Summary: Sometimes when someone surprises a person they haven't seen in a while they exclaim, "Wow, I can't believe it! Here you are, in the flesh." That's what happened that first Christmas. Let's look at the wonder of God coming down to us in the flesh.
IN THE FLESH
Sometimes when someone surprises a person they haven't seen in a while they exclaim, "Wow, I can't believe it! Here you are, in the flesh." They may have kept in contact in other ways but now they are standing right there in front of you. That's what happened that first Christmas. If that phrase existed then some people may have said, "Wow, I can't believe it. Here you are, in the flesh." Let's look at the wonder of God coming down to us in the flesh.
1) The exchange.
The days before Christmas are busy but the days after Christmas are busy too. That's when people head back to the stores to exchange their gifts for something they really want. Jesus made an exchange too. John 1:14, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
"The Word became flesh". In vs. one, it says that in the beginning was the Word and that the Word was with God and the Word was God. And here in vs. 14 we see that the Word became flesh and lived among the human population. This shows that Jesus existed before becoming a human.
He is part of the triune God-Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Three separate persons but all equally God. When Jesus was praying in John 17 he asked the Father to restore him to the glory he had before the creation of the world. So Jesus made an exchange. He exchanged his glorified state and put on human flesh with human limitations and human frailties.
Phil. 2:6-8, “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!”
Jesus left heaven as the Creator and became among the created. He left as the Master of the universe to become a fragile baby. Heb. 2 says Jesus shared in our humanity and became like us in every way. When he exchanged his glory for humanity it showed that he was willing to experience human pain, he was willing to subject himself to physical limitations and deal with human emotions as well as struggle with human temptations. In this exchange Jesus allowed himself to become uncomfortable. He endured disgrace and humiliation. Why make this incredible exchange? Because he loves us and he wants us to be saved.
"Made his dwelling among us". It seems strange that Jesus would be willing to exchange the pristine glory of heaven for the ugliness of earth. Don’t get me wrong, Earth is a beautiful place but compared to heaven it must look like a dump. But that shows how much God wanted to be close to us and have a relationship with us.
In the temple, once a year, a Priest was chosen to represent the people and go into the Most Holy Place where God's presence was. For one day, God "dwelt among his people". But with the coming of Jesus, God dwelt among his people every day. And instead of only a select few having access to God, now anyone could be in the presence of God.
John 1:18, “No one has ever seen God, but God, the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.” Jesus, God’s one and only Son, came so that God would be made known to us. The untouchable God made himself a touchable person.
Col. 1:15 says that Jesus is the image of the invisible God. Now there wouldn’t be this obscure relationship with God. Now there would be the opportunity for people to have a tangible relationship with God in the person of Jesus. God so loved the world that he wanted there to be a closeness the world had not experienced since before the fall of Adam and Eve.
Adam and Eve walked with God. They had a personal relationship with him. All that was lost once sin entered in. Now, with Jesus here, people would once again be face to face with God and have a personal relationship with him. It wouldn’t be as perfect as Adam and Eve’s, but it would be intimate nonetheless.
People wouldn’t have to experience God from a distance but now it could be up close and personal; they could talk with him in person. Before, people had the word of God spoken through the Prophets. But now the Word became flesh and people could see and hear from him directly.
It’s like a pen pal. You spend years writing back and forth and then the time comes for you to be able to see each other face to face. He leaves where he was to come and be with you. It's exciting when you get to meet and spend time with the one you knew only through letters. Jesus left the glory of heaven to come be Immanuel-God with us. He made the ultimate exchange because he loved us and wanted a close, intimate relationship with us.