God became a man. The incarnation of Jesus, “who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men,” is awe-inspiring enough on it’s own, but when we also consider what He came to do for us, His enemies, as one of us, the birth of Christ becomes something even more astounding: a demonstration of perfect love. From Alistair Begg and Sinclair Ferguson in Name above All Names:
[T]he charges brought against Jesus…were blasphemy in the religious court (a capital offense) and treason in the civil court (also a capital offense). He was found “not guilty” on each count. Yet he was executed.
What is the underlying meaning of all this? It is very simple. The crimes are not his.
Whose crimes, then, are they?
Blasphemy and treason are the two crimes on our charge sheet in the judgment court of God. We have blasphemed against God by making ourselves the center of our world and the lord of our own life. We have committed treason against God’s rightful authority by refusing his will. That was what Adam did. It is what we also have done.
Jesus has been found guilty and condemned for our crimes.
In the Gospel narrative, every reliable witness before the court points to Jesus and says, “He is innocent of these charges.” There is only one possible explanation, therefore, for his death. He is accepting the charges leveled against us in the courtroom of the eternal Judge. He, the perfect image of God, is being marred beyond human semblance so that we might be restored to the image of God.
1 John 3:16 says, “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us.” The nature of love is self-sacrifice, and from the start, this is what the incarnation was about.