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Friday, March 16, 2012

The reverse incarnation won't work - John - pages 369-378

John 1 speaks of creation just like Genesis 1 does.  It even starts with the same three words "In the beginning..."  But instead of a focus on the beginning of the World (Creation), John focuses on the beginning of the Word (Christ).  John is poetically weaving together words to take people back to the beginning, opening them to the idea that Jesus was continuing to pursue man, redeeming what had been lost in the "first beginning" with a "new beginning".  I know, it's probably more than you cared to know, but I'm just sayin'.

I was struck by the direction of--what is called in theology--"The Incarnation".  When Jesus initiated our rescue and ultimately our redemption, he was the one to span the distance.  He was the one who stooped down to meet us, bent ever so low to talk our language, wear our skin, and walk in our shoes.  He set aside his glory, deserving though he was to receive it in full, and took up our infirmities and mortalities.

The direction of incarnation is important because it serves to teach us how, we too, are to incarnate ourselves to "seek and save those who are lost".  Check this out:

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us." - John 1
_______________________


Word (Truth)
-
Became (Became)
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Flesh (Touchable)
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Dwelt (Lived)
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Among (Near)
-
Us (People)
________________________

Let me take the parenthetical words and put them in a sentence:

"Truth became touchable and lived near people."

This is the incarnation.  The trajectory of the gospel isn't people coming to God, it is God coming to them.  I would submit that religion isn't people coming to church, but the church coming to people.  (the Kingdom come) People are not to climb toward the truth, the truth is supposed to descend through metamorphic means to live among the people.

It's so amazing that over the years, we really do expect to invite people to church and to have them dress up and climb into our culture and learn our language and leave their reality in order to discover the Truth.  This isn't impossible, but it's not entirely biblical.  The onus of change and reinvention and incarnation is to be borne by the believer.  Asking "the people" to incarnate up the ladder toward the truth is "reverse incarnation" and quite unlike the ethos of Jesus.  

Without sinning, we are to "become all things to all men so that by all possible means we might save some".  Whatever it takes to reach people.  Whatever.  We become like them to reach them.

I don't know if this helps you understand incarnation, but it lights my logs.

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