Merry Christmas Understanding Our Times Readers! I decided today’s post will be taken from a devotional I was asked to give at a church Christmas party last week. On my old blog, I had a feature I entitled “What I Meant to Say” where I posted the notes to various sermons, messages and speeches I had gvien. Of course, the posted notes and the actual message often differed greatly.
Well, this was the Christmas devotion I meant to give and I share with you all now:
I am one of those rare people that actually enjoys his job. I love teaching at Rock County Christian School. I teach Bible and civics, so I actually get paid to talk about religion and politics all day. This year, I have the privilege to teach systematic theology to my junior and senior students.
Recently we have been talking about theology proper, the study of who God is. Now, this can be challenging. How do you describe the indescribable? How can you define what you cannot completely comprehend? How can you truly communicate the essence of God?
We have a God who defies even the greatest of intellects. God is a spirit whose essence cannot be contained in a material body.
He is the invisible God who cannot be seen in His fullness but often reveals Himself only in small manifestations.
Theologians speak of His immensity in that God is infinite in relation to space.
We often marvel at the one who is eternal, having no beginning or end and is not limited to time but sees all time equally, yet works within the bounds of time that He Himself had created.
God is completely independent of His creation needing us for nothing, but using us in extraordinary ways.
He is also omniscient, knowing all things actual and potential perfectly and omnipotent, capable of doing all that is in His will.
He is also omnipresent – God is entirely present at all places at all times.
All of this is amazing, and then we think about God’s holiness. He is perfect in purity, completely separated from sin while we here in these limited human bodies are completely marred by the stains of our own sin.
In summary, God is transcendent, above and beyond our comprehension, and
So how do we talk about and teach others about this type of God? Yet, as Christians not only are we to talk about this God, we are to have a relationship with this God. How? How can we do this? The answer is – because this indescribable God stepped out of the realm of the unknowable and into the world of sinful men. Through the incarnation, God has given mankind the great revelation of Himself.
I believe this is the idea we need to keep in mind as we approach John chapter 1.
I have always found it very interesting that John uses the word word to describe God in this passage. Have you ever found that strange or odd? I have. Now, I always used to think about this in relation to Jesus being the Word of God and that was my way of explaining the meaning of this passage. Yet, this word has more meaning packed into it.
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
The ancient Greek philosophers had a concept for some sort of “abstract philosophical concept” which gave the world meaning, order and purpose. The name for this unknown force was Logos. As when they looked at this passage, they saw a concept they were familiar with literally step out if the realm of the theoretical and into the realm of the knowable. The unknown God that Paul refers to on Mar’s Hill has now made Himself knowable when “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” in verse 14. Look at verses 14-17:
We see God through the Son, Jesus Christ. This is what makes the incarnation such a spectacular event. We often talk about the true meaning of Christmas. And by that, many people mean we should say Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays. Many people suggest the true meaning of Christmas is a special time of warmth spent with family and friends. Yet, even some Christians limit the “true meaning of Christmas” to celebrating a mere a event – a babe in a manger.
14And 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. 15 John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.'”) 16And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
However, what great celebration of Christmas ought to be to reflect upon the great revelation God gave us that day and continues on till this day. God has revealed Himself to us through the great Emmanuel – God with us. Let that sink in. God dwelt among men. Some day men will again dwell with God in a perfect Kingdom not made by human effort. The sovereign God of all creation stepped into His creation to save a people for Himself. He has revealed Himself in His Son, lifting Him up so as to draw all men to Himself.
God has made Himself known. Now, let’s marvel in this revelation and cultivate an unquenchable desire to know Him more. Talk about the gift that keeps on giving…