The second question many ask is WHO; who is this Jesus Christ? Prior to His incarnation and becoming MAN, Jesus was God with God, equal to and of one substance. There was full equality. There was no question of being greater or lesser.
Jesus was the God who said to the Godhead family, "Let us make man in our image." John 1:1 tells us that Jesus was with God in the beginning and He is the Living Word who created all things that were created.
From eternity past our Lord was with God, as God, and it was only after the incarnation when Jesus became the God-man that Jesus would say in John 14:28: "My Father is greater than I." At the birth of Jesus as Man, the relationship of "Father to Son" was established.
If Jesus were merely a perfect man and nothing else, His sacrifice could only be applied to one single man and no more. This is the principle of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth but, because Jesus is eternal, He wrote a cheque which can never become out-dated. The identity of Jesus as God is supremely important . . . if Jesus were simply a man, then He could only pay the price for one man's sin, but as God He has the ability to pay for the sins of all people, for all time.
In His pre-incarnate existence Jesus was with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit which we know as the Trinity. When Jesus died for our sakes, if there had not been at least one other God in heaven, then the universe would have come to an end. This fact alone gives evidence that there is more than one person in the Godhead.
Beginning with the story of the creation of man and the Garden of Eden, we read about the conversations of God with man. It was Jesus with whom Adam and Eve talked to personally. It was Jesus whom Abraham entertained in the Book of Genesis. It was Jesus with whom Jacob wrestled.
When Jacob wrestled with the Angel of the Lord, Jacob was well aware of the identity of whom he had encountered. It was God who appeared to Jacob as a man in Genesis 32:24 and wrestled with him. Subsequently this person identified Himself as God and as a consequence Jacob named that place "Peniel", in Hebrew meaning "the face of God", and Jacob made this declaration: "I have seen God face to face."
Hosea 12:4 tells us that this person was the Lord God of Hosts. Jacob referred back to this incident when he was bestowing his final blessings on Joseph in Genesis 48:15-16 and called this Angel his Redeemer.
Putting many of these God encountering passages in the Old Testament together, we have Jesus identified as the Angel of the Lord, the King, the Redeemer, the Lord God of Hosts, and Jehovah. In Judges 2:1 we read that the Angel of the Lord came up and reminded the children of Israel that it was He who had brought them out of Egypt and that it was He who had made an unbreakable covenant with them. This Angel is later simply referred to as the Lord.
Furthermore, it was Jesus with whom Moses talked face to face and with whom the Israelites shared their first communion meal in Exodus 24:10-11. It was Jesus who met Joshua (Jos. 5:13). It was Jesus who spoke to Samson's mother before his birth. It was Jesus whom Micah saw in 1 Kings 22:19 and it was Jesus whom David encountered in 2nd Chronicles 3:1. It was Jesus whose glory the prophet Isaiah saw in Isaiah 6, and also the One whom the prophet Amos saw in Amos 9:1.
To make it perfectly clear, and erase all doubt and confusion, Jesus made this profound statement which is recorded in John 1:18: "No one has seen God (Father) at any time; but only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him."
When we experience the miracle working power of God in the salvation of a soul or in the healing of a sick body, we don't say: "Oh, that's nice." When God has answered our prayer for a job, or some unknown blessing, do you just say "wonderful"? When God has supernaturally delivered us from having a major accident or car crash, we don't say: "I sure was lucky!" We cannot help but say, "Praise God!"
According to Jesus' statement, no one has ever seen God the Father at any time! Therefore, who did Adam and Eve see? Who did Abraham, Jacob, and Moses see? Who did all the patriarchs of the Old Testament see? The person that all of the Old Testament saints saw was none other than the pre-incarnate Son of God . . . Jesus.
What all of these Old Testament saints saw was the Lord Jesus in a temporary body manifested for a temporary time, for a specific occasion, just as angels have sometimes been allowed to appear in a temporary body for specific occasions.
But the difference is that a temporary body is not the same as a body born from a woman. Unless it was a fully formed human body bred by a woman it could not truly be a human body, and therefore could not be representative of man . . . and if it could not be representative of man, then it could not be sacrificed for the sin of man.
This then will answer the third question of WHY? Why did Jesus manifest Himself in a human body? The reason for Jesus becoming man is given to us in Galatians 4:5, "So that we might recover our sonship through Him". In order to accomplish our sonship with God, God needed a human body. Man without a human body is not a man. This is the reason why God created man with a body. He created man with a body for the express purpose of the incarnation . . . so that He could redeem mankind.
For this very reason Hebrews 10:5-7 tells us: "Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: 'Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased.' Then I said, 'Here I am - it is written about me in the scroll - I have come to do your will, my God.'"
The fourth question we must ask is HOW? How is the incarnation even possible? And the only answer to that question is that with God all things are possible. Even Nicodemus, the great teacher of Israel, could not understand the principle of being born again from above. And so it is for everyone who places their faith in the finished work of Jesus that God by His Spirit comes to make His residence in us.
In closing, we come back to the greatest mystery of all! The greatest mystery of all is that when we place our faith in the completed work of Jesus, that God by His Spirit comes to dwell in us and makes His residence within us to transform us into a new creation. He does this by His Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead, who takes the things of Jesus and manifests them in our new lives All things have passed away, because it is no longer we that live, but it is Christ who now lives in us, who is the hope of glory!
This is the reason why we celebrate the Christmas Season...the coming of Jesus, taking on human form for the very purpose of bringing us the Good News that God has sent His Son to reconcile us from a broken relationship because of SIN. Jesus made it all possible!
That's why all the angels would sing: Joy to the world the LORD has come.