Greetings friends around the world! A very happy Christmas and a blessed New Year!
I would like to share scriptural references about the ultimate purpose of Jesus, which gives us the whole reason for His birth. We would not properly understand the story of Christmas if we are oblivious to the story of man itself! So the beautiful story of humanity comes to us by answering the questions of why, what, and how, of the story of Christmas. The story of Christmas is God’s own story about all humanity.
First, let us begin with this passage from John 14.
Thomas had inquired about the Father’s presence, and Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you really know Me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him. Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know Me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in Me? The words I say to you I do not speak on My own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in Me, who is doing His work. Believe Me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me” (John 14:6-11).
Rublev’s Icon of the Trinity
Now, this passage obtains its origin from Matt.28:18-20, when Jesus uttered the most important passage of God’s trinitarian nature when He said, “Then all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt.28:18-20).
Here, Jesus reveals His true identity – Jesus is the Second Person in the Triune Godhead. Jesus is repeating His prior statement, “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in Me? The Words I say to you I do not speak on My own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in Me” (John 14:10). So, Jesus’ finds His origin in the Triune God. He emanates from God and is Himself God. As John stated, “In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word (Jesus) was with God, and the Word (Jesus) was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:1-5). This passage tells us that Jesus was the very Creator who brought the universe into existence, material and otherwise.
Paul affirms this wonderous truth, saying this, “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in Him (Jesus Christ) all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Col.1:15-17, also 1 Cor.8:6).
Here, we have established two facts about God Himself. He is trinitarian in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Matt.28:18-20) Second, that Jesus’ own roots is founded in God Himself as the Second Person of the Triune Godhead. On His human side, when Jesus was born, His familial ancestry finds its roots through David and Abraham to reveal His human origin, as the Scripture states through Isaiah the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son, and they will call Him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”) (Matt.1:23; 1-17). The two facts unite to reveal both of Jesus paternal (or Fatherly) and maternal (or motherly) origins, hence, He is called, Immanuel which means “God with us” (Matt.1:23; Matt.1:20-25).
In John we read God the Father’s purpose of giving Jesus as the human Savior, “For God (Father) so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16; also, John 1:18; John 3:18). So, the Father’s reason for surrendering His Son was motivated by Love and eternal life in God’s spiritual realm. All through Scripture we will read about God’s Love for His human children and their celestial destiny.
In Paul’s letter to the Colossians, He said something marvelous about God’s Love for humanity, “Your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Col.3:3). Then Paul reiterates what the Father decreed earlier, “When Christ, who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory (resurrection)” (Col.3:4; John 3:16). Yes, God’s Love dictates that your life is now hidden in Christ. The Psalmist expounds this further, “You (Christ) are my hiding place; You (Christ) will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My Loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you” (Psa.32:7-8). Here, we see the Father further expounds about His Love for humanity. (John 3:16)
But let’s not stop here, for the Scripture promotes God’s Love to a more acute sense of human realization with these awe-inspiring words. You see, we’re living in the in the divine Love-force of Almighty God, our Father and His Son. Listen carefully, “God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made Him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; He made us pure and holy, and He freed us from sin” (1 Cor.1:30). God has made Christ become our “divine wisdom.” What does that mean? Paul answers as follows, “Christ made us right with God; He made us pure and holy, and He freed us from sin” (1 Cor.1:30). That is the “divine wisdom” of God, the divine Love-force conferred upon us in and through Christ.
Yes, finally in the end we can justly conclude, “‘For in Him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are His offspring.’” (Act.17:28). We “live and move and have our being” in Him.” Can you live without Him, can you move without Him, can you exist (have our being) without Him? In that one verse we have said everything that needs to be said about human life – to live, move, and exist as a human being is to do so in Christ. It is on the basis of these Scriptures and many more I have not shared with you today, that we turn to the Bible to read of Jesus’ birth.
One final word, “For every child of God defeats this evil world (of Satan), and we achieve this victory through our faith” (1 John 5:4). Satan has always been at work to defeat God’s work in you and me – but his evil deeds cannot defeat the “faith of Jesus” residing in us. Just as Paul said, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Gal.2:20, KJV). Yes, “The life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” Paul told the Ephesians, “I pray that Christ will make His home in your hearts through faith” (Eph.3:17). You have heard some of the beautiful truths about why God gave up His Son for us. Do you believe? Faith is like a plant you have to water and look after to make it grow.
There is no other way to come before the presence of the holy God, our heavenly Father, except through the faith of Jesus. Faith is the very lifeblood of the Christian life. Each of our place in God’s presence was initiated by Jesus Himself when He took our fallen humanity upon Himself as the Immanuel, rescued it by living the perfect human life, then sacrificing Himself for our redemption and restitution.
Finally, now turn with me to Luke 2:1-20 in respect of the Birth of Jesus: “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.”
The Birth Of Jesus in Bethlehem
“When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So, they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” (Luke 2:1-20) What a marvelous record of Jesus’ birth through the Gospel of Luke.
Jesus lived the perfect human life, was called to surrender His life for our restitution, and on the third day was resurrected to divine/human immortality. Before His ascension to the Father’s right hand, Jesus reminded the disciples, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift (of the Holy Spirit) my Father promised, which you have heard Me speak about” (Act.1:4, italics mine). With the gift of the Spirit, God now unites Himself in His whole Triune Being with humanity.
Then the day of Pentecost came, God poured the Holy Spirit upon those who were gathered as Jesus instructed. (Act.2:1-4) On that day, Peter was empowered by the Holy Spirit, spoke to the people and essentially gave them the divine mechanics by which humans are made holy, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Act.2:38). Thus, we see the activity of the Triune God through the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, working together to bring humanity to salvation.
Finally, I will conclude with this passage from Revelation, (Rev.21:3) “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, (recall where this loud booming voice was coming from? The throne of God) “Look God’s dwelling place is now among the people (with humanity), and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God” (Rev.21:3).
Until we meet again in my next post, may the blessings of Christmas be with you and your loved ones. Be strong in the Lord’s joy.
Kiang (Your Servant in Christ)
Appendix: *The “Love-Fruits of the Holy Spirit:” *the fruit of patience, *the fruit of kindness, *the fruit of contentedness, *the fruit of modesty (unboastful), *the fruit of humility, *the fruit of honor, *the fruit of unselfishness, *the fruit of calmness and dignity, *the fruit of forgiveness and compassion, *the fruit of delighting in good and shunning evil, *the fruit of tolerance, *the fruit of responsibility, *the fruit of enduring hope, *the fruit of steadfast perseverance, *the fruit of joy, *the fruit of peace, *the fruit of goodness, *the fruit of faith, *the fruit of gentleness, *the fruit of self-control, *the fruit of zeal and spiritual fervor, *the fruit of friendship, *the fruit of sharing and generosity, *the fruit of prayerfulness, *the fruit of hospitality, etc. (1 Cor.13; also Gal. 5:22-23; Rom. 12:9-21).
These attributes may seem ordinary and mundane, but when empowered and propelled in the Spirit’s power, they are transformative elements of divine change in human life. As Paul affirms, “And this is my prayer: that your Love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God” (Phi.1:9-11).
**”Triune Life”: Relationship with God has no meaning without Love. By its very nature, Love cannot endure in solitary existence. So, when God said “Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness…” He was revealing Himself as existing in His trinitarian existence. That is, His Tri-Personal Being as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Gen.1:26; Matt.28:19; John 14:10, 16; 16:7) The Hebrew word for ‘God’ in the creation account is “Elohim.” It describes God in His plurality, as the Trinity – the Tri-Personal Godhead, which other scriptures attests. (Matt.28:18-20; 1 Pet.1:2; 2 Thess.2:13; 2 Cor.13:14) So, God is Trinitarian in His Love nature. He is also clothed in Freedom. For the three Persons of the Trinity are three distinct and free Persons in the triune Godhead. Love and Freedom by nature is relational as God is in His Tri-Personal Being. Hence, a human being was created a relational being possessing freedom.
Adam was solitary and incomplete until God made Eve. He said, “It is not good for the man to be alone (solitary). I will make a helper suitable for him” (Gen.2:18, italics mine). So, God gave Adam a family to raise composed of a father, mother, and offspring, to reflect Himself in His plural Being. The Bible states that the Church’s or humanity’s destiny is to marry Christ, the second Person of the Triune Godhead, in the new age to come which will be an everlasting divine relationship. (2 Cor.11:2; Eph.5:23-27, 32; Rev.19:7) The Bible is abundantly clear about God’s nature and declaration of Himself in His relational Triune Being from the past, the present, and the future. God has never lived as a solitary Being, but a Tri-Personal Being.
It’s noteworthy to understand that Eve was not created an individual creation from the dust of the earth as was Adam. She was not created apart from Adam as an individualized separate human being, instead, she was taken out from Adam’s side to show she was biologically one and indivisibly part of Adam, like God is in His Tri-Personal Being of the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit. Eve was not detached (solitary) from Adam, but intrinsically inseparable from Adam’s innermost humanity, as God is in His divine triunity. When Adam saw Eve, he said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man” (Gen.2:21-23) God created humanity to reflect Himself in His unified Tri-Personal Being (Trinity).
Rublev’s Icon of The Trinity (Wiki Commons)
Each one of us was created as an indivisible relational human being incubated and given birth from Adam’s mold as one species, for God created humanity to reflect the eternal likeness in His triunity. We are born for relationships with the divine triune Love as our guiding principle. All this show that humans were created to be indivisibly one to reflect God’s Tri-Personal image of Oneness (Trinity), not solitary separateness. When God sent Jesus His eternal Son, He became human in order to unify humanity spiritually to the Triune Being of God through Christ once for all time. Hence, when the prophet Isaiah proclaimed Jesus’ coming, He was given the prophetic name, Immanuel. (Isa.7:14) The name means “God with us” (Matt.1:23). Humanity is ‘organically’ one with the Triune God through Christ, just as humanity is one with Adam.
Most religions believe God as some solitary being. The true God is not solitary by any means, He is the one Triunity in His Tri-Personal Being. God consist of three Persons in One divine triune Godhead. (Matt.28:18-20) They exist in One “homoousion” meaning consisting in one substance, or “consubstantiality.” The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit exist in One hypostatic union, One substance, like Eve was biologically part of and never physically separate, but of one substance from Adam, for she came out of Adam. Likewise, humanity is made of one spiritual substance with the triune God through Jesus Christ who took our humanity upon Himself and joined it to the divine triune existence forever.
The three-dimensional Triune Life/Love is opposed to living the one-dimensional solitary life of the fallen humanity inherited from Satan through Adam’s rebellion. For additional information about the Triune Life: http://bulamanriver.net/?p=8036. Also at: http://bulamanriver.net/9092.
**Bulamanriver: To read the different facets of the life of the Bulamanriver, you may obtain a copy of my book, “Bula” Man-River, from Amazon.com; xulonpress.com, barnesandnoble.com, and other online book stores. All proceeds will go towards furthering the work of Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world.
Bulamanriver Book Cover
Mission Statement: Read the Triune Love Mission, Vision, and Value statements at: http://bulamanriver.net/8664
All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.
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