One upside of Christmas time is the increased awareness of Jesus in Western culture but I often wonder if misplaced attention is better than no attention at all. Western culture today is more than willing to put a baby Jesus on the shelf with all the other truth claims and religions that are out there but today’s Western culture is very resistant to granting Jesus His ultimate authority. Part of the irony is that tolerance and plurality are of the highest value in our culture, only if you agree with what our culture tolerates. Our culture says, ‘You can believe anything you want as long as you believe the same as us.’ I can believe that Jesus is, “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14: 6) and that “salvation is found in no one else” (Acts 4: 10-12) as long as I don’t really think that is true.
The claims of the Bible are not actually exclusive at all! Anyone who trusts in Christ alone can be saved! The offer of salvation is open to all, but not open for redefinition. In this time of nativity scenes and plastic icons, here are three verses about Jesus that seem to get missed as we celebrate His birth:
1. Col 1: 19 “… in Him the fullness of God was pleased to dwell…”
The thought that the fullness of the Creator that made the Grand Canyon was contained completely in the form of a homeless urchin, lying in a feed trough absolutely blows my mind. We often revel in the humble form of Jesus but the reciprocal statement is also true: How profound is it that this humble baby was, at the same time, in full form, lacking nothing, God Almighty in the flesh. Jesus was that humble but at the same time he was that Majestic! Col. 1: 19 reminds me of Jesus’ undiminished holiness.
2. Heb. 1: 3 “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.”
Jesus, son of God not only resembles God but bears the very stamp of his nature: his DNA as Almighty creator! I have four boys that resemble me and, Lord preserve us all, they acquire more and more of my characteristics every day (both good and bad). No matter how much like me they act or seem, they will never be me. Not Jesus though; He wasn’t just like God, He was God in every way.
The end part of the verse is also very cool. The ‘word’ of Jesus upholds the whole universe! Things are the way they are because He said so! It leads to a third verse that is often forgotten at Christmas:
3. John 1: 1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”
John begins his gospel with this profound thought that you could write pages and pages about. I love what my Grandpa Art wrote about it on the pages of the last Bible he owned:
- Jesus is the proclamation of God
- Jesus existed with God before anything existed
- Jesus is God
John goes on to say that Jesus was the means by which the world was created. Without Jesus nothing would have happened. He uses the words “in the beginning” to remind the reader of the first verse of the Bible Gen. 1: 1 where God spoke the world into existence. That is what it means to be God: You talk and things happen. This baby Jesus in the feed trough, full of God’s essence, reflecting God’s glory, will speak and change the created order.
- When he tells the dead to wake up, they wake up (Mark 5: 35 – 43; John 11: 38-44)
- When he speaks to withered flesh it responds to his call (Matt. 12: 9-14)
- He orders the weather around (Luke 8: 22 – 25)
When He is murdered by his enemies, He passes through death and he orders it’s extinction. Death will only last a little while longer. He then breaks out of His own tomb! In case there is any doubt! This “infant lowly” is also mighty Saviour Lord forever and ever.