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Isaiah 49:1-7

Listen to me, O coastlands, and give attention, you peoples from afar. The LORD called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name. He made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow; in his quiver he hid me away. And he said to me, "You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified." But I said, "I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my right is with the LORD, and my recompense with my God." And now the LORD says, he who formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him; and that Israel might be gathered to him - for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD, and my God has become my strength - he says: "It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth." Thus says the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One, to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nation, the servant of rulers: "Kings shall see and arise; princes, and they shall prostrate themselves; because of the LORD, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you."(ESV)

How Two Natures?

Monday of Christmas 2

4 January 2016

Like the preaching of law and gospel in the church, which entails the preaching of two irreconcilable opposites, so preaching the incarnation in the church also entails the proclamation of two contraries that are joined in one person, Jesus Christ. He is both God and man in one indivisible person. The Bible sets before us the divine witness that our Lord Jesus Christ is lesser than His heavenly Father and also that He is equal to the Father. How could He be both? He is lesser than the Father according to His human nature and equal to the Father according to His divine nature. Both things are true.
 
People often stumble over God's ability to place those two seemingly contradictory natures together in one person. Yet with God nothing is impossible. Many things are impossible for us, but we should not judge God on human standards, or on the basis of human reason. All we can do is depend on God's own self-revelation in the Word, which testifies to the incarnate Christ's being two natures in one undivided person.

 

Leo the Great
 
"He is a true and devout worshiper at the Feast of the Nativity who thinks nothing that is either false about the Lord's incarnation or unworthy about His Godhead. For it is an equally dangerous evil to deny in Him the reality of our nature and the equality with the Father in glory. When, therefore, we attempt to understand the mystery of Christ's nativity, in which He was born of the Virgin-mother, let all the clouds of earthly reasoning be driven far away and the smoke of worldly wisdom be purged from the eyes of illuminated faith.
 
"For the authority on which we trust is divine; the teaching which we follow is divine. Inasmuch as whether it be the testimony of the Law, or the oracles of the prophets, or the trumpet of the gospel to which we apply our inward ear, it is true what the blessed John, full of the Holy Spirit, uttered with his thunderous voice, 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made.' (Jn 1:1-3). And similarly is it true what the same preacher added, 'The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the Only-begotten from the Father ' (Jn 1:14).
 
"Therefore in both natures it is the same Son of God taking what is ours and not losing what is His own, renewing man in His manhood, but enduring unchangeable in Himself. For the Godhead, which is His in common with the Father underwent no loss of omnipotence, nor did the 'form of a slave' do harm to the 'form of God,' because the supreme and eternal Essence, which lowered Itself for the salvation of mankind, transferred us into Its glory, but did not cease to be what It was. Hence when the Only-begotten of God confesses Himself less than the Father (Jn 14:28), and yet calls Himself equal with Him (Jn 10:30), He demonstrates the reality of both forms in Himself: so that the inequality proves the human nature, and the equality the divine nature." 

Leo the Great, Sermons on the Nativity
 
Prayer
O Lord Christ, true God of God and true man of the virgin Mary, grant that I might adore You in Your holy nativity that I might rejoice at Your presence when You come again in glory. Amen.
 
For Charles Corbin, that they would he would receive the healing of Christ
 
For our Lutheran brothers and sisters in India, that they may faithfully teach the gospel of our Lord Jesus
 
For President Lawrence Rast of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, in thanksgiving for his faithful leadership

Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias  Nativity c. 1515

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