Sabbath, January 17, 2009
“Jesus, heaven’s great Commander, left the royal courts to come to a world seared and marred by the curse. He took upon Himself our nature, that with His human arm He might encircle the race, while with His divine arm He grasps Omnipotence, and thus links finite man to the infinite God. Our Redeemer came to the world to show how man should live in order to secure immortal life. Our heavenly Father made an infinite sacrifice in giving His Son to die for fallen man. The price paid for our redemption should give us exalted views of what we may become through Christ.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 563.
INCARNATION OF THE WORD
1. What great change took place in the person of the Word when He came into this world?
John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
1 John 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
“The doctrine of the incarnation of Christ in human flesh is a mystery, ‘even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations’ (Col. 1:26). It is the great and profound mystery of godliness. ‘ The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us’ (John 1:14). Christ took upon Himself human nature, a nature inferior to His heavenly nature. Nothing so shows the wonderful condescension of God as this. He ‘so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son’ (John 3:16). John presents this wonderful subject with such simplicity that all may grasp the ideas set forth, and be enlightened.” –Selected Messages, Book 1, pp. 246, 247.
2. What position did the glorious Word take when He came to earth as a human being?
Philippians 2:7, 8 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
“The One appointed in the counsels of heaven came to the earth as an instructor. He was no less a being than the Creator of the world, the Son of the Infinite God. The rich benevolence of God gave Him to our world; and to meet the necessities of humanity, He took on Him human nature. To the astonishment of the heavenly host, He walked this earth as the Eternal Word. Fully prepared, He left the royal courts to come to a world marred and polluted with sin. Mysteriously He allied Himself to human nature. ‘ The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.’ God’s excess of goodness, benevolence, and love was a surprise to the world, of grace which could be realized, but not told.” –Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 400.
THE TIME OF HIS INCARNATION
3. According to prophecy, when was His incarnation to occur?
Daniel 9:25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
“The Saviour’s coming was foretold in Eden. When Adam and Eve first heard the promise, they looked for its speedy fulfilment. They joyfully welcomed their first-born son, hoping that he might be the Deliverer…. From the days of Enoch the promise was repeated through patriarchs and prophets, keeping alive the hope of His appearing, and yet He came not. The prophecy of Daniel revealed the time of His advent, but not all rightly interpreted the message.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 31.
4. How was the prophecy of the Messiah fulfilled?
Galatians 4:4 But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.
“But like the stars in the vast circuit of their appointed path, God’s purposes know no haste and no delay…. So in heaven’s council the hour for the coming of Christ had been determined. When the great clock of time pointed to that hour, Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
“‘When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son.’ Providence had directed the movements of nations, and the tide of human impulse and influence, until the world was ripe for the coming of the Deliverer. The nations were united under one government. One language was widely spoken, and was everywhere recognized as the language of literature. From all lands the Jews of the dispersion gathered to Jerusalem to the annual feasts. As these returned to the places of their sojourn, they could spread throughout the world the tidings of the Messiah’s coming.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 32.
5. When the fulness of the time came, what amazing message was given to a young woman?
Luke 1:30-33 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
THE MISSION OF THE INCARNATE WORD
6. What was to be the great mission of the incarnate Word in this world?
Matthew 1:21, 23 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins… Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Luke 2:30-32 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation.
Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
“Before the foundations of the world were laid, Christ, the Only Begotten of God, pledged Himself to become the Redeemer of the human race, should Adam sin. Adam fell, and He who was partaker of the Father’s glory before the world was, laid aside His royal robe and kingly crown, and stepped down from His high authority to become a Babe in Bethlehem, that by passing over the ground where Adam stumbled and fell, He might redeem fallen human beings.” –Selected Messages, Book 1, p. 226.
7. How far did He go to save fallen human beings?
Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.
Hebrew 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.
“There are mysteries in the plan of redemption–the humiliation of the Son of God, that He might be found in fashion as a man, the wonderful love and condescension of the Father in yielding up His Son–that are to the heavenly angels subjects of continual amazement. The apostle Peter, speaking of the revelations given to the prophets of ‘the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow,’ says that these are things which ‘the angels desire to look into.’” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 702, 703.
“The incarnation of Christ was an act of self-sacrifice; His life was one of continual self-denial. The highest glory of the love of God to man was manifested in the sacrifice of His only-begotten Son, who was the express image of His person. This is the great mystery of godliness. It is the privilege and the duty of every professed follower of Christ to have the mind of Christ. Without self-denial and cross bearing we cannot be His disciples.” –Selected Messages, Book 2, p. 185.