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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: The Life and Ministry of Jesus Christ

Don Stewart :: Why Did God the Son, Jesus Christ, Become a Human Being?

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Why Did God the Son, Jesus Christ, Become a Human Being? (The Incarnation)

The Life and Ministry of Jesus Christ – Question 1

The great truth revealed in the New Testament is that the eternal God became one of us, He became a human being. John wrote,

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 NRSV)

This is one of the most important verses in the entire New Testament, if not “the” most important.

The Apostle Paul echoes John’s thoughts. He wrote the following to the Church at Philippi about God the Son coming to our earth:

Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. (Philippians 2:6, 7 NLT)

Jesus Christ, while being Almighty God for all eternity, became a human being at a point in time in our history.

The Incarnation of Jesus Christ

This is the message of the New Testament God became a human in Jesus Christ. It is known as the “incarnation.” Incarnation is from the Latin meaning “in flesh.” Although it is not a biblical word, it presents a biblical truth. Jesus is the eternal God who became flesh and blood. God the Son became a man some two thousand years ago.

He did so without giving up His oneness with God. God the Son became a human being without a sin nature. “In flesh” means more than Jesus had a physical body. Indeed, He was a complete human personality.

God the Son Took on a New Nature

By the incarnation, we do not mean that God was turned into a human or that He ceased to be God while He was a human. The incarnation means that while remaining God, He took upon Himself a new nature—a human nature. The incarnation was the uniting the divine and the human into one being, one Person; Jesus Christ. Thus, God the Son, Jesus Christ, was fully God and as well as fully human.

Why Did God Come to Our Earth?

In becoming a human being God the Son laid aside His heavenly glory to live among us. The question is, why did He do it? The Scriptures give us at least ten reasons why God came to earth in the Person of Jesus Christ. They are as follows.

Reason 1: He Wanted to Further Reveal God to Humanity

The first and foremost reason was to give a further revelation of the living God to humanity. If you wish to know what God is like, you need go no further than to look at Jesus Christ. The Bible puts it this way:

No one has ever seen God. The One and Only Son the One who is at the Father’s side—He has revealed Him. (John 1:18 HCSB)

This verse teaches that Jesus Christ explained God to humanity. We need no longer wonder what God is like. Indeed, God the Son, Jesus, shows us. In fact, Jesus Himself said this. We read the following in the Gospel of John after one of His disciples, Philip, asked Jesus to show them “God the Father”:

Jesus replied, “Philip, don’t you even yet know who I am, even after all the time I have been with you? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking to see him?” (John 14:9 NLT)

Jesus Christ perfectly revealed God the Father in a number of important ways.

Reason Jesus Did This by Both Words and Deeds

Jesus claimed that God the Father guided both His words and deeds. We read in John’s gospel about this claim:

Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise. The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing; and he will show him greater works than these, so that you will be astonished.” (John 5:19, 20 NRSV)

Note well that Jesus said He only does what He sees the Father doing. In other words, He perfectly revealed the Father.

Jesus also emphasized that He was doing the work of the Father. We read Him saying the following words:

“But if I do his work, believe in what I have done, even if you don’t believe me. Then you will realize that the Father is in me, and I am in the Father.” (John 10:38 NLT)

Jesus pointed to the deeds which He accomplished to demonstrate that He was God the Son. Indeed, only God Himself could do the sort of deeds which Jesus did.

The Old Testament Revelation Is Incomplete

While the God of the Bible revealed Himself to humankind in the Old Testament era, the revelation was incomplete. There were a number of things that waited till God Himself came to earth in the Person of Jesus Christ. Thus, when Jesus came to our earth, He revealed God to humanity in a personal way; a way which had never before taken place.

Reason 2: Jesus Came to Fulfill God’s Promises to Certain People

The God of the Bible makes promises and He keeps His promises. From a study of the Scripture we find that God made a number of promises to people like Adam and Eve, Abraham, and King David. They are as follows.

Adam and Eve

To Adam and Eve, the first two humans, Jesus was the promised Messiah—the seed of the woman that would bruise the head of the serpent. We read of the promise of His coming in the Book of Genesis. It says,

From now on, you and the woman will be enemies, and your offspring and her offspring will be enemies. He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel. (Genesis 3:15 NLT)

The Lord promised Adam and Eve that the “seed of the woman” would strike at the head of the serpent. Jesus fulfilled this.

Abraham

To Abraham, Jesus was his one descendant who would bless the world. God promised Abraham the following:

I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. (Genesis 12:3 NIV)

Abraham was promised that one of his descendants would bless all humanity. God the Son, Jesus Christ, was that descendant.

David

To David the King over Israel, Jesus was the promised King that would come from His family. He is the one whom the Lord said would rule forever. We read of this promise to David in the Book of Second Samuel:

When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. (2 Samuel 7:12 NIV)

The coming of Jesus Christ fulfilled this promise that was made to King David. The angel Gabriel said to the following to Mary:

“You will become pregnant and have a son, and you are to name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” (Luke 1:31-33 NLT)

Jesus Christ fulfilled the promises that the Lord had made to King David. He was a descendant of the David and the rightful heir to the throne.

Jesus Came to Bring Salvation to All Humanity

The covenants, or agreements, the Lord made with these people promised salvation for both Israel and the Gentiles. With the coming of Jesus to the world, these promises were fulfilled. Paul wrote the following to the believers in the city of Rome:

For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of the truth of God in order that he might confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will confess you among the Gentiles, and sing praises to your name.” (Romans 15:8, 9 NRSV)

Jesus, therefore, came to earth to fulfill God’s promises that were made to a number of people. One of these promises was salvation for the Gentiles.

Reason 3: Jesus Came to Fulfill the Law of Moses

God the Son, Jesus, also came to fulfill the Law that God had given through Moses. Jesus Himself testified that His coming was to fulfill the Law and not to abolish it. Matthew records Him saying the following about the Law:

“Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to fulfill them. I assure you, until heaven and earth disappear, even the smallest detail of God’s law will remain until its purpose is achieved.” (Matthew 5:17, 18 NLT)

By living a perfect life here upon the earth, a sinless life, Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the Law in every respect.

Reason 4: Jesus Came to Die for the Sins of the World

When sin first entered the world, God instituted the concept of substitutionary sacrifice where He required the sacrifice to die. However the sacrifices of animals could not take away sin. Neither would the death of an ordinary human being be satisfactory to take away sin. What was needed was the perfect sacrifice. This was accomplished with God becoming a human being. Christ’s coming was for the purpose to die on the cross for the sins of the world. Indeed, when Christ came He sacrificed Himself on Calvary’s cross. Jesus Himself testified to this important truth. He said,

“Just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28 NRSV)

His death on the cross has paid the penalty for ours sins. He died in our place so that we do not have to suffer eternally for our misdeeds.

The Apostle Paul explained this truth further in his second letter to the Corinthians. He put it in this manner:

Everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ; certain that God is appealing through us, we plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.” He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:18-21 HCSB)

Jesus Christ came into the world to become humanity’s Savior. Indeed, without His coming, humanity would not have a Savior.

Reason 5: Jesus Came to Bring in a New Covenant

Jesus not only fulfilled the promises of the old covenant, His coming brought a new covenant into existence. On the night of His betrayal Jesus instituted the new covenant. Matthew recorded what happens as follows:

As they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take and eat it; this is My body.” Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks, He gave it to them and said, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood that establishes the covenant; it is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:26-28 HCSB)

God now deals with humanity exclusively through the new covenant.

Reason 6: Jesus Came to Destroy the Works of the Devil

The coming of God the Son, Jesus Christ, into the world was also to destroy the works of the devil and the hold he has had over humanity. John wrote about this:

But when people keep on sinning, it shows they belong to the Devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy these works of the Devil. (1 John 3:8 NLT)

Jesus’ death on the cross frees us from the power of sin. The devil no longer has any right to control us because Jesus Christ has given us the freedom to choose not to sin.

Reason 7: Jesus Came to Judge the World Righteously

Jesus came to be a righteous judge of humanity. Scripture says that it is He who will judge the world. Jesus said,

“And the Father leaves all judgment to his Son.” (John 5:22 NLT)

The Son will be the Judge.

Jesus repeated this statement again:

“And he has given him authority to judge all mankind because he is the Son of Man.” (John 5:27 NLT)

God the Son is qualified to judge humanity because He became a human being. Since He has lived as a human being His judgment will always be righteous and fair.

Reason 8: Jesus Came to Sympathize with Believers as the Great High Priest

Because Jesus, the God-man, lived here upon the earth and experienced the limitations of being a human being, He is able to sympathize with the problems and concerns that human beings face. The Bible says the following:

Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16 NRSV)

When we ask Him for help, He is able to give it because He understands our struggles. This is truly comforting to know.

Reason 9: Jesus Came to Be an Example for Believers

God the Son also came to provide an example for the believer on how to live one’s life. When a person puts their faith in Jesus Christ they have an example to follow. Indeed, Jesus lived the perfect life as the perfect man with faith in His Father. Hence we are told, “to walk just as He walked”:

The one who says he remains in Him should walk just as He walked. (1 John 2:6 HCSB)

He is our example.

Peter when writing about the following about the sufferings of Christ also emphasized that we are to follow in His steps:

This suffering is all part of what God has called you to. Christ, who suffered for you, is your example. Follow in his steps. (1 Peter 2:21 NLT)

Jesus Christ provides the pattern of how believers should live.

Reason 10: Jesus Came to Prepare Humanity for a Heavenly Destiny

Finally, God the Son came to earth to prepare humanity for their heavenly destiny. The Son of God became a human so that human beings could eventually be fitted with a new nature, a perfect one. One day we shall be like Him. John wrote,

Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. (1 John 3:2 NRSV)

This is a wonderful promise for the believers.

We shall have a body like His; a glorified body. The Apostle Paul emphasized this when he wrote the following to the Philippians:

But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. He will take these weak mortal bodies of ours and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same mighty power that he will use to conquer everything, everywhere. (Philippians 3:20, 21 NLT)

The bodies of believers in Christ will be changed into a body like His.

Believers in Christ, who have borne the image of the earthly man Adam, will also bear the image of the heavenly man, Jesus. Paul wrote about this to the Corinthians about this promise:

Adam, the first man, was made from the dust of the earth, while Christ, the second man, came from heaven. Every human being has an earthly body just like Adam’s, but our heavenly bodies will be just like Christ’s. (1 Corinthians 15:47, 48 NLT)

The thing that hindered this from happening was sin. Jesus has taken care of the sin problem by dying on the cross for the sins of the world.

In sum, God the Son became a human being for a number of reasons. It is important that we have a clear understanding of why He did indeed come to the earth.

Summary – Question 1
Why Did God the Son, Jesus Christ, Become a Human Being? (The Incarnation)

The great truth revealed in the New Testament is that God the Son came to our earth in human form in the Person of Jesus Christ. This is also known as the “incarnation.” When the Bible speaks about God the Son coming in the flesh, or as a human being, it means that He was fully human, a complete being, but with a sinless human nature.

This is what God did. The question before us is “why” did He do it? Why did God the Son become a human being? We can list ten reasons.

First, Jesus Christ tells us what God is like and what He expects from us. Indeed, if we want to know the character or nature of God of the Bible we merely have to look at Jesus. The revelation of God in the Old Testament, though true, was incomplete. Additional truth from God was necessary. Jesus came to bring that revelation.

This brings us to our second reason. The Old Testament was incomplete in the sense that certain promise has been made to individuals which had not been fulfilled. This included Adam and Eve, Abraham, and David. The coming of Christ fulfilled these promises.

Jesus also came to fulfill the Law of Moses—He perfectly kept the commandments of the Law. What the nation of Israel failed to do, Jesus Christ accomplished.

Since Jesus perfectly kept the Mosaic Law, living a sinless life, He could be the sacrifice for the sins of the world. This is another purpose of His coming; to die for our sins. This allows us to receive His salvation for our sins.

The coming of Jesus Christ not only fulfilled the old covenant which the Lord had established, it also brought a new covenant, or a new testament, into affect.

His coming also destroyed the works of the devil. The sinful state of our world is a result of the devil’s work. Jesus’ coming was for the purpose of destroying this evil work.

Jesus’ coming to earth also allows Him to righteously judge the world in the future. Indeed, He is in a position to righteous judge the human race.

In addition, He is now able to identify with humanity as the Great High Priest. Since God the Son became a human being and suffered the limitations which we endure, He understands our situations, He can sympathize with us.

Christ also came to this earth to become an example for believers as to how we should live. His perfect life sets the standard. Jesus is our pattern, our example.

Finally, Jesus’ coming has prepared the way for believers to receive their new body—one without sin. When He comes again this will become a reality. However, it was His first coming which allowed this to take place.

These are ten of the reasons as to why God the Son came to our earth. It is obvious that He has done this because of His great love for us.

The Greatest Story Ever Told (Introduction) ← Prior Section
Why Did Jesus Come at That Particular Time in History? Next Section →
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