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The Incarnation is for ever and not just for Christmas - Hebrews 2:5-18

This is a sermon by Melvin Tinker from the Riverside Church service on 3rd January 2021.

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An audio-only recording is also available

The Incarnation is for ever and not just for Christmas

Hebrews 2:5-18

  • The high wire balancing act of the Christian and the incarnation – when God became man without ceasing to be God. Stress his humanity at the expense of his divinity and he becomes less than God (‘Jesus my boyfriend’); stress his divinity at the expense of his humanity and he becomes less than human (an Untouchable).
  • The bifocal vision of the writer to the Hebrews: Jesus is fully divine: 1:3; Jesus is fully human: 2:17.

God’s perfect nature, joined to man’s perfect nature in the perfect person we know as Jesus.

Jesus is still human – the Incarnation is for ever and not just for Christmas! 2:9

Because Jesus is fully human he can fully understand us. Because he is fully God he can fully help us: 2:17-18

  • Because Jesus is fully human he can fully understand us

God knows all things. The difference between knowing about something and knowing something experientially e.g. fatherhood. Now God knows what it is like to be human ‘from the inside’ 4:15

This is why he is a perfect high priest – he was also the sacrificial victim as well as the sacrificing priest!

Jesus in heaven still has the ability to remember and so can remember what it is like to live on earth and so able to sympathise with us. He is merciful to us when we come to him and his feelings towards us are human feelings. We needn’t worry that if we sin he will reject us. Jesus doesn’t hold back from us one ounce of his love because of our sin just as he didn’t hold back one drop of blood because of our sin.

  • Because Jesus is fully God he can fully help us – ‘he is able to help those being tested.’

His humanity doesn’t limit him because he is also divine. He has divine immensity – his ‘Godness’ is fully everywhere at everytime and so is able to ‘project himself’ into our time – he can be present with us as God and feel for us as a human.

  • Because of Christmas and the incarnation, we can say, ‘Because he himself suffered when he was tested, he is able to help those who are tested.’

Questions for thought and discussion

  • How we think of Jesus will affect how we worship God. What happens if we think too lowly of Jesus as God and too highly of him as a human? Also, what happens if we downplay his humanity?
  • Someone described Jesus as ‘the human face of God’ – what difference does it make to your spiritual life knowing Jesus fully understands you for he has been where you have been and come through it?
  • If Jesus still feels for you with human feelings and is merciful, what are we to do when we sin?
  • How does the truth of the incarnation mark out Christianity’s view of God as being different from say that of a Muslim?

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