Summary: How does the fact of the pre-existence of Christ affect us personally? 1. It means that Jesus is God and has the power to help. 2. It means God cares for us. 3. It means there is a plan.
What you see on the screen is a picture from a movie. It is a single still shot. You probably don’t know what movie it is from or what the movie is about. All you have is one moment in time from the movie which spans more than two hours. It is impossible to tell what this movie is about from this single frame. You could make up almost any story to go with it. You don’t know if it is a horror film, a romance, an historical drama or a documentary. You don’t know how it begins or how it ends. You don’t know who made the movie. You don’t know the plot or the story line. You don’t know the major characters, and which of them are the heros and which are the villains. All you know is the scene that you are presently seeing. This happens to be a scene from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Once you understand that, you probably know that the film is from one book of a set which actually consists of several volumes. If you have read the book, you may guess that this is a picture of the house where the children enter the wardrobe. You will know the beginning and end of the story. You know who wrote the book it is based on. You know the characters, the plot and the meaning of the story — all the things that you could never understand by seeing just one frame from the film.
The point is, there are many people who try to make sense of life by only looking at the brief moment they are alive in the world — a single frame of the movie. They take their little slice of the world’s history and assume they understand all of life without taking the trouble to learn any more. But they do not know what came before or what will come after. They do not understand who the major players are. They don’t know who created this world and gave life to us. They do not know the plot, the plan and the purpose of what this life is all about, because they don’t see the bigger picture.
It is the same in our understanding of Jesus. If you see a single picture of Jesus in a manger, you have no idea what came before and what comes after that picture. People often take one look at Jesus and assume they know all about him. They may make the mistake of simply thinking of him as an historical figure — that he was a man who lived and died about 2,000 years ago. These people miss the complete picture of who God is and what he is doing.
In the Scripture today, we read that Jesus was not just a religious leader who lived in one particular slice of the world’s history. He existed before the world began, and had a part in the creation. He was not born in the normal way, he came to earth from heaven. And there is even more to the story: he will return to the earth again and claim his rightful position as King of kings and Lord of lords. His kingdom will never end. In other words, Jesus existed before the world began and will reign long after the present world is over. He is the Lord of history. He is, as he has always been, in complete control of the world. He is eternal.
But what does this have to do with us personally? How does this intersect our lives? What difference does it make ultimately? There are many ways that this effects us personally, and one is: It means that Jesus Christ is God. It means that he is alive today and has the power to help us. There could not have been an incarnation of God if Jesus did not previously exist. This truth changes everything we understand about who God is and what he is like. If Jesus is God, then we know what God is like. John wrote: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched — this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us” (1 John 1:1-2). This means that we have a God we can know. He has revealed himself. He did not stay aloof and separate from us, but came to be with us.
But how do we know this is true? Doesn’t it seem strange to think that Jesus was not just an historical figure who lived and died in a certain period of time, rather that he has always existed as God? Not at all, if you believe that we serve a God of love who is pursuing us throughout history. Several scriptures speak to this truth. Jesus said, “No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven — the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life” (John 3:13-15). Jesus himself claimed to have come from heaven, and the purpose of this journey was to give the human family eternal life. That is why we call his message Good News.