It is possible to get so caught up in the details of Christmas that we lose the overall significance of this amazing God-becoming-man miracle called the incarnation. Take some time this week to step out of the details and take a 30,000 foot fly-over of what really happened at the incarnation. To do that, I suggest looking at two passages of Scripture side by side: Colossians 1 and Philippians 2.
Colossians 1:15-20 reminds us that this Jesus who took on flesh is also the eternal, omnipotent God who created the world and all that is in it and is sovereign over all of creation.
- “He is the image of the invisible God” – This phrase simply means that when you see Christ, you see God. It is that simple. God became a man, in part, to make his invisible attributes visible to us.
- He is “the firstborn of all creation.” – In the culture of the time Jesus was born, the firstborn had special rights and privileges that the other children did not have. Especially in a royal family, the firstborn would inherit the sovereign right to rule. This phrase is simply saying that Jesus has sovereignty over all creation.
- “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” – this is not vague wording! Jesus created everything that exists.
- “…and for him” – Not only was everything created by him and through him, everything was created for him. Everything in creation was created to glorify and serve Jesus.
- “And he is before all things” – Jesus is eternal. He existed before anything else.
- and in him all things hold together.” – Jesus holds all of creation together. Hebrews 1:3 says that Jesus “upholds the universe by the word of his power.” Without Jesus holding everything together, the universe would disintegrate into chaos.
- “And he is the head of the body, the church.” – Matt Chandler is not the head of The Village Church. The head of the body of Christ, the church, is Jesus.
- “He is the beginning” – Jesus did not come into existence when Mary gave birth to him. Not only was Jesus around at the beginning, Jesus IS the beginning. Everything begins with him.
- “the firstborn from the dead” – Jesus is immortal. Others were raised from the dead besides Christ, but they all died again. Jesus is the first to conquer death completely.
- “that in everything he might be preeminent” – Jesus is supreme and preeminent over all things.
- “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,” – Make no mistake about it (as if this wasn’t obvious from all the previous statements in this passage), Jesus IS God.
- “and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross” – this is why Christ came, to reconcile all things to God through the cross.
There is no passage in Scripture that makes it plainer that Jesus is God, Creator, Sustainer, Sovereign, Eternal, Immortal, Preeminent, and has all rights and privileges associated with all those things. He can do whatever he wants, because everything belongs to him.
Now look at Philippians 2:5-11.
- he “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped” – rather than holding tightly to his divinity, he gave it up
- he “made himself nothing” – he gave up his divine rights and prerogatives
- “taking the form of a servant” – Mark 10:45 tells us that Jesus didn’t come to be served, but to serve by giving his life to pay for our sins.
- “being born in the likeness of men” – he took on flesh
- “he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” – just remember when you see scenes of Christ on the cross or read about it when we do this at Easter, Jesus could have jumped off the cross at any point and said “I’m not going to do this for Greg. He doesn’t deserve it.” And he would be right.
- This Jesus who was born in a barn and put to bed in a dirty manger is “highly exalted”. His name is “above every name.” And one day, at the sound of that name, “every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” – more about this on December 25.
That Christ did all this for me and you is the wonder of Christmas. It is why I love this season of the year so much. God became something he wasn’t so that we could become something we could never be unless he had. The Creator took on created form. The Sustainer of all things had to have his diaper changed. The Eternal One took the form of a servant. The Immortal One died on a cross. He who is preeminent over all things humbled himself and gave up those rights to reconcile me and you to Himself.
That is what Christmas is all about.