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Two Reasons for the Incarnation

Posted by Matt Postiff December 25, 2010 on Matt Postiff's Blog under Theology 

When the angel spoke to Mary and to Joseph, he gave two explanations for the incarnation.

1. In Luke 1:31-33, the Bible records this: "...and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to Him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end" (ESV).

2. In Matthew 1:21, the Bible says, "She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." (ESV).

It was interesting to me that on both occasions that the angel assigned the name of the holy child, he gave an explanation of what the child would do. The two reasons he gave for the incarnation are the ruling reason and the saving reason.

This corresponds nicely with the related twin themes of suffering and glory in such texts as 1 Peter 1:11.

It is profitable to think about how the incarnation is necessary for both of these activities, and about the miraculous conception and birth and how they correlate to the two activities emphasized by the angel. Without the virgin birth, the Lord would not have been qualified for either ruling or saving.

Christmas is not only a holiday that looks back on the incarnation of our Savior. It is also a holiday that looks forward to the coming of the one who will rule the world in righteousness and justice.

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