He had to be made like his brothers in every way …
Because he himself suffered when he was tempted,
he is able to help those who are being tempted …
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but we have one who has been tempted in every way,
just as we are—yet was without sin.
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence,
so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 2:17-18; 4:15-16
The Word had become ﬂesh: a real human baby. He had not ceased to be God; He was no less God then than before; but He had begun to be man. He was not now God minus some elements of His deity, but God plus all that He had made His own by taking manhood to Himself. He who made man was now learning what it felt like to be man.
The mystery of the Incarnation is unfathomable. We cannot explain it; we can only formulate it. Perhaps it has never been formulated better than in the words of the Athanasian Creed. “Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man … perfect God, and perfect man … who although He be God and man: yet He is not two, but one Christ; one, not by conversion of the Godhead into ﬂesh: but by taking of the manhood into God.”
Our minds cannot get beyond this. What we see in the manger is, in Charles Wesley’s words,
Our God contracted to a span;
Incomprehensibly made man.
Incomprehensibly. We shall be wise to remember this, to shun speculation and contentedly to adore.
~J.L. Packer from Knowing God
Incomprehensible– yet we are given Words to understand in faith what took place.
Inconceivable– yet He was conceived and delivered, taking manhood to Himself.
Incarnate–yet every bit as much flesh as I am, knowing the struggle of my weakness.
Infinite– yet finite enough to be held in His mother’s arms.
Incredible–yet I believe.
Let earth and Heaven combine,
Angels and men agree,
To praise in songs divine
The incarnate Deity,
Our God contracted to a span,
Incomprehensibly made Man.
He laid His glory by,
He wrapped Him in our clay;
Unmarked by human eye,
The latent Godhead lay;
Infant of days He here became,
And bore the mild Immanuel’s Name.
See in that Infant’s face
The depths of deity,
And labor while ye gaze
To sound the mystery
In vain; ye angels gaze no more,
But fall, and silently adore.
Unsearchable the love
That hath the Savior brought;
The grace is far above
Of men or angels’ thought:
Suffice for us that God, we know,
Our God, is manifest below.
He deigns in flesh t’appear,
Widest extremes to join;
To bring our vileness near,
And make us all divine:
And we the life of God shall know,
For God is manifest below.
Made perfect first in love,
And sanctified by grace,
We shall from earth remove,
And see His glorious face:
His love shall then be fully showed,
And man shall all be lost in God.
1. Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour,
All for love’s sake becamest poor;
Thrones for a manger didst surrender,
Sapphire-paved courts for stable floor.
Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour,
All for love’s sake becomes poor.
2. Thou who art God beyond all praising,
All for love’s sake becamest man;
Stooping so low, but sinners raising
Heavenwards by thine eternal plan.
Thou who art God beyond all praising,
All for love’s sake becamest man.
3. Thou who art love beyond all telling,
Saviour and King, we worship thee.
Emmanuel, within us dwelling,
Make us what thou wouldst have us be.
Thou who art love beyond all telling,
Saviour and King, we worship thee.