10 Quotes about the Incarnation of Jesus

What is the incarnation of Jesus? The Lexham Bible Dictionary says that though the term “incarnation” does not appear in the Bible, “Christian tradition has long held that Jesus is God incarnate: the Second Person of the Trinity descended from heaven and became human.” 

It is a mystery that once a year, come December, believers around the world remember with awe—that God would humble himself and become flesh through the Holy Spirit (John 1:14).

This Christmas, contemplate this mystery through the eyes of 10 fellow believers throughout the ages.

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Though creation may be a majestic organ of praise, it cannot reach the compass of the golden canticle—incarnation! There is more melody in Jesus in the manger than in the whole sublime oratorio of the creation. There is more grandeur in the song that heralds the birth of the babe of Bethlehem than there is in worlds on worlds rolling in silent grandeur around the throne of the Most High.

—Charles Spurgeon (1834–1892)

 

Grace has not a body to appear visibly. Yes, but Christ appeared; and when he appeared it was as if grace and love had been incarnate, and took a body. So that grace and mercy most of all shines in the incarnation of Christ.

—Richard Sibbes (1577–1635)

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The best of all is, God is with us!

—John Wesley (1703–1791)

 

To you who were a castaway, banished from the realms of paradise, dying of your weary exile, reduced to dust and ashes, without further hope of living, by the incarnation of the Word was given the power to return from afar to your maker, to recognize your parentage, to become free after slavery, to be promoted from being an outcast to sonship: so that you who were born of corruptible flesh may be reborn by the Spirit of God and obtain through grace what you had not by nature, and, if you acknowledge yourself the son of God by the spirit of adoption, dare to call God Father.

—Leo the Great (ca. 400–461)

 

We must never forget that though our Lord was God and man at the same time, the divine and human natures in him were never confounded. One nature did not swallow up the other. The two natures remained perfect and distinct. The divinity of Christ was never for a moment laid aside, although veiled. The manhood of Christ, during his lifetime, was never for a moment unlike our own, though by union with the Godhead, greatly dignified. Though perfect God, Christ has always been perfect man from the first moment of his incarnation. He that is gone into heaven and is sitting at the Father’s right hand to intercede for sinners is man as well as God.

—J. C. Ryle (1816–1900)

 

It was he who created the worlds; it was he who interposed of old time in the affairs of the world and showed himself to be a living and observant God, whether men thought of him or not. Yet this great God condescended to come down on earth from his heavenly throne and to be born into his own world; showing himself as the Son of God in a new and second sense, in a created nature, as well as in his eternal substance.

—John Henry Newman (1801–1890)

 

This only-begotten Son of God for our sins came down from heaven upon earth and took upon him this human nature of like passions with us and was begotten of the holy virgin and of the Holy Ghost, and was made man, not in seeming and mere show, but in truth; nor yet by passing through the virgin as through a channel; but was of her made truly flesh, and truly nourished with milk, and did truly eat as we do, and truly drink as we do. For if the incarnation was a phantom, salvation is a phantom also.

—Cyril of Jerusalem (ca. 315–386)

 

There was not only a distance between us and God by reason of impurity but a difference by reason of enmity. God is a God of glorious majesty, and we are poor creatures; God is a God of pure and immaculate holiness, and we are sinful creatures, lapsed and fallen under the guilt of sin, and deserving of punishment. There was our great trouble and grievance, and nothing comfortable could we expect from him. But when God is willing to come among us, and take our nature, and die for a sinful world, there is a foundation laid for his being with us, to help us, and bless us upon all occasions.

—Thomas Manton (1620–1677)

 

Join, all you joyful nations,
The acclaiming host of heaven!
This happy morn
A Child is born,
To us a Son is given:
The messenger and token
Of God’s eternal favor,
God has sent down
To us his Son,
A universal Savior!

—Charles Wesley (1707–1788)

 

God would have his eternal, his only-begotten Son to be incarnate, to take our nature on him—to be made man. What is his design in this incomprehensible work of his wisdom, love, and power? Indeed, in the first place, it was for the redemption of the Church, by the sacrifice of himself and other acts of his mediation. But there is that which is more general and comprehensive, and wherein all the concerns of the glory of God do center. And this was that he might gather all things into one in him—that the whole creation, especially that which was to be eternally blessed, should have a new head given unto it, for its sustenance, preservation, order, honor, and safety.

—John Owen (1616–1683)

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Learn more about the incarnation in The God Who Became Human: A Biblical Theology of Incarnation by Graham C. Cole or Found in Him: The Joy of the Incarnation and Our Union with Christ by Elise Fitzpatrick.

 All quotes are taken from 300 Quotations and Prayers about Christmas by Elliot Ritzema, (Lexham Press, Bellingham, WA), 2013.

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