Why God Had to Put on Flesh

Author:  Colin Rieke
With the advent/Christmas season coming and going, the humanity of Jesus Christ is brought to the forefront arguably more than any other time of year.
A virgin-birth. Baby Jesus in a manger. The nativity scene. The wise men worshipping a baby Christ. People all over the world recognized a newborn human born in Bethlehem was the Son of God the Christ. Their Lord was a baby. Mary did you know?
It’s still sometimes hard to believe “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory…” (John 1:14a). Even more incomprehensible is how the second person of the trinity could be born fully human, and not lose any divinity. “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord,” (Luke 2:11). God was born.
I like that the Christmas season reminds us of who Jesus is: 100% God and 100% human. Two distinct natures unified into one person – along with His redeeming sacrificial mission — is what made Jesus the Messiah. Just as important as His divinity is His humanity. When we get a fresh look during the holiday season of how our Lord was once a baby born of a virgin, it brings us back to Jesus, and back to the Gospel.
Jesus had to be fully God and fully human so that He could accomplish what He put flesh on to do: die for us, as us, on our behalf as a propitiation, and rise so that we could be given life.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved,” (John 3:16-17).
The atonement only works if Jesus is who He said He is. Take out the God nature, or the human nature, and you take out the atonement. If you take out atonement you take out the Gospel.
If He wasn’t 100% man, then who was on the cross? If Jesus wasn’t human like us how could our fallen condition be redeemed?
If Jesus wasn’t 100% God, how powerful was the blood? How perfect was The Lamb? If Jesus wasn’t fully divine, how could He save us?
Understanding Jesus according to the scriptures has big implications!
We see the importance of correctly understanding the identity of Christ in the conversation between Christ Himself and His small group of disciples in Matthew 16. Jesus asked two questions: 1) “who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” and 2) “who do you say that I am?” (verses, 13-15 emphasis mine).
Peter boldly answered the second question and Jesus’ response indicates the weightiness of the subject we are discussing here.
“Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it,” (verses 17-18).
Jesus said Peter is blessed. Peter got the revelation from God, not from anybody or thing else. And upon that Jesus is going to build His church. Oh, and by the way, not even the gates of Hades will prevail against it. What was the revelation?
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” (verse 16).
Perhaps the only thing more important than the question “who do you say that I am?” is our answer to it.