Bible Reading: Luke 1:57-2:20
We covered the miracle kids yesterday, John and Jesus. Who Is He? The Two Miracle Kids. In a future post, I might go more in depth into John the Baptist, but for now, let us move forward by looking at Immanuel (Emmanuel). Also, I do not apologize for this post sounding like a Christmas message 🙂
When John was born to aging parents that was a miracle because of how unordinary that was/is for the average couple over their prime (to put it gently). When Jesus was conceived and born that was the greatest of all miracles (besides the results of the cross….). God becoming man is a great mystery as well!
1 Timothy 3:16 (ESV)
16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:
He was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated by the Spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory.
Immanuel– God with us. What a wonderful mystery! A further mystery is how he was still fully God and yet fully man! Certainly, we have trouble understanding this, but it should drive us to worship. In fact, it does call us to worship!
It was not expected that God should become man. Look at the expectations of the Jews during the life of Christ. They never expected that the Messiah would be God and that God would stoop down to their level and become like them! Yet, that is the great miracle. The miracle that would eventually lead to many other miracles where God intervenes on the behalf of man. It all started as this miracle took place, the birth of Jesus.
Luke 2:1–7 (ESV)
2 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
Note several important things in these verses. First, a decree that all men should be registered in the Roman Empire. This decree brings Joseph, with Mary and child, back to his hometown. Without the sovereign God directing the words of man to decree a worldwide census, Jesus would not have fulfilled the prophecies concerning all the details of the Messiah’s birth in the Old Testament. Second, notice that Joseph is from the line of King David. God is keeping his covenant with David by providing an heir that will reign on his throne forever! Third, the baby boy, Jesus, was laid in a manger. Now, we have a pretty robust theology of Christ as people living 2,000 years after the fact. However, imagine looking down at baby Jesus in the manger with the same knowledge you have now! Perhaps several passages of Scripture would be running through your mind like:
John 1:14 (ESV)
14 And 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.
Philippians 2:6–11 (ESV)
6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Colossians 1:15–17 (ESV)
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
The Alpha and the Omega was born to a virgin, placed in a humble manger, and looked like one of us. Yet, Christ possesses undiminished deity and perfect humanity in his person forever now. This is mysterious but true nonetheless. One of my professors from Bible College wrote on this subject, “There is a mysterious communion of attributes working in harmony without conflict: omnipotence and weariness; omnipresence and bodily limitations; omniscience and growing in knowledge; eternality and a birthday; life and death, existing at once in Jesus Christ.” (David A. Glock, Walking With Jesus, pg. 31).
Jesus’ parents, the shepherds, and the three wise men all struggled at putting these things together. We have the advantage of having 66 books of Scripture in a closed canon that helps us put the pieces together one at a time. Yet, we still ponder many things just as the Savior’s parents, shepherds, and wise men once did. But, we should follow the example of the shepherds who came and worshiped the baby Jesus. Immanuel– God with us. God manifested in the flesh.