John’s Gospel, Part Four
The Incarnate Word
John 1:1-5, 14-18
We looked this past week at the Scriptures’ testimony to Jesus identity as God the Son, the Eternal Word with the Father, the Creator who is Life and from whom comes all Life and Light. We turn now to the great mystery of the Incarnation, that is how the Word - God - becomes flesh and ‘pitched his tent’ among us so that we might behold his glory, the Invisible, Immortal God made visible by the One who is the ‘form’ of God eternally and becomes the ‘form of man’ (Philippians 2), making man immortal and raising him to become a partaker in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).
* Creedal Words: Nicene - “Who for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit, of the Virgin Mary, and was made man...”
I. Incarnation - Enfleshment
A. Not a disguise, or enveloping (Greek thought - gods disguised as mortals to seduce, rape, test, and lure humans into traps of various sorts).
B. Not mere identification with, but an Assumption of what is truly and fully human.
* This leads to God’s ‘taberbacle’ among us: Exodus 25ff, the place where he reveals his glory. This ‘glory’ was ‘with the Father’, is in Christ as his own, and is the disciple’s destiny (John 17).
* Flesh and the Material World - An emphatic ‘No!’ to Gnosticism
- The created world is good, made by God.
II. Fully God, Fully Man
A. We examined last week several passages pointing to the full deity of the Word, but must also confess with the Scriptures the full humanity of the Word made flesh.
B. Luke 2:52; 1 Corinthians 2:8; 15; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Philippians 2:5ff;Hebrews 2:14; 4:15; Matthew 24:36; 26:39; Luke 22:44; 24:39; Matthew 26:38; Acts 20:28; don’t forget the genealogies!
C. Birth of God the Son as Mary’s Son: Matthew 1:18, 23, 25; Luke 1-2
* He was begotten outside time from the Father without a mother, and he was begotten in time from his Mother, without a father.” - Met Kallistos
D. The Great Events: Incarnation, Baptism, Transfiguration, Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension
- Invasion, Announcement, Revelation, Warfare, Conquest, Enthronement
III. Against the Heresies: Affirming the Truth of the Hypostatic Union
A. The Various Heresies
1. Docetism - merely appeared to be human, but was not
2. Modalism - denying the Trinity and the humanity
3. Arianism - denying deity, trinity, and humanity
4. Eutychianism - denied the distinction in the natures and thus both!
5. Nestorianism - denied the union of the two natures; side by side existence, but no true union, thus denying capacity for communion and mediation.
6. Monophystism - denial of two natures; one nature and one person. But this too denied true Deity and true Humanity.
B. Witness of Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, Ephesus (concerning Mary as Theotokos, “God bearer”, “Mother of God”), and Chalcedon
* Please note handouts
* Totus in suis, Totus in nostris - “Jesus Christ is complete in what is his own, complete in what is ours.” - Pope Leo the Great
* homoousious, not homoiousious: Same substance with the Father not similar; it is also true that he is of the same substance with us, not ‘similar’!
C. In Summary
1. Jesus Christ is fully and completely God
2. Jesus Christ is fully and completely man.
3. Jesus Christ is not two persons, but one.
* “By assuming our humanity, Christ who is Son of God by nature has made us sons of God by grace.” - Met Kallistos
* “The unassumed is unhealed.” - St Gregory Nazianzus
A. There is no aspect of our humanity which is left outside the realm of redemption.
B. There is no aspect of the creation which is left outside the scope of redemption and has in measure already been glorified again.
C. Salvation is not simply reconciliation and justification, but participation.
D. Because he is fully human, Christ dies a fully human death; because he is fully human he receives a fully human resurrection and ascension. His story is our story; union with Christ is not metaphorical but covenantal and actual.
E. Communion of Attributes - whatever may be affirmed of the natures may be affirmed of the Person.
F. His Glorified body and blood may be consumed but never exhausted; his humanness remains truly human and is at the Father’s right hand; his divinity remains truly divine and he is with us everywhere.