I. BEING INCARNATED TO BRING GOD INTO MAN THAT DIVINITY AND HUMANITY MAY BE MINGLED AS ONE
Where then did this work begin? This work began with the Lord Jesus becoming flesh, which is called His incarnation. Therefore, incarnation was a great step in His work and a great initiation of the divine work. God entered into the womb of a human virgin and was conceived by being mingled with humanity. He stayed in the human womb for as long as nine months, and then He was born. Such a man not only possessed humanity, but in His humanity there was also divinity.
Brothers and sisters, we need to see that the Lord’s incarnation was truly a great matter. It was much greater than the creation of the heavens and the earth. In the creation of the heavens and the earth, “He spoke, and it was;/He commanded, and it stood” (Psa. 33:9). When God said, “Let there be light,” light came. However, it was not as simple for God to work Himself into man. He Himself had to go into a human womb and stay there for nine months. To speak and command things into being can only be used in the creation of the heavens and the earth; it cannot be used in the matter of God working Himself into man. This required the complete God to enter personally into a human womb to stay there for nine months and then be born. What a pity that today, when people celebrate Christmas, not merely the unbelievers but even those in Christianity, they are too superficial! They do not enter into the depths to see the mystery of God’s incarnation.
Brothers and sisters, I hope that all of us can see that the first major step in this divine, great, eternal, all-inclusive, and unlimited work was God’s incarnation. The incarnation of God was the entering of God into man, divinity being mingled with humanity. Soon after Adam was created, he fell and missed the goal of God. God’s goal was for him as a vessel to contain God, signified by the tree of life. However, Adam was tempted, he ate of the wrong tree, and he was poisoned. When God came to the garden, both Adam and Eve were so frightened that they hid themselves; they were afraid to see God. Thank God that He still had the grace of redemption! He gave Eve a promise that the seed of woman would bruise the serpent’s head, although the serpent would also bruise the heel of the seed of woman. We all know that this was fulfilled in the Lord Jesus. He was the seed born of a woman, and He bruised Satan’s head on the cross. Thus, His first step was to advance with a great stride to enter into the womb of a virgin in a humble way, to stay there for nine months, and to be born a God-man, who was Jesus Christ, Jehovah the Savior, for the accomplishment of God’s commission.
II. PASSING THROUGH HUMAN LIVING TO LIVE THE HUMAN LIFE IN HIS HUMANITY WITH HIS DIVINITY
After His birth, He lived in a poor carpenter’s home. Even at the time when He went out for His work, people asked, “Is not this the carpenter?” or, “Is not this the carpenter’s son?” (Mark 6:3; Matt. 13:55). Dear brothers and sisters, I am afraid that it may never have occurred to you that our God, our Savior, spent nine months in the womb of a virgin and lived in the house of a poor carpenter, not thirty days nor thirty months, but thirty years. This is something very mysterious that is hard for us to comprehend. Where was God in those thirty years? Was He in the tall and great temple in Jerusalem, or was He in the house of that carpenter in Nazareth? For all those thirty years God was in the house of that poor carpenter in Nazareth. Therefore, in those thirty years those who wanted to worship God had to go to the house of that poor carpenter in Nazareth and not to the temple in Jerusalem. In the house of that poor carpenter the Lord Jesus passed through human living a small step at a time. When the thirty years were fulfilled, He went out to preach. Before He began His ministry He was baptized, indicating to the universe that He forsook Himself and lived absolutely by God. When He came out of the water, the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit descended like a dove upon Him. In studying the Bible we have a problem here. Since the Lord Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit, did He not have the Holy Spirit already within Him? Why was it that at the time of His baptism the Holy Spirit came again from the heavens? Were there two Holy Spirits? When I was young, I did not understand this matter. Gradually, after I gained some experience in my study of the Bible and through the use of Bible expositions written throughout the centuries, I finally understood that the Holy Spirit of whom Jesus was conceived was the essential Spirit for His living, and the Holy Spirit who descended upon Jesus after His baptism was the economical Spirit for His work.
What the lowly Jesus did on the earth was to carry out God’s economy. What then is God’s economy? The economy of God is to redeem His created yet fallen men back to their original situation, and then to put Himself into them, His redeemed ones. Through His death and the shedding of His blood on the cross, He redeemed fallen men. After this work was done, He resurrected, and in His resurrection He became the life-giving Spirit. When we call on the name of the Lord Jesus, this life-giving Spirit comes into us. This is God coming into us. The Lord Jesus came to the earth to accomplish this very thing. In the first thirty years, He lived in a carpenter’s house. In the last three and a half years, He went out to do the work of preaching. He cast out demons, healed the sick, performed miracles, prophesied, and spoke words of wisdom, testifying that He was the all-inclusive and unlimited God. One day, He was in a home in Bethany where there was a love feast. People loved Him, and one poured ointment on His head. I would ask again, when He was attending that love feast and was being anointed in that home in Bethany, would you say that God was in that small house in Bethany or in the holy temple in Jerusalem? Now we are clear, and we have the boldness to say that God was in Bethany and not in Jerusalem. He was in that small house and not in the holy temple. In the holy temple, the priests considered God as the One who was high above them and who could only be revered but could not be approached. Yet, in the small house of Bethany, not only was God revered, but He was also approachable and lovable. He was so approachable that John could recline on His bosom. We thank and praise the Lord that sinners can be saved to such an extent as to enter into God’s embrace.
(The All-Inclusiveness and Unlimitedness of Christ, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)