The glory of the incarnation

The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.” John 4:19-26

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me. Psalm 139:7-10

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. – Exodus 20:4-6

 not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. – John 6:46

To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. – 1 Timothy 1:17

 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. – 1 Timothy 6:16

Horizons by Phil Koch

Recognizing the fact that the Triune God is eternal, invisible, spirit and that the eternal Son of God, voluntarily became a man (assuming a finite, visible, fleshly existence) and will forever retain his humanity in its resurrected, glorified state, makes the love of God for us even more glorious in our understanding. (The mystery is that, at the same time he has a body, the Son is eternal, invisible, infinite, spirit.)

God is spirit. Therefore we cannot create anything to represent him and worship it in his stead. That is the reasoning behind the commandment not to have any carved image. God further gives his reasoning; he is a jealous God. You see, any attempt on our part to create a representation of him only diminishes his glory as the eternal, infinite, invisible, spirit that he is. Awesome!

God did provide some visible representations at times; the burning bush that was never consumed, the pillar of fire and pillar of smoke, the Angel of the Lord, and some non-descript manifestation of his “hinder parts” he showed to Moses. None of these were a full view of God. The clearest visible representation of God we will ever have is Jesus. We are, I am afraid, hopelessly linked to the physical world and shall ever need a way of envisioning God. The one acceptable way of doing that is to look on the face of Jesus as revealed in Scripture.

The better I understand God, his character, and his attributes as well as his actions, the more passionate my worship becomes and the more intimate our fellowship becomes.

I hope this short devotional will encourage you at this Christmas season to reflect on just how full of grace and love the coming of Jesus Christ really is. He has come to us and will forever carry the consequences of loving us by having a glorified fleshly body forever.