The entire Bible is one sweeping movement towards God’s communion with mankind. From the beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation, God is literally moving heaven and earth to make space for such communion with us, culminating in his presence with us in Jesus Christ. And yet, this overarching theme of God dwelling with man is often lost to us as we read the individual stories and prophecies. How do prophecies made thousands of years before the time of Jesus find their fulfillment in him?
In the Gospel of Matthew we find the following lines from Isaiah’s prophecy applied to Jesus, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel which means, God with us.” Yet the context of that original passage appears to be about a child who was to be born during Isaiah’s own lifetime. The hosts use this example to discuss the fact that many Old Testament promises have an initial temporary fulfillment, along with an ultimate and eternal fulfillment in Jesus Christ. The hosts will address these questions and more as we continue our series on “The Incarnation” on the White Horse Inn.
“As John tells us, the Word became flesh and pitched his tent among us. There’s a clear line between the Creator and creature. This conviction lay at the heart of Israel’s confession. There is one God and then there’s everything else. Everything that he made, even angels, fall on the creature side of that absolute line. So, announcements such as these, especially within a Jewish context, couldn’t have been more provocative because of what had happened over the last three decades. The apostles who were as Peter puts it, eyewitnesses of his majesty, were convinced that everything the prophets had foretold was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. He’s not just a great man who became filled with the highest sense of nearness to God, he is God who came near to us.
“Of course, this is the ultimate basis for our confidence that God understands us, feels our pain and responds to our cries because God has descended to us. The second person of the Holy Trinity has become one of us, like us in all respects says Hebrews, yet without sin. But even more important than the fact that he understands us and mourns with us, is the fact that objectively in history, we have the union of God with our nature so that our suffering isn’t only understood, but conquered forever.”
Term to Learn
“Humanity of the God Man”
Q. 37 How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man? A. Christ the Son of God became man, by taking to himself a true body, and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the virgin Mary, of her substance, and born of her, yet without sin.
Q. 38 Why was it requisite that the mediator should be God? A. It was requisite that the mediator should be God, that he might sustain and keep the human nature from sinking under the infinite wrath of God, and the power of death; give worth and efficacy to his sufferings, obedience, and intercession; and to satisfy God’s justice, procure his favor, purchase a peculiar people, give his Spirit to them, conquer all their enemies, and bring them to everlasting salvation.
Q. 39 Why was it requisite that the mediator should be man? A. It was requisite that the mediator should be man, that he might advance our nature, perform obedience to the law, suffer and make intercession for us in our nature, have a fellow-feeling of our infirmities; that we might receive the adoption of sons, and have comfort and access with boldness unto the throne of grace.
Q. 40 Why was it requisite that the mediator should be God and man in one person? A. It was requisite that the mediator, who was to reconcile God and man, should himself be both God and man, and this in one person, that the proper works of each nature might be accepted of God for us, and relied on by us, as the works of the whole person.
(The Westminster Larger Catechism)