Tonight we’ll begin a new teaching series, looking at what it means that God became a man. We’ll kick it all off by looking at what the Bible says and what Christians mean when they talk about this “incarnation.” As part of the study, we’ll look at what some ancient Christians wrote about this most important of events–there’s so many awesome quotes from the 2000-year history of the church. To whet your appetite, here’s a long one from our old friend Gregory Nazianzus. If you’d like to see a bible verse for every quote, and do this study on your own, click here. Otherwise, enjoy:
He was baptized as man, but he destroyed sins as God.
He himself was not in need of purifying rites, but he was baptized that he might sanctify the waters.
He was tempted as man, but he conquered as God; not only this but he even encouraged us to be courageous, since he had conquered the world.
He was hungry, but he fed thousands; not only this but he is indeed life-giving and heavenly bread.
He was thirsty, but he shouted, “If anyone thirst, let him come to me and drink;” not only this but he also promised that those who believe would gush forth with water.
He was tired, but for those who are tired and heavy laden he is rest.
He was heavy with sleep, but he is light upon the sea; not only this but he even rebukes winds; not only this but he even makes Peter light when he is sinking.
He pays tax, but he does so from a fish; not only this but he is even king of those demanding the tax.
He hears himself called a Samaritan and demon-possessed, but he saves the one who went down from Jerusalem and fell among robbers; not only this but he is even recognized by demons and drives out demons , and he sinks a legion of spirits and sees the ruler of demons falling like lightning.
He is stoned, but he is not caught.
He prays, but he hears prayers.
He weeps, but he causes tears to cease.
He asks where Lazarus is laid, for he was man, but he raises Lazarus, for he was God.
He is sold, and very cheaply, for it was for thirty silver coins, but he buys back the world, and it was for a great price, for it was for his own blood.
He was led as a sheep to slaughter, but he shepherds Israel, and now, indeed, the whole inhabited world.
He is silent like a lamb, but he is the Word, being proclaimed by a voice of one shouting in the desert.
He has been weakened, wounded, but he heals every disease and every infirmity.
He is lifted up upon the tree, he is nailed to it, but he restores by the tree of life; not only this but he saves even a robber crucified with him; not only this but he darkens everything that is seen.
He is given cheap wine to drink, he is fed bile. Who? The one who changed the water into wine, the destroyer of the bitter taste, the one who is sweetness and all desire.
He hands over his life, but he has authority to take it again; not only this but the curtain is torn apart; for the things above are exhibited; not only this but rocks are split; not only this but dead are raised beforehand.
He dies, but he makes alive, and by death he destroys death.
He is buried, but he rises.
He goes down into Hades, but he brings up souls; not only this but he goes up into heaven…
Not only this, but he will come to judge the living and the dead.
(Gregory of Nazianzus Oration 29.20, translation by Rodney A. Whitacre)