Hebrews 4:8-13 – NT
The Incarnation, described here by John, is the essential element of the good news of the Gospel: ‘And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…’ What is this Word?
Self-expression needs an audience, though. Hermits and castaways don’t care for their image; there’s no one to whom they can express themselves. In part, God’s audience is us, and His Word, therefore, is expressed to us. It is a way of relating to us, informing us of His existence, communicating with us, telling us of His goodness.
Note how similar this is to Christ’s role: serving as intermediary between the Father and us, drawing us to the Godhead, sharing His goodness with us. The identification of the Word with Christ is therefore not arbitrary but springs from the very nature of the Son.
We looked last week at the nature of God’s rest, how He created and is redeeming a world that will serve as a dwelling place for Him where we can share in His goodness. While this will happen in fullness only at the return of Christ, God chose to physically dwell with us in human form via the Incarnation. The Word, without ceasing to be God, took on humanity to dwell with us, live out this communication of divine expression, and prepare our hearts as a dwelling place for the Lord. So this Incarnation, the Word becoming flesh, is the ‘already’ portion of the already-not-yet aspect of God’s rest.*
* Wow. My head hurts. It’s so hard to talk about this without being all abstract and mystic-sounding. It’s also impossible to improve on John’s words, which tell so completely and succinctly of the beauty of the Incarnation miracle.**
** I’m currently reading St. Athanasius’ On the Incarnation, which I highly recommend. I’ll add it to the Reading List when I’m done.