I am a Christian pastor who wishes to bring glory to God in all that I do, and to help people through my writing to know Him better.
The Infinite Enters Time
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt amon us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:1-5,14).
The Sunday School Times tells the true story from World War II of a battle that took place in Northern France. The fog was heavy as the morning arose on that day. It was so thick that no one could see more than a few feet from the trenches in which they were lodged. During the night, the Germans had pulled back their ranks slightly and the French had moved up. And in between them was a single solitary farmhouse that was still standing despite the intense fighting of the night before.
As the sun arose, heavy guns began to be heard booming all around as the battle started again. But suddenly it stopped and there fell a strange dead silence. For there, in the green meadow, was a baby crawling on his hands and knees and playing gleefully. The child appeared perfectly happy as he clutched a dandelion. And his laughter was heard by all. Not a single shot was fired! A baby had changed everything.
For a while, this child had brought peace to this small part of the world. Yet another baby, over 2000 years ago, came to bring us peace as well. He came to bring peace with God, peace within ourselves and with our fellow human beings. He was and is the Prince of Peace. And his changes will last for all eternity.
I couldn't imagine what it would be like to leave the glories of heaven and enter this sin-cursed earth. Jesus, the Maker, and the Sustainer of the universe, the One who brought all that there is into existence by a word, became one of the most helpless creatures on this planet. He became a human baby. The infinite entered time. One who was pure Spirit became flesh and bone. He became Emmanuel: God with Us! And in that body, He has identified Himself with the human race forever.
I. The World He Entered
The world our Lord entered was a sorry mess. Not that he'd made it that way. For in the book of Genesis it is said:
"And God saw all that He had made and behold, it was very good." (Genesis 1:31).
However, man, in his pride decided that he could do things better than God. Paul, in Romans 1 tells us a little about this. He states:
For even though they knew him as God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks. But they became futile in their speculations and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and of four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (Romans 1:21-25).
Our sins today, in America, may not be idols of wood, gold or stone. But we have idols of money, sex, power, and fame. Sadly, the lie is that having all of these things will make us happy and fulfilled.
And because of man's idolatry, sin had all but destroyed the original pristine creation that came from the sovereign hand of a holy Creator. God had already chosen to destroy it with a flood and start over in the days of Noah, reducing it to eight souls, including Noah and his family (Genesis 6-10). But He refused to give up on his beloved creation.
Man's inhumanity to man abounded as they multiplied again upon the earth. Christ entered a world of rape, murder, theft, war, extortion and any other sort of vice of which the sin-warped human mind could conceive.
He entered a world that cared very little for God and didn't even notice that child who would forever change the course of history and existence itself. God didn't make an announcement to kings, queens or other officials that His one and only Son had begun His mission to bring the human race back to Himself. Instead, He announced it to lowly shepherds who were not even welcome in polite society.
He wasn't born in a palace, but in a stable, and was laid in a manger, an animal's feeding trough. He wasn't born of royalty, but His mother was a poor young virgin woman who became the wife of a carpenter. Jesus came, not to impress, but to save. He came to show God's love, mercy, and forgiveness for all mankind, and not just those who have some standing in this world.
II. The Teachings He Gave
Most people are fascinated with the teachings of Christ. Jesus informed us concerning the Kingdom of God and said that he who would be great in it must be the servant of all (Matthew 20:26). He taught us that the highest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds and souls. And He told us that the second highest is to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:35-40). But not only our neighbors, our enemies as well. For anyone can love a friend. It takes a special person to love an enemy (Matthew 5:43-48).
Our Savior demonstrated who God the Father was, not just by telling us, but by showing Him to us. For when we see Jesus, we've seen the Father (John 14:9). Indeed Christ taught not as a Scribe or a Pharisee, but as one who had the authority of Heaven, for He came from Heaven (Matthew 7:28-29).
We must realize that when we see Jesus weeping over Jerusalem or over his friend Lazarus, we know that there are things in his world that make God weep (John 19:41-44; John 11:35).
When we see Him getting angry at the money changers in the temple and chasing them out with a whip, we know that our God has a righteous anger over those who would profane his Word and His holy temple.
Looking at his exchanges with the Pharisees and his words to them, we see how much God hates hypocrisy of any kind (Matthew 23:13-39).
As we glance at how children loved Him and how He loved them we can know that God loves all the dear children of this world and expects us to treat them with love, dignity, and respect (Matthew 19:14; Luke 18:16-17). And may Heaven help us if any of us should harm them or cause the children to stumble. (Matthew 18:6).
As we observe the tenderness with which our Lord dealt with the woman caught in adultery, even though, by law she should have been stoned, we see God's tenderness in not condemning her. The beautiful words which came from the lips of our Savior are worth repeating. Here is the exchange between the two:
Then Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, Lord,” she answered. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Now go and sin no more.” (John 8:10-11).
What magnificent words indeed that come from the lips of God for this woman to hear. The only person in the universe who could have stoned her, let her go free! And the fact that, through faith in Jesus, we too stand equally uncondemned is nothing short of miraculous!.
And, finally, Jesus death on a cruel Roman cross, showed God's uncompromising love for a lost and otherwise hopeless world that He entered (John 3:16,17; 36).
These and many other exchanges between Jesus and the world, demonstrated, as no other miracles previously performed in the Old Testament could do, what God was truly like. His teachings were backed by His life.
III. The Mission He Fulfilled
However, the teachings of Jesus, though great and marvelous, pale in comparison to the mission He came to fulfill. The familiar John 3:16 tells us that God loved this world so much that He gave His only Son. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost (John 19:10). He came to destroy the works of Satan who is the eternal enemy of God and all that God wants to accomplish (I John 3:8).
Christ was born to die the death that sinful mankind should have died. God is Holy and cannot look upon sin (Habakkuk 1:13). We deserved to be separated from this holy God for eternity because all of us have sinned and fallen short of His glory (Romans 3:23). Without Christ, we were condemned to an eternity apart from all that is good and righteous in Hell due to God's wrath upon us (John 3:36).
Now, by faith in His name, we can become like God and share in the eternal rewards of Heaven. He suffered and bore our sins upon the cross so that we don't have to suffer an eternity in Hell, separated from a Holy God (II Corinthians 5:19-21).
And God the Father accepted that sacrifice for sin. This is demonstrated by the resurrection of our Lord from the dead. He is now seated at the right hand of the Father (Romans 8:34), and will one day return as King of Kings and Lord of Lords to take His rightful place on the throne (Revelation 19:16).
In the meantime, He is our Great High Priest that has entered into the Holy of Holies, Heaven itself, and is advocating on our behalf before the Father (Hebrews 4:14-16).
Because of what Christ has done, the Bible says that nothing can separate the true believer from the love of God. Paul says it plainly in Romans 8:38,39. He tells us:
" For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Jesus is the author and completer of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). He began it and will bring it to completion (Philippians 1:6). The mission He completed on this present earth of dying for our sins and rising again is the assurance of our future when He comes to set up a New Heaven and a New Earth. That is why the Apostle John can confidently say:
"These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life." (I John 5:13).
Our salvation is not about us. It's all about Him!
IV. The World He Left
In many ways, the world Jesus left seems unaffected by His entrance into it. Since He returned to heaven, man's inhumanity to man still abounds. There is still rape, murder, theft, war, extortion, and any other vice of which the sin-warped mind of man can conceive. Men still have their idols of gold and silver. And America still has their idols of money, fame, sex, and power.
But it is also changed. Lives are touched every minute of every day by the life-changing message of the Gospel. Families are brought back together, addictions are overcome, friendships are restored, and men and women are healed. People are given hope for a brighter future. And those who lose loved ones through death are comforted by the fact that they will see them again.
These things and many more will one day become a complete reality when we see the one who died for us coming out of heaven. He will come, not as a lowly infant, but as a conquering monarch. And the world He left will answer only to Him.
The Christ of Christmas is seated at the right hand of the Father, waiting for the Father's word to return again and restore this universe to the pristine creation which came from His hand. A creation in which every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10,11).
Be warned, those who ignore the Christ now. For you won't ignore Him then! He is Lord. That means that He's in control of everything. There is nothing and there is no one in this universe that will not one day answer to Him. Then the world He left will be under His rule forever. And that is as it should be for its Creator.
There is a beautiful song sung by Faith Hill entitled 'A Baby Changes Everything.' It is my hope that the last stanza of this song becomes the testimony of every person who reads this. It goes:
My whole life has turned around
I was lost but now I'm found
A baby changes everything, yeah
A baby changes everything
Literally, everything is affected by the Christ of Christmas. His death, burial, and resurrection have touched every inch of the universe in some way. And He's left each of us with a decision to make. Are we going to accept Him as our Savior, Lord, and King? Or do we choose to ignore Him like the world at His birth?
One day we will truly all bow before Him as the King. The question is, will we bow before our Savior, or will we be forced to bow before our judge who rightly condemns us for our sin? By the way, you don't make Jesus Lord of your life. He is the Lord of your life. And the sooner you acknowledge this fact, the better.
As surely as He came once, He'll come again. The question we all need to ask ourselves is this: "Am I ready for His return?" We get ready by accepting His gift of salvation now, while we still have breath in our bodies. Are you ready! The answer to that question has eternal consequences. So, please answer it wisely!
© 2012 Jeff Shirley