Since he ascended to heaven, Jesus Christ is no longer with us on earth in the flesh. But the incarnation continues. Jesus is still human, and in his human body he is in heaven. But that’s not all. Jesus is still living and active here on the earth in human form, because the church is his body on earth. (The church is not a building but is made up of all of us humans who believe in him.)
The Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary so that Jesus was conceived in her womb. The same Spirit filled Jesus at his baptism. The same Spirit was poured out on Jesus’ disciples on Pentecost. And the same Spirit lives in us, the church, to this day.
Jesus breathed the Spirit onto his disciples, saying, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” The church is sent, like Jesus, to announce and embody the kingdom of God.
So the church speaks the truth in love—the truth about sin, judgment, and forgiveness. But that’s not all. The church also comes alongside people: to suffer with those who suffer, to weep with those who weep, to rejoice with those who rejoice, to visit those who are sick or in prison, to feed those who are hungry.
When the church is faithful to its calling, Jesus himself becomes visible in our humanity. So the incarnation continues on earth until Jesus returns.
Jesus, fill the church with your Spirit so that together we will reflect the kingdom of God. And may all praise be to you, with the Father and the Spirit. Amen!
19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.
21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
43 But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.
2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
3 For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.
4 Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.
5 Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west;
6 I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth;
7 Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.
8 Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears.
9 Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and shew us former things? let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth.
10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.
11 I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour.
12 I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God.
13 Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?
14 Thus saith the Lord, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and have brought down all their nobles, and the Chaldeans, whose cry is in the ships.
15 I am the Lord, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King.
16 Thus saith the Lord, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters;
17 Which bringeth forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power; they shall lie down together, they shall not rise: they are extinct, they are quenched as tow.
18 Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
20 The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.
21 This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.
22 But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob; but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel.
23 Thou hast not brought me the small cattle of thy burnt offerings; neither hast thou honoured me with thy sacrifices. I have not caused thee to serve with an offering, nor wearied thee with incense.
24 Thou hast bought me no sweet cane with money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices: but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities.
25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.
26 Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified.
27 Thy first father hath sinned, and thy teachers have transgressed against me.
28 Therefore I have profaned the princes of the sanctuary, and have given Jacob to the curse, and Israel to reproaches.