INCARNATE

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MUSINGS – February 01, 2019

INCARNATE

Matthew 9:1-8
Jesus got into a boat, crossed the sea, and came to his own city. Some people brought him a paralyzed man on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Cheer up, friend! Your sins are forgiven.” Then some of the scribes thought, “He’s dishonoring God.” Jesus knew what they were thinking. He asked them, “Why are you thinking evil things? Is it easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” So the man got up and went home. When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe and praised God for giving such authority to humans.

To understand the importance of this scripture, we need to understand the meanings of some titles given to Jesus.

Let’s start with his name. Jesus is the English translation of the Greek name Iēsous (Greek: Ἰησοῦς), which is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Yeshua (Hebrew: ישוע‎) which means savior.

There is a term that you may hear people use about Jesus, God incarnate. It’s one of those churchy words that you may not fully understand. The dictionary defines it this way: in·car·nate, adjective /inˈkärnət, (especially of a deity or spirit) embodied in flesh; in human form.

God in human form. Sometimes you may also hear Jesus called Immanuel. That isn’t a name but a way of understanding his true nature. Immanuel is translated from Hebrew: עִמָּנוּאֵל‬ meaning, “God with us”.

Jesus is also called Christ (from the Greek Χριστός, Christós) which, once again, is not a name. It is a title for the savior and redeemer who brought salvation.

Another title given to Jesus is Messiah (from the Hebrew: מלך משיח) which means anointed (covered with oil). The kings of the Jews were ceremonially anointed with oil as a sign that they were the king. Think of it as an oath of office like the president takes in the swearing in ceremony. So all kings were messiahs. But the Jews were looking forward to a special king, The Messiah to save his people, deliver them from slavery, and establish a kingdom that ruled the world.

Jesus was all of these things which is why he said, “I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” Only God can forgive sin because all sin is against God. Jesus, by his action here, is claiming the role of God with us.

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All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams

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