On Christmas morning, I’ll be reading the Christmas story to the residents and staff of my mother’s assisted living home. They’ll be expecting me to read the first 20 verses of Luke 2, and that’s what I’ll do. It’s the story of Joseph and Mary’s return to Bethlehem, finding no room in the inn, and placing Jesus in the manger—and of the angel’s appearance to the shepherds.
But, to me, that’s not the real story—at least not all of it. The story behind the story is recorded in the first chapter of the book of John:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made.
This tells us who Jesus was and has been throughout eternity up until his birth. He was Jehovah—the person of the Godhead who created everything that was created. Nothing was made except through Him. He held all power within Himself. He didn’t need to pray to anyone or seek power from anyone.
Then verse 14 says:
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth.
Jehovah, the Creator of everything, became one of his own creatures by taking on flesh. He gave up His creative powers to become a man. Yes, He was still God, but He was also man. He became God/man. As such, His position and powers were totally changed. Moving on to chapter five, we find these words in verse 19:
Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father doing: for what things soever he doeth, these the Son also doeth in like manner.
Prior to His incarnation, He held all power resident within Himself. Now, He says He can doing nothing of Himself. He can do only what He sees the Father doing. Quite a change in both position and power. No one could have taken His powers from Him. He gave them up voluntarily because of His love for you and me.
This was not a temporary change. He didn’t bop down here to spend 33 years and then return to heaven to resume His power and position as Jehovah. He’s still Jesus. When we meet Him, He will still have the scars where the nails were driven. He sits next to the Father ever making intercession for the saints—that’s you and me. As Jehovah, He didn’t have to make intercession to anyone, but as Jesus, that’s what He does.
For a further exercise underscoring the permanence of this sacrifice, get your Concordance and look up “Jehovah.” You’ll find in the Old Testament, but not once in the New Testament. Now look up “Jesus.” You’ll find that name all over the New Testament but not once in the Old Testament. Jehovah of the Old Testament became Jesus of the New Testament.
The magnitude of this sacrifice Jesus made in His incarnation is so great most of us have trouble seeing it. It took me a while when I was first exposed to the concept, but now I stand in awe of it. It’s a much greater sacrifice than I would make if I could make myself into a dog, or even a cockroach. The Creator of everything ever made became one of His own creatures. This is why I say the real Christmas story comes from the book of John.
What do you think of what Jesus did for us at His incarnation?
If you abide in Me and My word abides in you, then you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.
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