Why Did God Come as a Baby?
As some of you may know, Advent Season, in addition to calling us to prepare our hearts for the second coming of Jesus, also reminds us to consider the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem—in essence His first coming. Last year, as I sought to prepare for Advent, the word “incarnation” captured my attention and has continued to occupy my thinking!
C.S. Lewis refers to the incarnation as the “Grand Miracle”, and J.I. Packer calls it the “Greatest Mystery” in knowing God. I must admit I find it almost impossible to wrap my mind around the reality that God the Son was made man, especially as Packer expounds on the mystery:
‘The Word became flesh’ (John 1:14); God became man; the divine Son became a Jew; the Almighty appeared on earth as a helpless human baby, unable to do more than lie and stare and wriggle and make noises, needing to be fed and changed and taught to talk like any other child.
Packer goes on to say the incarnation is in itself an unfathomable mystery, but it makes the rest of everything else in the New Testament make sense. In other words, without the incarnation, there would be no miracles, atonement, or resurrection. Our redemption is predicated on Jesus’ death, and resurrection could only happen because He was the Son of God made man.
As I ponder God incarnating Himself and the implications of it for our salvation, I keep wondering why He chose to come as a baby human and not as an adult? He could have just shown up one day and started doing ministry—after all, He is God! He could have even manifested Himself as a talking animal or a pilar of fire again!
So why did God start Jesus’ life on earth as a baby conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of a virgin? God doesn’t do anything willy-nilly, so there must be a purpose, a message in this pivotal detail. What is at the root of Jesus’ life beginning in Mary’s womb?
Does Jesus’ incarnation, beginning at His conception, indicate that from God’s perspective, once someone is conceived, they are fully human and worthy of protection, honor, and respect?
Could it be as simple as reinforcing what was obvious to God but has been lost in our culture today? That life begins at conception and is sacred throughout every stage and age—from a blastocyst to an embryo, to a fetus to a newborn baby, through childhood into adulthood. From the time this unique baby was conceived, He developed as every human being does in the womb and was then born as a helpless baby.
While we all recognize that life is sacred because we are made in the image of God, do we really appreciate the phenomenal creativity exhibited in the development of every human life? The last few weeks, I have been doing a lot of research and writing about the development of babies in the womb for our Child Development Flashcards, and I must admit to weeping more than once in awe of how God knits us together. It is truly extraordinary to read and learn how the different systems that make up our bodies develop from just two cells uniting. And to think God allowed His Son to go through that same developmental process!
Finally, God incarnating Himself as a helpless baby speaks volumes of the depth and breadth of God’s love for us. As I said earlier, God could have come in any form, as He is the creator of all things. But instead, he came as a baby—humble, dependent on others, stripped of His “right” as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. As Paul wrote:
You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor so that you through His poverty might become rich. 2 Cor. 8:9
So, why did God come as a baby? It’s because He loves us from the moment He created each of us. As I think of God humbling Himself this way for our salvation, so we can live eternally in heaven with Him, I am honored and in awe of the Love Incarnate that so humbled Himself for sinners like me and you.
My prayer is that, this Christmas, you will know God’s incarnational love for you.
Categories: Advent Season,
Tags: Author: Georgette Forney, Christmas, Incarnation,