What child is this, who, laid to rest, On Mary’s lap is sleeping? Whom angels greet with anthems sweet, While shepherds watch are keeping? This is the question of the ages.
Last time, I introduced my subject, “God with us.” Today, I would like to take a peek behind the curtain and see just who is this child born on Christmas day.
I also want to mention before I get started that I talked about this last Christmas here and here, but will go a little deeper into it this time.
So, who is this child whose birth we celebrate this time of year? I’ll use John’s introduction of Him and highlight some thoughts about this…
“1 In the beginning the Word already existed;
the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 From the very beginning the Word was with God.
3 Through him God made all things;
not one thing in all creation was made without him.
4 The Word was the source of life,
and this life brought light to people.
5 The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has never put it out.” (John 1:1-5 GNT)
The first thing we see is that, before all creation, Jesus existed with God (the Father) and as God (the Son).
“1 In the beginning the Word already existed; the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
We also get from this that the “Word of God” is not the Bible–the Word is a Person. The Bible is only a religious book with words until you experience the Word in it.
The religious people of Jesus’ day thought studying the Bible was where the life was (John 5:39). Of course, they had the Word of God killed. Sadly, religion often does the same thing to the life of Christ today.
The second thing we see is, before anything else, Jesus was with the Father.
“2 From the very beginning the Word was with God.”
What John is succinctly expressing here is this eternal Fellowship between the Father and the Son in the Spirit. It’s the Divine Dance, this Love Fest that has always existed–outside of time and space–before the foundation of the world (see also John 17:24). .
This also means that there’s never been a time when God was alone. And this should be important to us because if God is alone then we cannot possibly know Him. We’ll see why this is so in the next post.
Furthermore, when we say “Father” and “Son,” we’re saying God is primarily about family and relationship. This is the very center of all theology about God.
Here’s what Dr. C. Baxter Kruger said about it in his “Summary of the Trinitarian Vision“:
“From all eternity, God is not alone and solitary, but lives as Father, Son and Spirit in a rich and glorious and abounding fellowship of utter oneness. There is no emptiness in this circle, no depression or fear or insecurity. The Trinitarian life is a great dance of unchained communion and intimacy, fired by passionate, self-giving and other-centered love, and mutual delight. This life is good. It is right, unique, full of music and joy, blessedness and peace. Such love, giving rise to such togetherness and fellowship and oneness, is the womb of the universe and of humanity within it.”
The third thing we need to know in John’s introduction is that Jesus created everything and nothing exists apart from Him.
3 Through him God made all things; not one thing in all creation was made without him.”
Paul elaborated on this point (bold-type added)…
“For by Him all things were created
that are in heaven and that are in earth,
visible and invisible,
whether they are thrones, or dominions,
or principalities, or powers.
All things were created by Him and for Him.
He is before all things,
and in Him all things hold together.” (Col.1:16-17 MEV)
Everything was made by Him and for Him–invisible or visible–including all the powers of heaven and hell. But Paul makes another startling point–in Him all things hold together. This means that there’s nothing in any realm that’s outside of Christ. Nothing exists without Him or outside of Him.
This is why it’s utterly absurd to tell people that they need to “Make Jesus Lord.” He IS Lord! You can’t make Him anything!
As Dr. Kruger would say, if you can make Jesus Lord, then you are lord.
The fourth thing John wanted us to know is that Jesus wasn’t some guru we’re to follow to find eternal life; His life IS our Life.
“4 The Word was the source of life, and this life brought light to people.”
In fact, the New Testament informs us that Christianity is not a religion in the sense of all other world religions. Jesus wasn’t just a good teacher from long ago, and now we’re to follow His principles so we can live a moral life. No, Christ’s very life is the only Christian life (See John 14:6; Rom.6:1-6; Gal.2:20; Col.3:3; 1 John 4:17). More on this in the next two parts.
Finally, John tells us that this Light shines in our darkness and cannot be extinguished, whether we know it or not.
“5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out.”
What John is telling us here is that Jesus comes in the middle of our mess–our mythology about what we thought God was like, our fears, our woundedness and alienation–and He shines the light of His glory in our hearts.
Again, Paul gives us divine commentary (bold-text added)…
“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness,
has shone in our hearts to give the light
of the knowledge of the glory of God
in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Cor.4:6 MEV)
This “knowledge” is not head knowledge. It’s utterly profound and unearthly revelation of God’s glory shining in our hearts that changes everything about us from the inside-out. And what is this glory? It’s finally seeing Jesus in the Father living in us (John 14:20).
And this knowledge is able to coax us out of our darkest fear into the brightest light of His love. It’s about healing and wholeness, becoming fully alive, courageously walking with Him and toward the full knowledge of who we were created to be in Him.
Of course, I’m getting ahead of myself here…more next time.
I like, “As Dr. Kruger would say, if you can make Jesus Lord, then you are lord.” And likewise if we feel compelled to make the eternal un-created God completely understood and neatly packaged in our rational thinking, then we’ve made a god in our own image. O, my!!
That’s exactly right. And that’s how we’ve gotten our mythology about God. We project our brokenness and alien identities onto Him instead of letting Jesus inform us about Him by the Spirit. For instance, the image of “sinners in the hands of an angry God” persona, when it was really more like “a loving God in the hands of angry sinners!”
Mel, you had me at, “the “Word of God” is not the Bible–the Word is a Person.” When you write about the basics you remind me just why I fell in love with Jesus, why I came running into our Father’s arms, why I snuggle into the magnificent peace and love and grace of being His daughter, and why I rely daily on the Spirit to uplift me and fill me with His wisdom and warmth. Amen and amen, my brother.
Thanks Susan. And, just to be clear (for everyone reading), I’m not trying to minimize the importance of reading the Bible. It is inspired by the Spirit. What I’m trying to do is to get us to stop hiding behind it and experience Christ’s life, including whenever we read the Bible.
What you expressed here is exactly why Jesus came–He’s the original and master snuggler! 🙂
“What I’m trying to do is to get us to stop hiding behind it and experience Christ’s life, including whenever we read the Bible.”
Brought to mind the game of “hide and seek” – tucked away where we think we cannot be found – and then “booh – gotcha!”. If you ever played that, do you remember the suppressed giggles, the excitement and the fun? I wonder if that is why He hides in the words, the moments we’re not expecting – suppressing His giggles – waiting for us to stumble upon Him again and again! Making this wondrous relationship fun – always!
Amen, He hides His treasures for us not from us. Once of my favorite names for God is Jehovah Sneaky, 🙂
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