Summary: This message examines God’s motivation for the incarnation.
Why would the Son of God want to become human? What would possess Him to leave His eternal home to enter this world plagued by pain and sorrow? Why would He give up the worship of angels to endure abuse at the hands of sinful man? Why did God become a man? Max Lucado in his book “God Came Near” wrote this, “God had come near. He came, not as a flash of light or as an unapproachable conqueror, but as one whose first cries were heard by a peasant girl and a sleepy carpenter. The hands that first held Him were unmanicured, calloused and dirty. No silk. No ivory. No hype. No party. No hoopla. Were it not for the shepherds, there would have been no reception. And were it not for a group of stargazers, there would have been no gifts. Angels watched as Mary changed God’s diaper. The universe watched with wonder as The Almighty learned to walk. Children played in the street with him. And had the Synagogue leader in Nazareth known who was listening to his sermons…Jesus may have had pimples. He may have been tone deaf. Perhaps the girl down the street had a crush on him or vice-versa. It could be that his knees were bony. One thing’s for sure: He was, while completely divine, completely human.” So why did God become a man? The answer will not be found in the first Christmas Story but in the pages of the Old Testament. In fact in the Garden of Eden God revealed His plan that would rescue mankind from the mess they had made. As we see that plan unfold, we will discover exactly why God became a man.
I. Understanding the mess we have gotten ourselves into. (Genesis 3)
A. Disobedience to God always has negative consequences.
1. Eve surrendered to the temptation. She partook of the forbidden fruit and thus committed the first act of human rebellion against God. Eve immediately gave the fruit to her husband, and he, offering no resistance, joined his mate in this act of disobedience.
2. While the complete consequences of the man and woman’s sin will be displayed throughout the book of Genesis and the book of world history, the first result is the distorted way in which they begin to look at themselves and each other.
3. The realization that they were naked now brought them shame and the desire to hide it. Suddenly the focus of the man and woman is on themselves and not on the task of working and guarding the garden.
4. The man and woman’s sin is discovered and punished. We discover that one of the effects of the Fall is the tendency to be so ashamed of our behavior that we seek to shift responsibility for it to others.
5. This refusal to accept the consequences only further worsens the broken relationship with the Lord which underlies the rest of the Bible’s story.
B. Even in the midst of judgment God gives a word of hope.
1. The net result of the sin and its punishment is the distortion of every relationship between the Lord God and His creation.
2. Since man was now accountable for his sin, and since he had chosen the path of disobedience, it would have been most disastrous for him to have access to that fruit which would have imparted to him imperishable physical life.
3. Genesis 3:15 has been called the Protevangelium, the first Gospel. This first Messianic prophecy comes in a most unlikely place—in the context of a curse upon the Serpent.
4. Adam was sent from the garden into the world until another Adam (Christ) should come and obtain the right to partake of that tree.
II. Man has always had a need for God’s deliverance. (Exodus 1-12)
A. Having moved to Egypt to escape a famine four-hundred years earlier, the Israelites find themselves in slavery.
1. Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died, but the Israelites were fruitful and multiplied greatly and became exceedingly numerous, so that the land was filled with them. Then a new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt. (Exodus 1:6-8—NIV)
2. As a result the Egyptians treated the Israelites ruthlessly as they placed taskmasters over them.
3. Mistreated and demoralized the Lord heard the Israelites’ cry and sent Moses and Aaron to set them free.
4. God sent a series of plagues to convince Pharaoh to let the Israelites go, although the plagues work momentarily Pharaoh quickly returns to his defiant self setting the stage for one final plague.
B. God’s ultimate lesson here is that complete deliverance requires the blood of an unblemished lamb.
1. Before he left the presence of Pharaoh for the last time, Moses described in graphic detail the tragedy that was about to take place in the land of Egypt. Yahweh declared that he himself would pass through the land. Every firstborn in the land would die, including the firstborn of animals and even the heir to the throne. .