With every story, the best place to start is at the beginning. So, when we retell the Christmas story at this time of year, we find its back story – the set up for the plot, in the book of Genesis and in the magnificent treatise found in my favourite book in the Bible – John’s Gospel.
The book of John happens to be my favourite because of how John was close to Jesus as he refers to himself as “the one whom Jesus loved” in John 19:26...
"Then when Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, Woman, behold your son."
I deeply relate to John’s heart and desire to aspire to his level of intimacy with the Lord.
John 20:31 tells us the very reason why his book was written and it could be said that this is the reason the entire Bible was given to us by God. His message is...
But these things are also written that you may believe that Yeshua is The Messiah, the Son of God, and when you believe, you shall have eternal life in his name.
So in the beginning of John’s Gospel, he gives us the back story of the Christmas story which begins before time began... (John 1:1-5)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
We are given an amazing insight to just how the “darkness” did not understand or comprehend the plan of God’s salvation in 1 Corinthians 2:8.
“...which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”
The “Rulers of this Age” totally missed what was happening and their darkened comprehension left them blind to the light that had come and His ultimate purpose.
John continues his magnificent treatise in John 1:6-16...
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
This is the awesome reality of the Christmas story, that the Word became flesh... God became the baby in the manger, and this was His plan from the very beginning... that we would become the children of God.
12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
We note that in both John’s account and in Genesis, Jesus is revealed to be the Creator and that one of His awesome creative attributes is light.
Let’s consider a word about light... Genesis 1 says
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
What is light? It is one of the foundational aspects that defines our universe. Albert Einstein’s famous equation “E=mc2” tells us that there is a direct relationship between all matter (M), energy (E) and the speed of light (c2), which implies aspects of Time and Space. In recent science, particularly Quantum mechanics, man has discovered that time does not function in a linear fashion. The reality about time is that it does not function as we experience it. The recent science fiction movie “Interstellar” uses this reality as an important plot element. In this movie, time is shown to be experienced differently relative to a person’s location and speed, particularly in proximity to a massive gravitational field. Now before I lose you with these scientific details, please let me explain as I tie this into the Christmas Story.
In fact, science begins to substantiate our understanding of the cosmos from what the Bible teaches us. Time for God is very different than how we experience it. This aspect of God is revealed in 2 Peter 3:8...
8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
Getting back to the concept of light... again it is John who says in 1 John 1:5...
5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.
When light travels it relates to time very differently from us who are time bound. A ray of light traveling from one side of the universe, when it reaches us, only shows us what an event looked like millions of years ago, when, in fact, to that ray of light, only a moment has passed. So, in essence, all of time may have passed for us, but only a moment has taken place for that beam of light.
In reality this is how God see things. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. That is why He is omniscient, every thing that ever will be, for Him, has already come to pass. He knows what we will decide, even before we — of our own volition, make the decision. This concept by no means takes away the accountability we have for our own actions, even though it is clear that not everything that happens on earth is what God desires. Our free will is still intact despite God’s foreknowledge. It just happens that God is beyond time and knows the outcome due to His perspective having created the dimension of time itself.
2 Peter 3:8-9 states...
8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
Which brings us back to the “Reason for the Season”... Paul brings God’s perspective on the flow of time and our destiny in Romans 8:29
29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
The reason why Christ came was so that we could become God’s children and be gloriously conformed to His image and become like Him. Just as children have their parents DNA they therefore display similar physical qualities. So, as Jesus came in the flesh, we have the destiny to become transformed, to become like Him because we are God’s children.
Revelation 13:8 says... All who dwell on the earth will worship him (in this context the “him” refers to the “Beast – the Anti-Christ), whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
Here we see that God’s plan of redemption was established before the foundation of the world at a moment when time itself had not become its current reality. It was in the heart of God to redeem us even before we existed, knowing each of us individually in advance!
1 Pet 1:18-21 gloriously explains the foreknowledge of God in regards to our redemption...
18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you 21 who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
Our redemption was and is God’s plan from the beginning. We are not plan B. It was His intention before time began to call you to Himself, so that you could experience His lavish love.
In the beginning we see the promise of Christmas... Genesis 3:15 The Lord decries over Satan the serpent... (the scripture is in italics and my comments in brackets)
And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed;
(in the Bible, only the seed of man is referred to, not woman – this is a reference to the virgin birth Isaiah prophecies)
He shall bruise your head, (Satan defeated) And you shall bruise His heel. (Christ crucified)
Isaiah 7:14 prophecies the virgin birth that is so much a part of the message of Christmas...
14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.
Isaiah 9:6-7 brings the Christmas narrative hundreds of years before it came to pass. I can’t help but hear the strains of Handel’s Messiah when I read this scripture...
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
So not only has the Lord planned for redemption for us as individuals, but His plan encompasses the renewal of the whole world. This change in world history is imminent.
But the good news is that this transformation is available for us right now! 1 John 3 joyfully informs us...
1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
That is why all year round we can sing... “Joy to the World the Lord has come!”
His love has come to us, and because of this we are transformed. We have the hope of His coming, but we also have unspeakable Joy because we are becoming like Him. This was the purpose of His first advent! What a hope in what He will bring in His second advent, but the resurrection of the dead and the renewal of the whole world!
2 Corinthians 3:17-18 tells us of this great hope...
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
At the birth of Messiah Jesus, the angels proclaimed in Luke 2:14...
“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
Truthfully we have not yet seen too much peace and goodwill here on earth since that day. But from God’s perspective, His timeless perspective, the work of salvation that was planned from the foundation of the world was a good as accomplished. Ultimately, in God’s dimension, the Lamb had already been slain. The work of the cross, where Jesus declares “IT IS FINISHED” had already made the way for us to become the children of God. The only thing that remains is for us, in this time frame, is to say YES to what He has already done for us!
Dear Friends, Please allow me to break into your busy Holiday season and greet you with a heartfelt “Merry Christmas” and a “Happy and Blessed New Year”. Last year I had the privilege of ministering in Singapore during the month of December. We had numerous opportunities to share in a variety of venues and there were many places that we could freely share the Gospel when normally sharing our faith in public would have been restricted. I wanted to reach out to you and present the Christmas message “A Quantum Christmas” that I brought there and hope that these insights will enrich your celebration of the coming of Messiah.