fbpx

Sermon Quotes

Incarnation

Athanasius of Alexandria

He, the Life of all, our Lord and Saviour, did not arrange the manner of his own death lest He should seem to be afraid of some other kind. No. He accepted and bore upon the cross a death inflicted by others, and those other His special enemies, a death which to them was supremely terrible and by no means to be faced; and He did this in order that, by destroying even this death, He might Himself be believed to be the Life, and the power of death be recognised as finally annulled. A marvellous and mighty paradox has thus occurred, for the death which they thought to inflict on Him as dishonour and disgrace has become the glorious monument to death’s defeat.” 

On the Incarnation

Augustine of Hippo

He was created of a mother whom He created. He was carried by hands that He formed. He cried in the manger in wordless infancy, He the Word, without whom all human eloquence is mute.

Augustine of Hippo

Man’s maker was made man that He, Ruler of the stars, might nurse at His mother’s breast; that the Bread might hunger, the Fountain thirst, the Light sleep, the Way be tired on its journey; that Truth might be accused of false witnesses, the Teacher be beaten with whips, the Foundation be suspended on wood; that Strength might grow weak; that the Healer might be wounded; that Life might die.

Karl Barth

The nativity mystery “conceived from the Holy Spirit and born from the Virgin Mary”, means, that God became human, truly human out of his own grace. The miracle of the existence of Jesus , his “climbing down of God” is: Holy Spirit and Virgin Mary! Here is a human being, the Virgin Mary, and as he comes from God, Jesus comes also from this human being. Born of the Virgin Mary means a human origin for God. Jesus Christ is not only truly God, he is human like every one of us. He is human without limitation. He is not only similar to us, he is like us.

Dogmatics in Outline

Jeremy Begbie

Only with great care. For thousands, carols will be their only link with a church. At the same time, sentimentality is perhaps the single most dangerous feature of our Church and culture-and the sentimental air is never thicker than at Christmas. The Incarnation is messy, dirty, and resonates with the crucifixion. We need a new wave of carol writing that can gradually swill out the nonsense and catch the piercing, joy-through-pain refrains of the New Testament.

Wendell Berry

I take literally the statement in the Gospel of John that God loves the world. I believe that the world was created and approved by love, that it subsists, coheres, and endures by love, and that, insofar as it is redeemable, it can be redeemed only by love. I believe that divine love, incarnate and indwelling in the world, summons the world always toward wholeness, which ultimately is reconciliation and atonement with God.

The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays

Frederick Beuchner

The incarnation is a kind of vast joke whereby the Creator of the ends of the earth comes among us in diapers… Until we too have taken the idea of the God-man seriously enough to be scandalized by it, we have not taken it as seriously as it demands to be taken.

G.K. Chesterton

All true friendliness begins with fire and food and drink and the recognition of rain or frost. …Each human soul has in a sense to enact for itself the gigantic humility of the Incarnation. Every man must descend into the flesh to meet mankind.

What’s Wrong with the World

Annie Dillard

I am sorry I ran from you. I am still running, running from that knowledge, that eye, that love from which there is no refuge. For you meant only love, and love, and I felt only fear, and pain. So once in Israel love came to us incarnate, stood in the doorway between two worlds, and we were all afraid.

Teaching a Stone to Talk: Expeditions and Encounters

A.C. Dixon

The Incarnation through the death of Christ makes it possible for God to be “just, and the justifier of him that believes in Jesus.” If God should be merciful without the satisfaction of justice, He would cease to be a God of justice and would thus forfeit His throne of righteousness. In a word, He would cease to be God.

Elisabeth Elliot

Jesus loved the will of His Father. He embraced the limitations, the necessities, the conditions, the very chains of His humanity as He walked and worked here on earth, fulfilling moment by moment His divine commission and the stern demands of His incarnation. Never was there a word or even a look of complaint.

T.S. Eliot

The hint half guessed, the gift half understood, is Incarnation.

Hildegard of Bingen

The earth is at the same time mother, She is mother of all that is natural, mother of all that is human. She is mother of all, for contained in her are the seeds of all. The earth of human kind contains all moistness, all verdancy, all germinating power. It is in so many ways fruitful. All creation comes from it. Yet it forms not only the basic raw material for humankind, but also the substance of the incarnation of God’s son.

John of Kronstadt 

The Lord, before His Incarnation, let mankind experience all the bitterness of sin, all their powerlessness to eradicate it; and when all longed for a Deliverer, then He appeared, the most wise, all-powerful Physician and Helper. When men hungered and thirsted after righteousness, as it grew weaker, then the everlasting righteousness came.

Richard John Neuhaus

Disguise is central to God’s way of dealing with us human beings. Not because God is playing games with us but because the God who is beyond our knowing makes himself known in the disguise of what we can know. The Christian word for this is revelation, and the ultimate revelation came by incarnation. … God is the master of disguises, in order that we might see.

Madeleine L’Engle 

There is nothing so secular that it cannot be sacred, and that is one of the deepest messages of the Incarnation.

C.S. Lewis

Non-Christians seem to think that the Incarnation implies some particular merit or excellence in humanity. But of course it implies just the reverse: a particular demerit and depravity. No creature that deserved Redemption would need to be redeemed. They that are whole need not the physician. Christ died for men precisely because men are not worth dying for; to make them worth it.

C.S. Lewis

Poetry too is a little incarnation, giving body to what had been before invisible and inaudible.

Max Lucado

Let him into the mire and muck of our world. For only if we let him in can he pull us out.

Celebrating Christmas with Jesus: An Advent Devotional

Alexander MacLaren 

The cross is the center of the world’s history; the incarnation of Christ and the crucifixion of our Lord are the pivot round which all the events of the ages revolve. The testimony of Christ was the spirit of prophecy, and the growing power of Jesus is the spirit of history.

Jürgen Moltmann

God became man that dehumanized men might become true men. We become true men in the community of the incarnate, the suffering and loving, the human God.

The Crucified God: The Cross of Christ as the Foundation and Criticism of Christian Theology.

Mother Teresa

As soon as we take the enfleshment of God, the incarnation which, for Christians, is represented by the person of Jesus Christ, then we start taking things seriously.

A Simple Path

Flannery O’Connor

For me it is the virgin birth, the Incarnation, the resurrection which are the true laws of the flesh and the physical. Death, decay, destruction are the suspension of these laws. I am always astonished at the emphasis the Church puts on the body. It is not the soul she says that will rise but the body, glorified.

The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor

J.I. Packer 

The Almighty appeared on earth as a helpless human baby, needing to be fed and changed and taught to talk like any other child. The more you think about it, the more staggering it gets. Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as this truth of the Incarnation.

J.I. Packer

It is here, in the thing that happened at the first Christmas, that the most profound unfathomable depths of the Christian revelation lie. God became man; nothing in fiction is so fantastic as this truth of the incarnation.

Eugene Peterson

The ways Jesus goes about loving and saving the world are personal: nothing disembodied, nothing abstract, nothing impersonal. Incarnate, flesh and blood, relational, particular and local. The ways employed in our North American culture are conspicuously impersonal: programs, organizations, techniques, and general guidelines, informational, detached from place. In matters of ways and means, the vocabulary of numbers is preferred over names, ideologies crowd out ideas, the gray fog of abstraction absorbs the sharp particularities of the recognizable face and the familiar street.

The Jesus Way

Eugenia Price

God is willing to walk the earth again incarnate in us.

Early Will I Seek Thee

J.I. Packer 

The Almighty appeared on earth as a helpless human baby, needing to be fed and changed and taught to talk like any other child. The more you think about it, the more staggering it gets. Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as this truth of the Incarnation.

Richard Rohr 

Let’s state it clearly: One great idea of the biblical revelation is that God is manifest in the ordinary, in the actual, in the daily, in the now, in the concrete incarnations of life, and not through purity codes and moral achievement contests, which are seldom achieved anyway.

Dorothy L. Sayers 

The dogma of the Incarnation is the most dramatic thing about Christianity, and indeed, the most dramatic thing that ever entered the mind of man; but if you tell people so, they stare at you in bewilderment. 

Michael Spencer

Without the incarnation, Christianity isn’t even a very good story, and most sadly, it means nothing. “Be nice to one another” is not a message that can give my life meaning, assure me of love beyond brokenness, and break open the dark doors of death with the key of hope. The incarnation is an essential part of Jesus-shaped spirituality.

Mere Churchianity: Finding Your Way Back to Jesus-Shaped Spirituality

R.C. Sproul

What we celebrate at Christmas is not so much the birth of a baby, but the incarnation of God Himself.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

By virtue of Creation, and still more the Incarnation, nothing here below is profane for those who know how to see.

J.R.R. Tolkien 

The Resurrection is the eucatastrophe of the story of the Incarnation – This story begins and ends in joy.

John F. Walvoord

To achieve the divine purpose of becoming the Savior, the divine glory needed to be veiled. Christ voluntarily, moment by moment, submitted to human limitations apart from sin. The humiliation was temporary. The incarnation was everlasting.

Simone Weil 

The beautiful is the experimental proof that the incarnation is possible.

Henry Law

What self denial! What self abasement! What self emptying! He, whom no infinitudes can hold, is contained within infant’s age, and infant’s form. Can it be, that the great ‘I AM THAT I AM’ shrinks into our flesh?

C.S. Lewis

Among the sheep (I like a sheep have strayed)

I watch the manger where my Lord is laid;

Oh that my baa-ing nature would win thence

Some woolly innocence!

Brennan Manning

Jesus learned how to walk, stumbled and fell, cried for his milk, sweated blood in the night, was lashed with a whip and showered with spit, was fixed to a cross, and died whispering forgiveness on us all.

The Ragamuffin Gospel

James Merritt

God became a part of the human family so that we could become a part of his heavenly family.

52 Weeks with Jesus, Harvest House Publishers.

Chris Rice

Fragile finger sent to heal us

Tender brow prepared for thorn

Tiny heart whose blood will save us

Unto us is born

Welcome to Our World in Deep Enough to Dream, Rocketown Records, 1997.

Martin Luther

The Son of God did not want to be seen and found in heaven. Therefore he descended from heaven into this humility and came to us in our flesh, laid himself into the womb of his mother and into the manger and went on to the cross. This was the ladder that he placed on earth so that we might ascend to God on it. This is the way you must take.

John of Damascus

In former times, God, who is without form or body, could never be depicted. But now when God is seen in the flesh conversing with men, I make an image of the God whom I see. I do not worship matter; I worship the Creator of matter who became matter for my sake.

Frederick Buechner

The Christian faith always has to do with flesh and blood, time and space, more specifically with your flesh and blood and mine, with the time and space that day by day we are all of us involved with, stub our toes on, flounder around in trying to look as if we have good sense.

Whistling in the Dark

Ephrem of Syria

All these changes did the Merciful One effect: Stripping of His glory and putting on a body; For He had devised a way to reclothe Adam, In that glory which Adam had stripped off.

The Catechism of Theodore of Mopsuestia

For our salvation, He put on a man and dwelt in him.

Hans Urs von Balthasar

The Word that is God took a body of flesh, in order to be man…He took on, at the same time, a body consisting of syllables. scripture,… verbal utterance.

“The Place of Theology,” in Explorations in Theology, vol. 1, The Word Made Flesh (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1989), p. 149.

Barbara Brown Taylor

The last thing any of us needs is more information about God. We need the practice of incarnation, by which God saves the lives of those whose intellectual assent has turned them dry as dust, who have run frighteningly low on the bread of life, who are dying to know more God in their bodies. Not more about God. More God.  

Still Looking for inspiration?

Consider checking out our illustrations page on the Incarnation. 

Follow us on social media: