Faith and Keep Us Faithful
15. To Make Us Holy, Blameless, and Perfect
16. To Give Us a Clear Conscience
17. To Obtain for Us All Things That Are Good for Us
18. To Heal Us from Moral and Physical Sickness
19. To Give Eternal Life to All Who Believe on Him
20. To Deliver Us from the Present Evil Age
21. To Reconcile Us to God
22. To Bring Us to God
23. So That We Might Belong to Him
24. To Give Us Confident Access to the Holiest Place
25. To Become for Us the Place Where We Meet God
26. To Bring the Old Testament Priesthood to an End
27. To Become a Sympathetic and Helpful Priest
28. To Free Us from the Futility of Our Ancestry
29. To Free Us from the Slavery of Sin
30. That We Might Die to Sin and Live to Righteousness
31. So That We Would Die to the Law and 80
32. To Enable Us to Live for Christ and Not Ourselves
33. To Make His Cross the Ground of All Our Boasting
34. To Enable Us to Live by Faith in Him
35. To Give Marriage Its Deepest Meaning
36. To Create a People Passionate for Good Works
37. To Call Us to Follow His Example of Lowliness
38. To Create a Band of Crucified Followers
39. To Free Us from Bondage to the Fear of Death
40. So That We Would Be with Him Immediately After Death
41. To Secure Our Resurrection from the Dead
42. To Disarm the Rulers and Authorities
43. To Unleash the Power of God in the Gospel
44. To Destroy the Hostility Between Races
45. To Ransom People from Every Tribe and Language
46. To Gather All His Sheep from Around the World
47. To Rescue Us from Final Judgment
48. To Gain His Joy and Ours
49. So That He Would Be Crowned with Glory and Honor
50. To Show That the Worst Evil Is Meant by God for Good

This Christmas, let us meditate on the overwhelming grace and love extended to us from God, which is found in the sending of Jesus Christ to be born, die, and rise again from the dead. Let us respond with praise and thanksgiving, faith in Jesus’ lordship, and let us glory in why Jesus was born in a manger. May our Christmas be filled with the proclamation of the gospel and the glorification of God.

[1] These reasons were taken from John Piper’s “50 Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die.” You can download the book for free here.


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