“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word…” (Hebrews 1:1-3a).
“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish” (John 1:14 MSG).
Intentional Incarnational Ministry
From the very beginning, the story of Christ is one of intentional incarnational ministry. As the writer of Hebrews states “In the past, God spoke to our ancestors…but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son.” We see this play out in the Old Testament as God leads His chosen people through the patriarchs, through Moses and Joshua, and then the Judges, Kings, and Prophets. He reveals Himself through these individuals and through the law of Moses.
The writer of Hebrews acknowledges these previous methods of revelation, and then he says “BUT in these last days God has spoken to us by His Son”—who is the very radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His being. The Person of Jesus Christ is a better, more complete picture of who God is than anything that came before. He tells His disciples that “he who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).
Jesus is the perfect representation of who God is. If we want to know who God is, we don’t have to look any further than the Person of Jesus Christ. To know Jesus is to know God! This is the significance of the incarnation: That while humanity was lost in sin, The Holy One—God Himself—dwelt among us to show us who He is and to make a way for us to be re-united.
Implications for Ministry
Implications abound for ministry. Those who follow Christ are called to “walk as he walked” (1 John 2:6). Those who serve in leadership capacities in ministry have Christ’s example to look to and to follow.
My point here is that in-person “face-to-face” communication is always better than communicating over a distance. Talking in person is better than a phone call, text message, email, Facebook post, etc. A physical presence in a community is more effective than someone working on the outside from a distance.
“Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” — Theodore Roosevelt
Jesus’s ministry strategy involved visiting a populated area and meeting the people where they were. He had compassion on them and healed their sicknesses and infirmities, in some cases even raised the dead. Then as the crowds would gather, He would begin to proclaim His message “repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”
Taking the Church to the Streets
If we want to walk as Jesus walked, serve like Jesus served, love like Jesus loved, we can’t wait for the world to come to us. We’ve got to go to them. We have to take the church to the streets.
We have to show people the love of Christ in a tangible way. Then when they know we care (because Jesus cares), then we have an open door to share the life-transforming message of the gospel.