Hebrews 3:1-18 NIV
Warning to Pay Attention
1We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard Him. 4God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to His Will.
Jesus Made Fully Human
5It is not to angels that He has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6But there is a place where someone has testified:
“What is mankind that You are mindful of them,
a son of man that You care for him?
you crowned them with glory and honor
In putting everything under them,d God left nothing that is not subject to them.e Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them.f9But we do see Jesus, Who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because He suffered death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.
10In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for Whom and through Whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what He suffered. 11Both the One Who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.g 12He says,
“I will declare Your Name to My brothers and sisters;
in the assembly I will sing Your praises.”h
“I will put my trust in Him.”i
And again He says,
“Here am I, and the children God has given Me.”j
14 Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
16For surely it is not angels He helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17For this reason He had to be made like them,k fully human in every way, in order that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that He might make atonement for the sins of the people.18Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.
Several places in the New Testament explicitly teach Jesus’ pre-existence. Jesus said, “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began” (John 17:5). This passage alone is most powerful and sufficient to show that the Scripture supports Jesus’ pre-existence, but it is just one of many such passages. Jesus Himself explicitly taught His Own pre-existence (John 3:13,6:33,38,62;8:23;16:28).
Christ even said that He existed prior to Abraham’s birth (John 8:58-59) even though Abraham’s birth preceded Jesus’ own birth by many centuries! Several texts present Jesus as pre-existing with His Father (Romans 8:3;1 John 1:2;Galatians 4:4). Several passages even identify Jesus as the Creator (John 1:2-3;Colossians 1:16-17;Hebrews 1:2).
Incarnation is a term used by theologians to indicate that Jesus, the Son of God, took on human flesh. This is similar to the hypostatic union. The difference is that the hypostatic union explains how Jesus’ two natures are joined, and the Incarnation more specifically affirms His humanity.
The word incarnation means “the act of being made flesh.” It comes from the Latin version of John 1:14, which in English reads, “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.” Because of the near-exclusive use of the Latin Vulgate in the church through the Middle Ages, the Latin term became standard.
Biblical support for Jesus’ humanity is extensive. The Gospels report Jesus’ human needs including sleep (Luke 8:23), food (Matthew 4:2;21:18), and physical protection (Matthew 2:13-15;John 10:39). Other indications of His humanity are that He perspired (Luke 22:43-44) and bled (John 19:34). Jesus also expressed emotions including joy (John 15:11), sorrow (Matthew 26:37), an danger (Mark 3:5). During His life, Jesus referred to Himself as a man (John 8:40), and after His resurrection His humanity was still recognized (Acts 2:22).
But the purpose of the Incarnation was not to taste food or to feel sorrow. The Son of God came in the flesh in order to be the Savior of mankind. First, it was necessary to be born “under the law” (Galatians 4:4). All of us have failed to fulfill God’s Law. Christ came in the flesh, under the Law, to fulfill the Law on our behalf (Matthew 5:17;Galatians 4:5).
Second, it was necessary for the Savior to shed His blood for the forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 9:22). A blood sacrifice, of course, requires a body of flesh and blood. And this was God’s plan for the Incarnation: “When Christ came into the world, He said: ‘Sacrifice and offering [under the Old Covenant] you did not desire, but a body You prepared for Me’” (Hebrews 10:5). Without the Incarnation, Christ could not really die, and the cross is meaningless.
God did an incredible work in sending His Only Begotten Son into the world and providing us with a salvation we do not deserve. Praise the Lord for that moment in which “the Word became flesh.” We are now redeemed “with the precious Blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:19).