John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
How can we know God? How can we see Him? There is so much deep truth revealed in the first chapter of the Gospel according to John. We find that Jesus existed from eternity along with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. We find that all things were made through Him. And we find that He became the image of God to man.
Paul spoke of this truth also in Colossians 1:15: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” and in verse 19 “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell”. On that first Christmas, God truly came down to man. He walked this earth and did the things that humans do. He ate, drank, slept, worked, and learned. He got dirty and hungry and needed rest like anyone else. He did that for you, so that you could know Him.
God made a way for us to be closer to Him and to see Him. For those who lived during the right period in time, God walked in their midst. For us today, He’s revealed through the Bible, God’s Word. He’s there for us because He was born into humanity that night in Bethlehem. The Christmas story began before time existed.
Luke 2:7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
Why does the Bible point out that Mary gave birth to her “firstborn son”? The Bible minces no words, says nothing in vain. Everything has meaning. So why is this phrasing included in the story of Jesus’ birth? We already know from the previous chapter that Mary was to give birth to the Savior though she had never “known” a man. The Holy Spirit was to work in her to conceive the child. Knowing that, we’d know that this was her firstborn. So why mention it?
There are several reasons that this is significant wording. One is that King Herod had heard about this child who was to be born “King of the Jews”. Because he was a paranoid man (He actually killed his own sons because he considered them a threat to his throne), he had all of the firstborn sons of the Jewish people killed. Everyone that he thought could be this “king” was slaughtered. Jesus was a firstborn son, but He escaped the infanticide.
Another significant reason to mention that Jesus was the firstborn is that this is a title given to Him as the Son of God. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation (Colossians 1:15). Now in this case, the word doesn’t actually point to birth order but rather ranking or stature, but we see a picture painted here.
Maybe not lastly, but the last we’ll look at, is the idea that God always required the firstborn animal to be offered as a sacrifice in the Old Testament. The firstborn all belonged to God (Numbers 3:13). Jesus was HIS firstborn, and He offered Him as a sacrifice once and for all. That is why it means something that Jesus was the firstborn in this verse.
Micah 5:2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.
There were possibly hundreds of prophecies fulfilled in the birth of Jesus (depends on what scholar you ask). Some who oppose the idea of Jesus being the Son of God or the Messiah refute the prophecies by saying that Jesus knew of them and decided to live His life in a way that would make it seem that they had been fulfilled. But there are some (like the virgin birth!) that Jesus could not have had a hand in when it comes to choosing. How could an unborn child make sure that He was born under a star in the city of David, just like the prophet had foretold?
No, unless that baby was in fact God, there is no way He could have made that happen. Only the Creator who existed from eternity past could orchestrate such a thing. Only the designer of time and space could place Himself into history at just the right time to fulfill every one of those prophecies. Jesus was capable of being born in Bethlehem because He was involved in the planning of such an event.
No matter where it had been that He chose, it would have been part of a sovereign design for the redemption of God’s people. There is no other who has the power to save. That baby born in Bethlehem to a virgin mother and a noble adoptive father would grow in wisdom and in stature, live a sinless life, and die for the sins of the world. He was born in a town of little repute in a stable and died on a hill amongst thieves.
Matthew 1:17 So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.
It’s no mistake and no coincidence that Matthew chose to begin his Gospel account with the lineage of Jesus. While it may seem insignificant and we may choose to skip past this part of Scripture, every bit of it is intentional. Jesus did not appear out of nowhere. He was born to a specific human mother who was selected personally by God. His earthly father was a man who came from a line of Jews that stretched all the way back to Abraham, the father of the nation of Israel.
It was Abraham who first received a promise from God in the form of a covenant, David with whom God renewed His covenant, and the post-exilic Jews who were told of the Messiah’s coming. Each and every person in the history of Jesus’ genealogy is important as each of them has their own story. Just as you and I are the product of our family line, so too is Jesus the product of His. With the exception, of course, that He’s God.
Matthew’s inclusion of the genealogy shows the importance of the Old Testament to the New. The story of Israel is the story of Jesus. Those people who came before Him matter. God ordained that Jesus be born into a particular family, to a particular mother. But this was not the beginning of Jesus, only the beginning of His mission on earth. Jesus existed long before His birth on Christmas…
John 8:12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
All throughout God’s Word, there are contrasts between light and darkness. Again and again the metaphor of light is used to speak about God, especially when it comes to Jesus Christ. In the Gospels we learn that He is “the light of men,(John 1:4)” the “true light, (John 1:9)” and that “darkness has not overcome” (John 1:5) this light.
The thing that should be noted is that Jesus is not A light, He’s THE light. He’s not just light, He’s the light that overcomes the darkness. The darkness stands no chance.
Any earthly analogy actually fails to fully represent Jesus, so you can just imagine that light isn’t even a good enough description to help us understand Him. Something far greater than what we know light to be is really what He is, but we can’t comprehend that.
Take note, Jesus said that whoever follows Him will have the light of life. He didn’t say we’d experience it or that we’d see it, but that we’d have it as our own. If you’re His, He’s yours and there’s no separating you from the light. The darkness can’t prevail. Victory has already been won. The light wins.
John 6:34-35 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”
We’re all born with an inner longing to know God. Though we may not know what it is we’re seeking, we inherently know that there is someone greater than us. We have a spiritual longing. No matter who you are, this is true.
Throughout human history, people have attempted all sorts of ways to satisfy this spiritual longing, from creating religions to looking to the stars for answers. There’s something out there beyond us and we want to know what it is. The problem is that everything on earth fails to fulfill the need we all have. There’s nothing that gives us the answers or plugs the hole that needs to be filled. Nothing, but Jesus.
The Son of God revealed himself to be the bread of life, the fulfillment of all spiritual longing. The One who can answer the questions we don’t even know we have. He’s what we’re looking for. He’s who we’re looking for. He himself placed within us that desire to know Him and then He revealed himself. He wants to be known.
If you’re looking, that’s natural. If you sense that there’s something more, that’s because you’re meant to search. But if you keep looking after you’ve been given the answer, you’ll just stay hungry. Look no further than Jesus Christ. He’s the One you seek.
Luke 21:29-33 And he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
Signs. We’re all looking for signs. The same was true in Jesus’ day. The Pharisees, the Saducees, the disciples, the crowds, all looking for signs and wonders. They wanted signs that Jesus was really the Messiah, we want signs that He’s really there. They wanted to see miracles, we pray for riches and fortunes.
But Jesus was hesitant to gives signs to the people, even His own disciples. Even the famed “wars and rumors of wars” warning wasn’t so much of a sign as it was Jesus making a point that they weren’t signs of the end. This, He said, was only the beginning. He was telling them that they should always be ready for His return, at all times.
Mark 13: 7 And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet.8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.
There are some actual signs that Jesus tells of (Mark 13:24-27 for example), but He encourages His followers to learn a lesson from the fig tree. “As soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near”(Mark 13:28). He tells them, and us, to interpret the signs appropriately. Do not look at the fact that this world is passing away and despair over it. It’s a sign that the Son is returning. Don’t lose hope because these things are happening, because they need to happen. It’s all the more reason TO have hope!
Psalm 145:3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.
Nobody’s perfect, right? Nobody is truly worthy of being praised. Well, not exactly. There is only one who is worthy of all honor we could possibly ever give Him and then infinitely more. The God of the universe, our Father, is worthy to be praised.
It’s not all about what He does for us – for that we give Him thanks. No, what we praise Him for is simply who He is. Just His character alone makes Him worthy of worship. So who is He?
He’s the beginning of all things, the eternal Creator, the sovereign and omniscient Lord who calls, commissions, protects, and provides. He’s omnipotent and omnipresent, the first among equals in the Trinity, knowable and yet unknowable, a place to find refuge and comfort.
He’s our portion, our treasure, our Father who adopts us into His family, so good and great and just that He disciplines us for our own sake. He makes no mistakes, shapes all things and brings all things to completion. He’s a holy judge who is patient and rules out of love. He is awesome. And He is worthy of all praise and honor and glory – forever and ever.
Psalm 90:14 Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Where do you find pleasure? There are so many places in this world to look for fulfillment, but only one satisfies. The things of this world are vain, fleeting, finite, and altogether incapable of filling the void in our lives. They are limited and we’re just left wanting more, which leads us to continually search for that “one thing”.
The Psalmist knew the key to true joy that satisfies. The Lord’s love endures forever, it doesn’t fade, it doesn’t rust or wear out, it won’t leave us. We can be glad all our days if the place we look for fulfillment is in the Lord. In fact, this joy does not have to be sought. It’s a byproduct of seeking God first in our lives (Matthew 6:33).
When we prioritize God first, He adds to us blessings beyond what we can imagine (Ephesians 3:20) and the things this world has to offer seem like nothing in comparison.
1 John 5:6-12 This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
Are you ever afraid to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with someone? Are you ever timid to tell what you’ve seen and heard concerning the Son of God? Don’t feel too bad, you’re not alone. But we’re all called to share the Good News. It’s our job to proclaim it to all the world. But there’s more good news, the results don’t all rest on us.
The thing about being fearful when it comes to witnessing is that most of the work is actually done by the Holy Spirit, not by us. There’s no reason to be shy about sharing when we realize that we’re just a vessel used by God to reach other people with His message. He works in the heart of the person who hears the gospel and He works in you and me when we’re telling them. The Spirit testifies and He does it in the hearer and through the teller. Does that make you feel more at ease?
When you submitted your life to Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit made His home inside you and you are a walking, talking testimony for Jesus. The Spirit declares the Good News. We just need to be available to make it happen. There’s no need to be afraid. It’s not all up to us how things turn out. It’s just our job to speak up and let the world know that Jesus is the hope for all mankind.