Yesterday, we had the distinct privilege to gather with our church family on Christmas. As we gathered for worship, it wasn’t just any Lord’s Day, it was the day set aside on the calendar each year to remember the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. I preached from John 1:1-18 and the focus of the sermon was the incarnation of Jesus.
Not only did the eternal Logos become a man, Christ also dwelt among His own people. What a unique truth to behold in John’s Gospel. In a masterful way, moved by the Spirit of God to communicate with precise doctrinal clarity, John the apostle connects the dots from the Tabernacle of the Old Testament to the incarnation of the New Testament. When we consider the fact that God became a man, taking upon Himself human flesh, He not only did that in reality, but He dwelt among His very own creation.
Just as it was profoundly wonderful for the radiant glory of God to descend upon the tent-temple of the Old Testament tabernacle, in a far greater weight of glory was the arrival of God in the flesh of Jesus. What a miracle to behold. Wayne Grudem writes:
It is by far the most amazing miracle in the whole Bible – far more amazing than the resurrection and more amazing than the creation of the universe. The fact that the infinite, omnipotent, eternal Son of God could become man and join Himself to a human nature forever, so that infinite God became one person with finite man, will remain for eternity the most profound miracle and the most profound mystery in all the universe. 
The text explains that Jesus “dwelt” among us. The word translated dwelt comes from the Greek word σκηνόω, meaning, “To pitch a tent or to tabernacle.” When we pause to think about the fact that Jesus, the highest King of human history, was not born in a palace or behind the walls of a massive castle as royal babies typically are, but he instead was born in a stable for animals—it’s overwhelming. Jesus, the Son of the living God, became a man and lived among His very own creation in a cruel sin-cursed world.
This was the purpose of the incarnation, Emmanuel—God with us. As God, Jesus would minister in a way that no other human could possibly do. Jesus would come to seek and save the lost, and to fulfill what the angel spoke to Joseph in Matthew 1:21. Jesus was born to die. Through His death, God and sinners would be reconciled, as Charles Wesley so eloquently described it in his hymn, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.
God became a man, yet He didn’t cease to be God. He was God when He was conceived in Mary’s womb, He was God when they laid Him in the stable, He was God when He preached His first sermon, He was God when they nailed Him to the cross. He was man, yet God at the same time, and after being brutally killed on the cross, He was raised from the dead proving His divinity.
What is the incarnation? It’s when God became a man. Why did He become a man? He came to save His people from their sins. Have you been rescued from your sin? Have you been saved? God motivated Caesar Augustus to make a decree regarding the registration which forced Mary and Joseph to travel 90 miles to Bethlehem so that she would give birth to Jesus in that particular city in order to fulfill the prophecy of Micah 5:2. Could it be that the same sovereign God has ordained that you come to understand what Christmas is all about this season, in order to save you from your sin?
Unlike the most holy place within the Tabernacle of the Old Testament that was sectioned off and unapproachable by every person, when God became a man He said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). Consider these words written by Charles Wesley:
Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
risen with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,
born that we no more may die,
born to raise us from the earth,
born to give us second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new born King!”
- Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 563.