At the core of Christian faith is an outrageous claim. God, in the person of his Son, came to dwell on the earth as a human being. The Creator of all things, the one whom “the heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain,” came in the flesh as a human being. He came as the man, Jesus of Nazareth. He was conceived in the womb of a young woman, a virgin. As any human child, He was born, grew, lived, and died!
The apostle John wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:1-3, 14).
Similarly the apostle Paul wrote of Jesus, “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:6-8).
In his book, God Came Near, Max Lucado vividly captures the mystery and the awe of the coming of the Son of God in the flesh. “The omnipotent, in one instant, made himself breakable. He who had been spirit became pierceable. He who was larger than the universe became an embryo. And he who sustains the world with a word chose to be dependent upon the nourishment of a young girl. God as a fetus. Holiness sleeping in a womb. The creator of life being created.”1
One writer expressed his struggle with the outrageousness of the claim of Christianity. “The virgin birth has never been a major stumbling block in my struggle with Christianity; it’s far less mind-boggling than the Power of all Creation stooping so low as to become one of us.”2
C. S. Lewis calls the incarnation, God coming in the flesh, Jesus, Immanuel, God with us, the grand miracle. “The Christian story is precisely the story of one grand miracle, the Christian assertion being that what is beyond all space and time, what is uncreated, eternal, came into nature, into human nature, descended into His own universe, and rose again, bringing nature up with Him.”3
Christians place their faith in this one grand miracle, in this outrageous claim. “The Power of all Creation stooping so low as to become one of us.” Immanuel—God with us.
1 Max Lucado, God Came Near (Portland, OR: Multnomah Press, 1987), 25.
2 ChristianityTodayLIbrary.com, 12/4/2000.
3 C. S. Lewis, “The Grand Miracle” in God in the Dock (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970, 1997), 80.