During this season we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. This is clearly the happiest time of the year for people of all faith persuasions. Despite some misgivings over time and the way we celebrate, it is important to recognize nearly the whole world joins in on this time. We all rejoice over Jesus Christ as God’s expression of peace and good will unto all people.
The life of Jesus helps us focus on this most important truth: God is a merciful forgiver. (a) [see endnotes for Scriptures] This is a wonderful truth in itself, and yet there is an even deeper purpose in his life’s message. Jesus illustrated God’s greater purpose for each of us. (b) We are all invited to personally know and interact with God’s presence during this natural life, as Jesus did. (c)
Jesus Was Birthed A Man
When God spoke and sent His expression (His word) into the womb of Mary, the processes of conception and the formation of a baby took place. Following his birth, Jesus grew and developed as a child of man and of God. From childhood, Jesus “kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” (d)
Think about it: Jesus “grew” in wisdom and favor “with” God. He realized early in this life that his heavenly Father was real and spent time communing with God. His early interaction with the presence of God enhanced his ability to understand, so his perceptions and expressions conveyed wisdom beyond his age. As a result of his intimate fellowship with God, at the young age of 12, his insight amazed the elders of that day. (e)
While his conception was not the actions of a man but a result of God’s spoken word, he was formed in the womb of a mother, and grew and developed as a natural and spiritual person.
Scripture says a deposit of God’s Spirit gives life to every person. (f) While each person is obviously a child of man, we are also offspring of our heavenly Father for God’s spirit is in us as a source of life. (g) More than you may realize, Jesus was more like us than he was like God.
More than you may realize, Jesus was more like us than he was like God.
Spirit of Life
This insight probably raises the question, how much like us? Many today assume Jesus ‘knew’ everything, much like God knows the end from the beginning. This overlooks the fact that he ‘grew’ in understanding and wisdom. Jesus is recorded praying often to his heavenly Father, seeking guidance from the One who knows all. (h) He even prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” (i)
Scripture actually tells us Jesus “was tempted in all things as we are.” (j) While “God cannot be tempted,” (k) Jesus was, so he could have sinned. Even after his anointing by the Spirit of God, he was led by the spirit into the wilderness and was tempted to act independent of God. (l) His fellowship with God provided the insight needed to cope with the issues of the day. More than we want to admit, the man Jesus was very much like us. While Jesus did not sin, he could.
Paul told the Athenes Greeks; “We are all offspring of God.” (m) How? The Spirit of God gives every person life; we call this the ‘spirit of life’. When spirit leaves our body, our function in this world ceases. We are all God’s offspring, even when we do not know or act like it. Our status as offspring is not dependent on our choices but our choices contribute to the quality of our life.
Yes, there are times we act as a Prodigal Son or like offspring doing our own thing. (n) When we turn to God, we receive “the right to be taught and trained as children,” who gladly submit to Father’s guidance. (o) We become more than offspring for: “Those who are ‘led’ by the Spirit of God ‘are’ children of God.” (p) God desires that we follow the example of Jesus as responsive children.
Jesus lived as the clearest example of what God created us to be: an “image and likeness” (Hebrew – reflection and resemblance) of our heavenly Father. (q) As a mirror reflects the image it is viewing, we ‘reflect’ the God we focus on. (r) And, as a child resembles the character, attitude, and personality (CAP) of a parent, we resemble the God we look up to and honor. The man, Jesus, illustrated how a maturing reflection and resemblance of God functions and matures.
We are all God’s offspring, even when we do not know or act like it.
Our salvation includes an intimate interaction with God during this life. The ‘way of salvation’ was commonly referenced in the book of Acts as “The Way,” (s) our example to follow. Our salvation is more than a conversion event or a future reality. We are intended to respond to God and walk in His ways because His presence is with us, among us and in our midst today.
The babe we celebrate grew, developed and demonstrated how we can live in close fellowship with God. Jesus prayed: “That ‘where I am’, there you may be also.” (t) We are to live in this world as he did. As a son, Jesus showed us the (CAP) of God and confirmed God’s desire for you and me when he said: “I am the way, the truth and the life.” (u) Hebrew linguists verify this verse can easily be translated as: “I am the truthful way to live.”
How do you and I best experience God’s peace and good will? With all Jesus taught, he brought a simplification to “The Way” when he said; “I repeat what I hear my Father say, and do what I sense my Father is doing.” (v) We want to observe and agree with God and His way of life.
So, what is the greater purpose of the babe we celebrate? Jesus lived, taught, and illustrated how each of us, yes absolutely everyone, can experience the same intimate fellowship with God-in-Christ. Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace.” (w)
Our personal fellowship with God is the foundation for experiencing true peace–day by day. More than ever, during this season, may each of us be more attuned to our heavenly Father’s insightful guidance! With God’s help, we can live as Jesus did: a child of man and of God.
We are to live in this world as he did.
a) 1 John 2:2; John 6:51; b) John 1:1-4; 8:13; Romans 8:14; 9:15-16; c) Jeremiah 9:24; John 17:3; d) Luke 2:52; e) Luke 2:41-47; f) Ecclesiastes 12:7; Job 32:8; 33:4; Proverbs 20:27; g) Acts 17:22-29; h) Luke 5:16; i) Matthew 26:39; j) Hebrews 4:15; k) James 1:13; l) Luke 4:1-13; m) Acts 17:29; n) Luke 15:1-24; o) John 1:12; p) Romans 8:14; q) Genesis 1:26; r) 2 Corinthians 3:18, 1 Corinthians 13:12 ; s) Acts 16:17; 9:2; 18:25, 26; 22:4; 24:14, 22; t) John 14:4; u) John 14:5-6; v) John 5:19; w) John 16:33