Indeed, the mystery of godliness is certainly great: He was revealed in the flesh, and vindicated in the spirit; he appeared to angels, and was announced to Gentiles; he was believed in the world, and taken up in glory.1 Timothy 3:16 NTFE
What is the paradox of the incarnation?
I wrote about how Jesus reveals the Living God in a previous post. Through the incarnation, the Invisible and Unknowable God became visible and knowable.
On Sunday, our youth pastor shared a quote by Augustine during the sermon, which highlighted the paradox of the incarnation. A paradox goes against intuition or challenges the common way of thinking. I am sharing that quote and a few thoughts for us to consider.
Augustine of Hippo said,
Man’s maker was made man,
That He, Ruler of the stars,
Might nurse at His mother’s breast;
That the Bread might hunger,
The Fountain thirst,
The Light sleep,
The Way be tired on its journey;
That the Truth might be accused of false witness,
The Teacher be beaten with whips,
The Foundation be suspended on wood;
That Strength might grow weak;
That the Healer might be wounded;
That Life might die.
Similarly, another author, source unknown, continues the thread …
…That the hungry may have bread,
The thirsty a fountain,
Those asleep, a light;
That the lost may find The Way,
The false may live in Truth,
The fools may astound the wise,
The worthless may find their worth;
The weak may be strong;
That the wounded may be healed;
That the dead may live again.
“But in reality, that particular moment was like none other. For through that segment of time a spectacular thing occurred. God became a man. While the creatures of earth walked unaware, Divinity arrived. Heaven opened herself and placed her most precious one in a human womb. 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. God was given eyebrows, elbows, two kidneys, and a spleen. He stretched against the walls and floated in the amniotic fluids of his mother. God had come near. … Once you have seen his face you will forever long to see it again.”― Max Lucado, God Came Near
Emphatically, I long to see Him face to face!
Considering the paradoxes of the incarnation and longing for God
Subsequently, seriously contemplating the paradoxes of the incarnation can deepen one’s sense of awe, humility, and appreciation for the divine, leading to a heightened desire for a meaningful and transformative connection with God.
- Firstly, contemplating how God, who is boundless, could enter the limitations of human existence can stir a longing to connect with the divine more personally.
- Similarly, pondering God becoming human can inspire humility, acknowledging the limits of human understanding and the vastness of the divine, creating a desire for a deeper connection with the divine.
- Thirdly, reflecting on our identification with human experience can create a longing for a God who shares in our condition.
- Additionally, the idea that God would choose to dwell among us and share in our humanity can evoke a longing for a closer, more personal relationship with Him.
- Significantly, when we contemplate the extent to which God went to showcase His love for us, it can inspire feelings of thankfulness and a strong urge to return that love. This can lead to a yearning for a deeper connection with the origin of love itself.
- Lastly, contemplating God becoming flesh for salvation can inspire a desire for reconciliation and spiritual renewal.
For God had allowed us to know the secret of his plan, and it is this: he purposes in his sovereign will that all human history shall be consummated in Christ, that everything that exists in Heaven or earth shall find its perfection and fulfillment in him.~ Ephesians 1:8-10 Phillips
During the Sunday service, we sang a hymn new to me. It also highlights the paradox of the Incarnation. Maybe you will also find it inspiring. It was published by Sovereign Grace Music and is entitled “How Low Was Our Redeemer Brought.”
Finally, my prayer today is that our love and longing for God will increase as we take time to consider the paradox of the incarnation and prepare our hearts for Advent.