God With Us—The Hypostatic Union
Today’s Text: Matthew 1:20-23
WALKING THROUGH THE 25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
REVELATION IN A DILEMMA
Joseph faced a dilemma. He loved Mary, but had discovered his fiancé was expecting a baby that was not his child. While deciding how to pragmatically handle the situation, an angel of the Lord appeared to him with a stunning revelation. The angel proclaimed:
“‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.’
All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: ‘behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel’”.
Significantly, the name Immanuel means “God with us” and not only revealed how Joseph should respond to unanticipated developments, but also provides all seekers with the key to understanding the unique essence of Jesus.
In his announcement to Joseph, the angel stressed the fact that Mary’s child would not be a mere mortal baby, but a Child that possessed both human and divine attributes— God Incarnate!
Although impossible to grasp with the limited faculties of our finite minds, Jesus had to possess a complete divine nature as well as a flawless human nature. How this is possible is one of the greatest mysteries known to man.
The theological term “hypostatic union” describes the paradox. “Hypostatic” derives from the Greek word ὑπόστασις (hupostasis) conveying the idea of actual substance or essence. In this case, the essence involves the perfect union of two distinct natures—one human, one divine—in a single person.
Amazingly, Jesus’ humanity did not diminish His deity; and, His deity in no way invalidated His humanity!
The late John Walvoord explains,
“This union should not be defined as deity possessing humanity as this would deny true humanity its rightful place. It is not, on the other hand, humanity merely indwelt by deity. In His unique personality He possessed two natures, one eternal and divine, the other human and generated in time.”(1)
Allowing the divine nature to function within the confines of finite humanity did not require relinquishing a single divine attribute. What it did require was giving up the independent exercise of those divine attributes.
Jesus Himself articulated this unique dynamic saying,
“I can of Myself do nothing. . . I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me” (Jn. 5:30).
Even though all divine attributes were available to Him throughout the course of His earthly ministry, Jesus lived in complete surrender never using them unless expressly directed by the Father—a mind-blowing reality!
His willingness to endure the birthing process under the most adverse circumstances in humble surroundings of the obscure environs of Bethlehem—the exact place Micah predicted Messiah would be born—profoundly demonstrated His willingness to submit to the limitations and frailty of human experience (Mic. 5:2).
The babe in the manger is the proper focus as we prepare our hearts and minds this Christmas season. But, never forget that the One wrapped in swaddling cloths was none other than God Incarnate—Immanuel.
What an awesome privilege it is to be alive at this point in history looking back on God’s promised “set time” that made redemption available to the whole world (Gal. 4:4).
As people of faith living in the Western world, we not only have the freedom to publically declare that we are Christ-followers, it is significant that Jesus—Immanuel, the God-Man—gave us the mandate to share the Good News (Acts 1:8)!
The Christmas season is the perfect time to demonstrate bold faith! You can be a vibrant testimony of the wonderful truth encapsulated in the angel’s message to Joseph. Don’t let the day pass without telling someone!
Charles E. McCracken is an international Bible teacher, long-time friend of Israel and advocate for the Jewish people. ev. McCracken is known for authenticity in communicating biblical truth that makes his presentations relevant for those seeking to understand the significance of Israel and the church in Bible prophecy. He staunchly supports the nation of Israel and the Jewish people’s right to exist and live in peace.
© Charles E. McCracken 2016, devotional comments only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author via Contact Form under ABOUT. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (Emphasis added.)
1) John Walvoord, “The Person and Work of Christ.”
1) Walking to church (c. 1853). By George Henry Durrie (1820–1863) [PD-US, PD-Art], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
2) Stone manger at Tekoa, Judea-Samaria. By Todd Bolen. Courtesy, BiblePlaces.com (Author’s collection) – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
Categories: Walking Through the Days of Christmas