In The Flesh

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us,” John 1:14.  See also Philippians 2:5-11.

I suppose this is really a continuation of my post “The Third Genealogy,” where I focused on the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ.  I’ll not repeat what I said there, but encourage you to read it, especially if you haven’t read it before.

In the first place, the body of our Lord was a real body.  There have been some who have supposed that He was merely a phantom or apparition, that His body wasn’t real.  But it was as real as yours or mine.  Though He was truly God, He was also truly human.  His body developed in Mary’s womb just like any other.  His birth was like any other.

Really, it’s the virgin “conception,” not the virgin birth, though He was born of a virgin.  He grew and developed as a child, like your children or mine grew and developed, Luke 2:52.  I’ve often wondered if He “spoiled” His parents for their other children.  Yes, I know there’s a huge discussion about this, which I won’t get into here, with a large percentage of professing Christendom believing in Mary’s perpetual virginity.  It’s enough for me that Matthew 1:25 indicates that Joseph and Mary enjoyed normal marital intimacy after the birth of Jesus.  And, Jesus being called Mary’s “firstborn” is meaningless if He were her “only-born”.

Second, it was a human body.  Jesus was God manifest in the flesh, and that “flesh” was truly human.  There is also a discussion over whether or not Jesus could have sinned.  I’ll only say that I don’t think it was possible for Him to sin – He is “holy, harmless and undefiled,” Hebrews 7:26.  As I’ve said somewhere else, Satan had no “hook” in Him to get Him to sin. Sin is not an essential element of being human.  Adam and Eve were perfectly human as they came from the hand of God, before they disobeyed Him and fell from their innocence and sinlessness.

Third, it was a “prepared” body, Hebrews 10:5.  The conception and birth of Jesus wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment happening; it was carefully planned, even in eternity past, 1 Peter 1:20, and prepared for.  In Matthew 1:22, we read that “all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet….”  The immediate context refers to the virgin birth of Jesus, but the virgin herself didn’t just appear out of thin air.  I think it can be said without exaggeration that “all this” includes everything from the very creation of Adam himself.  After all, the human DNA for the Lord’s body was present in Adam, and carefully and providentially shepherded through all the generations from Adam to Jesus.  If not, when was it introduced into Mary’s ancestry?

Fourth, it was a sacrificial body, that is, Jesus came into this world to be an offering for sin, a sacrifice for sinners.  His body was carefully prepared to be the sacrifice which would pay for the “sins of the world,” that is, of the human race considered as a whole. Individually, the only ones who can say that their sins are paid for are those who have believed on Him for salvation.  Unbelievers are still subject to God’s wrath, John 3:17, 18.

Finally, it is a resurrected body.  Jesus truly died physically; He truly rose physically.  Some have questioned this on the idea that this would somehow have cancelled out His payment for sin.  But the resurrection is the receipt, if you will, for that payment.  Without it, we have no way of knowing if His death was any more effective in that regard than the death of the other two who died with Him on that fateful day.  Furthermore, read Paul’s defense of the Lord’s physical resurrection, 1 Corinthians 15.  Without that resurrection, there is no salvation from sin and, as Paul put it, if there is no salvation, Christians are to be pitied above all human beings.

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