Summary: Jesus' redemtive mission is hinted at even in the vey beginning chapters of Genesis. This message explores the Christmas Story in light of prophetic scriptures. It is a real encouraging and eye opening piece.
JESUS FROM THE BEGINNING (part 1)
Pastor Eric J. Hanson
December 1, 2013.
At this time of year, believers in Jesus Christ need to take time to reflect on the wonderful things God has done through the Lord Jesus. First of all, God became a man. This is the very heart of what is called “The Christmas Story”. The theological term for God becoming Man is the Incarnation.
Why did the Incarnation take place? This miraculous event had to take place in order for God to be able to pay the price needed for people to ever be able to receive forgiveness from our huge debt of personal sin against a holy God.
• No ordinary man could have ever accomplished this, because sin has tainted every single one of us. (See Romans Chapter 3.)
• God had to do it himself, because only He is perfectly Holy.
• His love for us compelled Him to do so.
Let’s look now at the scriptures which teach us about this
pivotal intervention by God, into human history.
As far back in the Bible as Genesis 1:1, God revealed Himself as one being who is more than one person. The word “God” in that very first verse of the Bible is the Hebrew compound term “elohim” which means the “God (singular) who is plural”. Genesis expanded on this first inkling in verse 26, where God said “Let Us make man in Our image.” Here was the one God, speaking of himself, using the plural to do so.
Now let’s turn to the New Testament and pick this theme up there:
Please read the Gospel of John, Chapter 1: 1-18.
Notice that the Word (greek: logos) was with God and also was God, and was with God “in the beginning”. This same “logos” (God the word) became flesh in verse 14 of this passage. In verses 10-13 John described the characteristics of this one who became “flesh” and who lived among us.
• He was the one through whom the World had been created.
• He came to the Jewish people (leaders) who rejected Him.
• He gave the right to become Children of God to all who would believe on Him. –They would become “born of God”. (This is the New Birth, expanded upon in chapter 3.)
John plainly stated the pre-existence of Jesus Christ in verse 15. Then He spoke with great wonder in verses 16 and 17, about the grace and truth Jesus brought to Earth. He capped this introduction off with verse 18, explaining that God “the one and only” or God “the only begotten” has made God (the Father) known (to us).
Let’s turn now to Philippians and learn more about what it was like for God to come to Earth as a man, in order to pay the penalty for your sin and mine.
Please read Philippians 2:5-11.
Here are the humbling realities that God embraced when He became the man Jesus the Christ, through the Incarnation; and the steps that He took, in order to accomplish His mission of rescuing us from sin’s penalty.
1. He was God, but didn’t “grasp” tightly to the privileges of that.
2. He made Himself to be “nothing”, a servant.
3. He took on human flesh and became a man.
4. He humbled himself totally: to the point of death on a Roman Cross; the lowest and least esteemed death possible.
Then God the Father did the following things.
1. He exalted Jesus to the highest level (or place).
2. He made Jesus’ name greater than all other names.
3. He decreed that every knee shall bow to Jesus Christ, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord. (This confessing of Jesus as Lord takes place in the lives of all believers here on Earth. It shall take place at the final Judgment, on the part of those who are unbelievers here.)
I shall now fill in a few blanks for you, in order to complete this picture.
• During the years Jesus lived here on Earth as a man, he “went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil.” (Acts 10:38) Truly he was the servant of all who looked to Him.
• “He was tempted in all ways, yet without sin”. (Hebrews 4:15)
• He fulfilled huge numbers of Old Testament prophecies about the coming King (the Messiah) of Israel who would also be the “Suffering Servant”. (Isaiah 53 and many other places)
• He was raised from the dead on the morning of the third day (having died on the first day) by the Glory of God/God the Holy Spirit. (Luke 24:1-7)