The Gospel of John in the Epilogue tells us that the pre-existent Christ took the form of a human being and came to dwell (tabernacle) with us. The Son of God who was with the father in Creation, made His home among us in the world. This was a tremendous sacrifice. The glorious and exalted one in whose presence angels bow stepped out of His shakana glory and came to live with us. In other words, Jesus stooped down to our human level except that He was not tainted by sin. That is incarnation. However, Jesus came to live among us on mission. His mission was to redeem us and reconcile us to God the Father. That was an unimaginable price for Him to pay on our behalf. However, before He was to return to the Father, He chose Disciples and loved them, trained them, and ministered to them. On the Day of Pentecost as He promised the disciples, the Holy Spirit descended on them and the New Testament Church was born. The truth is that the Holy Spirit came to empower the disciples to continue the work Christ had left for them. One of the roles of the Holy Spirit was to teach the disciples all truth, which they were not able to grasp before the departure of Christ and the coming of the Holy Spirit. When the Day of Pentecost dawn, the disciples understood their mission in the world. They had to do away with their selfish ambition of claiming the Kingdom of God for themselves. In other words, they came to understand the big picture. The big picture came at a cost to their lives. Stephen was stoned to death and James the brother of John was killed. Persecution set in and the disciples dispersed from Jerusalem to Samaria and the other parts of the world. It was through the same persecution that Saul the persecutor was apprehended by Christ on the way of Damascus and his life was transformed instantly. He who persecuted the church has now become the proclaimer of the gospel of Christ. Christ used Paul powerfully to touch and transformed lives all over the Gentile world. It was through Paul that many of the disciples caught the message of reconciliation. Paul incarnated the word of God, as he became all things to all people so that he could win many to Christ. The incarnation and reconciliation transformed Peter and the prejudiced disciples to love and acceptance of the Gentiles as the church began to grow exponentially.
Jesus came to cast out demons from people because of the kingdom of God. He did not want to stand aloof while demons torment people who could be potential converts to the Kingdom He had come to establish. God anointed Jesus so that He could set the captives free from the shackles of the devil.
After the Day of Pentecost, the believers formed a strong fellowship and there was a sense of community where needs were met. The fellowship and the sense of community brought other converts and the church continued to grow. That is what Christ wants to do with me and all believers throughout the world.
In the Gospel of Luke 19:1-10, Jesus called Zacchaeus the tax collector from the sycamore tree and went to be with him in his house. When the crowd who knew the story of Zacchaeus protested against Jesus going down his house, Jesus said, "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost" (Luke 19:10). Jesus Christ has entrusted that incarnational ministry to me and to everyone of His followers. Unfortunately, many pastors and church leaders have not understood this mission of Christ and therefore, churches are dying all around us.
The incarnational ministry that Jesus has entrusted to us is not about buildings, our comfort zones, and beautiful choirs. It is all about reaching the lost and broken world, where many are dying without knowing the love and person of Jesus Christ. Therefore, I am to be intentional about this ministry of reconciliation as I live incarnationally for Christ in this broken world.
As the heavenly Father sent Jesus to come save us from our sinful predicament, so has Christ sent us. There are people around us who do not know Christ. It is not about going to church per se even though that is good. It is all about coming to the realization that they are lost without Christ and in need of salvation. This comes through first, acknowledging that one is a sinner and cannot save oneself. Second, confessing one’s sin not to me but to Christ, and third believing that Christ can save and forgive one’s sin once and forever. In other words, when one acknowledges one’s sin, he/she has passed from death to life. That person has become a new creation through whom Jesus can reconcile other people to Himself. This is good news worth sharing.
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