I have heard people of other faith talk about a reincarnation happening in their lives after death. But I am more concerned about being an ‘incarnation’ in this life than being a reincarnation after my life.
The first person who comes to my mind when I think about incarnation is Jesus Christ. The word ‘incarnation’ can mean personification, embodiment and living form. In simple words it means ‘being in flesh.’
The Bible talks about the Word that became flesh in John 1:1. The Word was God. John 1:14 says that Jesus pitched His tent in this earth to live among us. Divine transcended and became human. There is clearly a paradigm shift from the sacred to the secular in the incarnation of Jesus Christ.
Paul explains this further by using a word called kenosis, which means that Jesus emptied Himself of all His heavenly and divine glory. He became a servant to serve humankind (Philippians 2:6, 7). A classic example of His servant attitude is seen when Jesus took the initiative of washing the feet of His disciples. It is this ‘incarnational’ attitude of Christ which Paul asks us to emulate when he said: Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5). In other words we become ‘little Christs’ to the world. It was Martin Luther who firstly used the word ‘Little Christ’. He tells that ‘little Christs’ would be responsible not only for themselves but for their neighbors too. Several years later, C. S. Lewis, used the same analogy and went a step ahead when he reminded the church to produce ‘little Christs’.
History of the Old Testament has examples of such ‘little Christs’ foreshadowing the incarnational nature of Jesus Christ. It tells about a man who was raised in a royal household who chose to live among ordinary people. He lived as one among the many slaves who lived in the land of Egypt. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of great value than the treasures of Egypt. He persevered and led the slaves to redemption. The author of Hebrews portrays this man, Moses, as one who transitioned from royalty to slavery for a greater glory (Hebrews 11:24-27).
Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, made a difference in the history of kings. The Bible says that he walked among the people from Beersheba to Ephraim and turned them back to the Lord, the God of their fathers (2 Chronicles 19:4). So his kingdom turned to be a kingdom with a difference. There was no distinction of any profession as ‘sacred’ or ‘secular’ in his kingdom. He gave similar instructions to the so-called secular judges and the Levites, priests and heads of Israelite families. He considered all professions as sacred and asked them to do it for the Lord (vs. 5-11). He exhorted them to live a life free from sin. Jehoshaphat was a king who practiced incarnation, breaking barriers of discrimination leading people to redemption.
To become a servant, slave or an ordinary citizen, needs humility and sacrifice from the part of a person who has power and privileges. In a world where we see people resorting to machinations and manipulations to become rich, influential and powerful, how many would like to forsake a life of luxury and live among the lowly ones? History today is looking for ‘little Christs’ who would follow the steps of Jesus Christ.
It is the humility of Christ found in His incarnation that led to His exaltation as Lord and Savior. The whole of the Bible attests to the same fact that any humble human being with a Christ-like attitude would eventually be exalted.
Let us be incarnational beings. Let us never give up being incarnational at any point in our life. Let us try to be the hands and feet of Jesus and serve our fellow human beings by choosing to be ‘little Christs’ in our areas of influence. My desire is that we would be ‘little Christs’ – that is people with an incarnational attitude and make a difference around us during our lifetime!