Summary: Do we really understand the 'Who' of Christmas? Who exactly is this Christ child?
This is our second Sunday of the series, “Jesus is the reason for the season” and our 4 Christmas questions. If you remember last week’s message we answered the first question; “WHERE did the idea of Christmas originate?” That answer took us on a journey back before creation itself, back to the very mind of the Triune God. There we considered the ‘Covenant of Redemption’ between God the Father and God the Son and how Christmas was a link in history and part of God’s eternal plan and purpose. We saw how wonderfully BLESSED believers are; How we are IMPORTANT in God’s plan; and how we can have absolute CONFIDENCE in God’s promises. Last week we focused on WHERE and what they did in that covenant.
Today, we’ll move onto the 2nd question and focus on the WHO? Who was the chief character within the Covenant and the central character of Christmas. Again, this week, this topic will take us into some profound truths of Scripture but, in the end, we will better appreciate why, ‘Jesus is the reason for the season.”
But we do NOT start with JESUS. Rather we start with John 1:1-2, which reads;
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.”
Here is the clearest and most powerful declaration of the Deity and pre-existence of Christ in Scripture. In the Greek the last words of v.1 actually read, “And God was the Word.” A.W. Pink notes;
“This wonderful verse contains three things. It tells us that our Lord Jesus Christ, here called the Word, is eternal-that he is a distinct person from God the Father, and yet most intimately united to Him- and that He is God.”
The Word or LOGOS is Christ. Theologically, at this point, it is incorrect to speak of JESUS, for that name is attached to His human birth as the God-Man. In the beginning he is referred to as the WORD. In the beginning WAS THE WORD. He did not become the Word, he existed as the Second person of the Trinity, as the Son from all eternity, what theologians call, “eternal generation.” In other words, God the Son existed before His incarnation and being named Jesus. He DOES NOT BECOME THE SON OF GOD at the birth. If we look at Col.1: speaking of Christ we read;
“He is the image of the invisible God...he is before all things...for God was pleased to have his fullness dwell in him...”
And Heb.1:3 confirms this;
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being...”
This tells us that NOT ONLY was the Word in the beginning, but that the Word is God. In Isa. 48:11 the LORD declares;
“I will not yield my glory to another.”
For He alone is God. Yet in John’s gospel, ch.5:23, Jesus makes a statement that either proves His divinity or would be blasphemous. Jesus said;
“that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.”
To honor is to give value to someone and Jesus claims the same honor, the same value, as that which The Father receives. Unless Jesus was God, to claim the honor or glory that belongs to God would be sacrilege. Jesus makes other statements that would be shocking if not true.
“I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (Jn.14:6 ) That’s a VERY exclusive statement.
In Lk.5: 20-21, Jesus said;
“Friend, your sins are forgiven.” The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, ‘Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone.” Then Jesus said, “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins...He said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” Immediately he stood...”
Forgiveness of sins is a prerogative of God alone.
This is precisely the argument C.S. Lewis made in his classic book, Mere Christianity. In his famous trilemma, he wrote;
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”