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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas message: Mission Impossible

I was inspired this morning to look at the story of Jesus' birth, to see what we might glean from the events, and what was said about Him.  Three things stood out to me.

First, the  contrasts between Himself and John the Baptist.Frame this in the passage from Matthew 11:11, where Jesus said, "No man born of woman is greater than John the Baptizer".  How great is that?

Well, if you look at Luke, he describes John as "great in the sight of the Lord".  In other words, God chooses to see him as great.  But in 1:32, Jesus is described by the Angel as "great".  No qualifier.  So a man may not be that great before an angel- even if the Lord God sees him as so- but Jesus was, even then, seen as great BY the angels.

Second, the passage from Matthew 1:23 leads us to the prophecy in Isaiah 7:14-15, where the child Immanuel is described as, "Curds and honey shall He eat, that he (or "till He") may know to refuse evil and choose the good."  I had to dig at this phrase, and different commentators drew different meanings.
-that he would be raised as any human child, and would learn as we do to make good choices.  This is born out later when Jesus is described as a child as "growing in wisdom and knowledge" , though the same story also reminds us that He had a pretty sizable advantage (as it came after Mary and Joseph found Him in the Temple teaching the elders).
-that these were the common food of children IN times of plenty- thus saying both that He would have a "normal" childhood for the day, and that He was not, despite who He was, living on "Angel food".  His spiritual food might have been with His Father, but the day to day food was just like anyone else.

John, however, was described as eating locusts and wild honey.  Locusts were indeed eaten in those days (and still today, apparently).  However, the commentator Barnes notes that "they were only eaten by the poorest people", and that "never as a main dish, but everybody takes a handful as they're hungry."  This despite the fact HE grew up in a priest's home.  While John might be seen as an ascetic, Jesus was everyday people.

Finally, look at Luke 1:17.  John  would walk "in the Spirit and power of Elijah."  In other words, the same power the Holy Spirit granted to Elijah (and in double portion to Elisha) would power John.  But Jesus?  He was in origin FROM the Holy Spirit (Matt 1:21), was to be the Son of God (Luke 1:35), the pre-existent Word of God (John 1:1-2, Micah 5:2, Luke 1:33).  Despite the similar beginnings, John was just a man; Jesus, though He would be raised a man, was much more.


Second thing I zeroed in on was the deity of Jesus.  I noticed a lot of qualifiers in the story- the Angel used the phrase He shall be called a few times, when describing Him as Son of God (Luke 1:35) or Son of the Highest (Luke 1:32).  But the Angel also explained that God would give Him the throne of "His father David"  which thus ties Him to the prophesy by David in Psalm 110, which Jesus then explains in Luke 20 requires the Messiah to be more than just a man.  And note that the Wise Men from the east didn't seek the Child as a curiosity- they came in order to worship Him (Matthew 2).  And nobody put it better than John:

Joh 1:1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 
Joh 1:2  He was in the beginning with God. 
Joh 1:3  All things came into being through Him, and without Him not even one thing came into being that has come into being. 


Third thing I zeroed in on was the impossibility of Jesus.  Impossibility that included His NOT being made of man; and thus, could not be comprehended by sinful man (John 1:5), could not be known by the world (v10), and thus they would not receive Him (v11).  Man could not, by reason of his fallen nature, grasp what was going on.  And still doesn't in many areas.  They argue, even those who believe, that Mary could not have given virgin birth (see two week's ago's Sunday Message).  That He was not TRULY God's Son (Despite Psalms 2:7 and and 11-12). And argue with Him over it (as in John 8).  But God doesn't rest on what man can conceive, as the Angel told Mary in Luke 1:37, "Nothing is impossible with God."



Oh,  there was a fourth thing- the reason for His coming.  These reasons were most succinctly put by the Prophecies of Zacharias (Luke 1:68-75) and Simeon (2:32-5):

-To be a Horn of Salvation;
-To save us from the enemy;
-To perform God's promises of mercy, and fulfill His covenant;
-To bring revelation to the Gentiles and glory to the Jews;
-To bring about the rise and fall of many;
-To be a sign spoken against;
-And to be the revealer of men's hearts.



So to sum up, we learn right from the start:  Jesus was God become human, yet still God.  Impossible?  Only to the conceptions of fallen man.  To God, it was all part of the plan, and Jesus was the fulfillment.  Happy and Blessed Christmas, everyone!

2 comments:

  1. Chris:
    Very well stated...
    (let the atheists chew on that one for a while...heh

    DO have yourselves a blessed and merry CHRISTmas as well.

    Stay safe & sound up there, brother.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes yes yes I so liked this post, I have had a good Christmas in fact I would say it was a bloody great day

    ReplyDelete