What Jesus’ Incarnation Means for Us

Baby Jesus (610x351)Being Brought into the Old Covenant

Genesis 17:9-14:

God also said to Abraham, “As for you, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations are to keep my covenant…. Every male among you is to be circumcised…. On the eighth day after birth, every male in every generation must be circumcised… If any male is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that man will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”

  • How does a male being circumcised point to Jesus, as the Messiah, shedding His blood?


The Old Covenant Points to Christ: Sacrifices

God mandated animal sacrifices (Leviticus 16). But these offerings did not, in themselves, remove sin. “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4).

The Passover lamb was sacrificed so its blood would mark the Israelites’ houses, sparing them from the last and worst plague of death (Exodus 12:23). God only revealed the true significance of that in His Son: “Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed” (1 Corinthians 5:7).

  • If animals died to point forward to THE sacrifice for sin, what did that say about who or what would have to be that sacrifice?


“Look, the Lamb of God [Jesus], who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)

  • For such a sacrifice to take way the “sin of the world,” what did that mean about the power that had to be contained in that sacrifice?


  • What, then, are the implications as to whom that sacrifice would have to be?


The Old Covenant Points to Christ: The Spoken Word

God not only used sacrifices to point His people to THE sacrifice for sin, He also used the spoken Word.

“In many and various way God spoke to His people of old through the prophets, but now in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son” (Hebrews 1:1-2).

To have power to do anything, sacrifices in the Old Covenant had to be connected, and embodied, to THE Sacrifice for sin, Jesus. In the same way, for the spoken word of the prophets to have any power to do anything, those words had to become connected, and embodied, to THE Word, Jesus.

That’s why Scripture also describes Jesus as “the Word.” “And the word [Jesus] became flesh” (John 1:14).


Jesus’ Incarnation Made Salvation Possible

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. The Word became flesh and tabernacled among us” (John 1:1-14). John used “tabernacle” as a verb, also showing us that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Tabernacle/Temple and the place of God’s presence. Where you get Jesus, you also get God.

  • What was Jesus from the beginning? What did He become?


  • As “flesh,” as man, what could Jesus do?


  • As “God,” what would that mean when He died?


Colossians 2:9: “In Christ, all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.”

  • Is Jesus fully God and fully human?


  • What would have happened if Jesus was only a man when He died on the cross?


  • What would have happened if Jesus was not fully man but only had the outward appearance of a man when He died?


Jesus Fulfilled the Old, Making It Obsolete

In the Old Covenant, on the Day of Atonement, the high priest sacrificed a bull on the altar and carried its blood into the Lord’s presence in the Holy of Holies. This, too, pointed to Jesus.

Hebrews 8 points out that the risen Jesus entered the Holy of Holies in heaven and presented His sacrificial blood to His Father in heaven. Because of that, God the Father pronounces you forgiven. That also means that “when God speaks of a New Covenant, he makes the first obsolete” (Hebrews 8:13).

But this salvation that Jesus earned still has to be delivered to His people in the New Covenant (like it had to be delivered to God’s people in the Old).


Bring Brought into the New Covenant

Colossians 2:11-13:

You were also circumcised by him [God]. This wasn’t a circumcision performed by human hands, but by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism… When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ.


Comparision Between Circumcision and Baptism


Jesus Delivers His Salvation in His New Covenant: The Spoken Word

The spoken word of Christ is not simply information. It became incarnate in Jesus and then is delivered to His people in their hearing.

Hebrews 4:4-13:

God rested on the seventh day from all his works…. Therefore, it remains for some to enter it [God’s rest]… Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God… therefore let us strive to enter that rest… For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight.

  • Who or what is the “Word of God” in this passage?


  • Yet, how does He, the “Word of God” who can “discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart,” come to His people?


  • What is the purpose of the “Word of God” coming to His people in their “hearing”?


  • If Jesus were not the “Word of God,” then what would hearing the word do?


Romans 10:17: “So then, faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”


Jesus Delivers His Salvation in His New Covenant: His Supper

Luke 22:20: “This cup is the New Covenant…”

  • How does Jesus refer to His Supper?


  • If we are His New-Covenant people, and His Supper is the New Covenant, what does that mean about the role of the “New Covenant” for God’s New-Covenant people?


Old-Covenant Sacrifices Fulfilled by the Lord's Supper


“This is my body… This is my blood” (Jesus’ words of institution).

For Jesus’ death on the cross to be salvific (salvation-causing), Jesus, as both God and man, had to sacrifice Himself.

  • As a man He could die. But if He were only a man, being sinless, He would have only saved Himself.
  • If Jesus only had the appearance of a man (Gnostic heresy), that would not have saved us either. For our salvation also involves saving our physical bodies, which required the physical matter of Jesus’ body to be part of that sacrifice.
  • As God, His sacrifice could pay for the sins of all people.

The incarnation of Christ, being fully God and fully man, make His Supper salvific, fully bread and wine and fully body and blood. Because God joined to physical matter (in Jesus’ incarnation) to earn our salvation, He joins Himself to physical matter (water and bread and wine) to deliver His salvation to us. (This also shows us how God used men—prophets in the Old Covenant, pastors in the New—to speak His Word for salvation.)

1 Corinthians 10:16: “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a communion of the blood of Christ? Is not the bread that we break, a communion of the body of Christ?”

  • Discuss the implications of the Lord’s Supper for:
    • Transubstantion (bread and wine aren’t there, only their appearances)
    • Representation (body and blood aren’t there; the bread and wine represent Jesus’ body and blood)

Without Christ becoming incarnate as both God and man, salvation would not be earned for us or delivered to us!


Old-Covenant Type, New-Covenant Fulfillment