Monday, December 24, 2007

The Real Miracle of Christmas

The most important aspect of Christmas is the fact that God was incarnate in Jesus Christ, born of a virgin, and came into this world “to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15). Without that important fact, the Christmas season has no biblical significance. And for the believer, it should be the most precious thing and the source for our joy. It is through this miracle that demonstrates how God relates to us and how we relate to Him. It is that fact that should be the continuous joy for the believer throughout the year.

But take a moment and ponder this great miracle. God, without abdicating His divinity and sovereign role as the great “I AM”, who always was and had no beginning, came into this world as part of His creation. Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, became a human being. Jesus existed from eternity past, He was not created. He was spirit without material substance until he became fully a man at what we call the incarnation. John 1:1 sums up this great mystery; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”(NASB) In speaking of His eternality in verse 2, it says “He was in the beginning with God.”

It is clear in Scripture that Jesus had a human body. John 1:14, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”, He was born into this world just like human babies are born (Luke 2:7), He grew like human children grow and increased in wisdom through learning (Luke 2:40, 52), He became hungry and became physically weary (Matthew 4:2,11). Jesus also died (Luke 23:46) and had a human body after His resurrection (Luke 24:39).

The fact that Jesus became flesh is not limited to the fact that He took on a human body, but rather the entirety of what comprises a human being. This includes the mind, will and emotions. Jesus had a human soul (in other words, “spirit”) and this is made clearly evident in passages such as John 12:27 where Jesus says “Now my soul has become troubled” and also John 13:21, “He became troubled in spirit”. Hebrews 5:7 illustrates that Jesus expressed His emotion when He cried out in agony to the Father as “He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears”. Jesus also exercised his will in submitting to the divine will of the Father (John 6:38; Matthew 26:42).

All of this was necessary so that Jesus could become like us “in all things” (Hebrews 2:17, NASB) in order to save us. He became like us in all respects with the exception of the stain of human sin in order to be the perfect sacrifice to rescue us from sin (Hebrews 4:15-16). It was necessary for Jesus to become fully like us in every way (body, mind, will, emotions) except sin in order to fully save us.

All of this great mystery is summed up in the uniting of the two natures, both divine and human in what is referred to in theology as the hypostatic union. This term may sound complicated, but it is really simple, but at the same time extremely profound. The term hypostatic simply means personal, and refers to the personal union of the human and divine natures of Jesus. Jesus is only one person, not two. And this concept is profound. These two natures come together in one person, Jesus, who is to be the focus of our worship. And it is the uniting of these natures that satisfies our longings and makes possible the fellowship that we can enjoy with our heavenly Father. It is this connection between the human and the divine that enables us to connect with God and satisfies the human soul.

It is my prayer that we as believers will continue to reflect on this great miracle long after the Christmas season comes to an end, and that it will be reflected on as we approach the celebration of Easter.

Merry Christmas to all!

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