Christmas is God with us

Jerry A Collins




Ø      How does Jesus identify himself to us?

Ø      How does the incarnation reveal Jesus to us?

Ø      How does Jesus bring God’s grace to us in incarnation?


Everyone has an opinion about Jesus of Nazareth but only Christianity names him the Son of God. Dr, Ron Allen, professor of OT at DTS, recounted an incident of reading the OT with a Jewish Rabbi. After several years of reading together, Dr Allen suggested they begin reading the NT. They started reading from John 10. In the middle of the reading the Rabi stood up, threw the Bible on the floor, spat on it, began cursing and said, ‘that #*? Nazarene is claiming to be God”. Exactly. We will also discover that any serious reading and study of the life of Jesus will lead to the same conclusion. John’s own personal eyewitness account of Christ’s life will draw the same conclusion. Christmas is God with us.


Here is the climax of all that has been leading up to this in John 1. In 1-4 John speaks of ‘the Word’ who was in the beginning; who was with god; who was God; who is the source of all that had a beginning. But we have not been told who the Word is until now. Identified as both the Word and Light 6-13, we now have an astounding revelation that the Word became flesh and lived among men 14. This verse constitutes the most concise statement of the Incarnation in the NT. In John 1:1 he makes it clear that the Word was fully God. And in 1:14, John makes it clear that this Word was also fully human! Jesus of Nazareth is identified as both God and man and the two are the one and the same. Now that this Word has been identified, John never describes Him with this again in his book. John’s book will now focus on Jesus who has been revealed as both God and man. He was not a mixture of both God and man. He was 100% God and 100% man. God’s glory was displayed by means of the Pillar of cloud and fire and then the tabernacle during the wilderness wanderings and finally in the Temple in Jerusalem in the OT. At the incarnation God lived among His people by means of His Son. John saw that glory, probably at the Mt of transfiguration and at His resurrection. He describes this glory as something (1) He beheld. This is a first-hand eyewitness testimony. He alludes to this testimony again in 1 John 1:1-4. (2) This glory made Christ one-of-a-kind. ‘Only Begotten’ is used of an only child in Lk 7 & 8 of both a son and a daughter. In Heb 11:17 Abe is said to have offered up Isaac his only begotten son—who was not Abe’s only son but was one-of-a-kind because he alone was the child of promise. A special unique relationship in eternity into time existed between the Father and the Son. (3) This glory was full of grace and truth. A new thing is about to begin. The Law came thru Moses but something different will come thru Jesus—namely, grace and truth. A whole new era is about to begin in God’s program. An era and age in which we currently live. To day God is among us in the person of the Holy Spirit. We have a special presence of the Hoy Spirit inside of us to day the moment we believe. And He remains until our death. God has always been among His people and at Christmas, he comes among His people again in the incarnation-God taking on flesh!


Here we have the testimony of John the Baptist. John says in vs 15 that this Word was higher in rank and should take precedence over John because Jesus existed prior to John. John was about six months older than Jesus but Jesus pre-existed John in an absolute sense. John affirms the testimony of the apostle John in vss 1-4. The fact that He is the Son of God even tho fully human at the incarnation, He is able to bring grace upon grace and John says we all have received that because of it. This can refer to one of two things. (1) It is grace under the New Covenant, in place of grace under the Law—so it is a replacement. It is the grace of the church age instead of the grace of the covenant of God with Israel. This Word introduced a different kind of grace. (2) Grace ‘on top of’ grace—so it is accumulation. In other words, Jesus incarnation makes it possible for God’s grace to come to us today as waves continue to come on shore! The xian life is the constant reception of one evidence of God’s grace replacing another. God’s grace compounds toward us. It begins at salvation—for by grace are you saved—And continues throughout life. Possibly both are intended but this birth inaugurates something brand new and it is all about grace not law. 3. JESUS ALONE HAS FULLY REVEALED WHAT GOD IS LIKE

In vs 17 we have a contrast between Moses and Jesus Christ—between Law and grace and truth. On the one hand the Law was given thru Moses. God gave it to the people using Moses to bring it to them. On the other hand, grace and truth were realized thru Jesus Christ. Here, by the way, is the first time Jesus is named in John. God’s grace and truth were bundled up in the incarnation—much like we get bundled software when we purchase a computer. Now God’s full revelation is possible since His Son has come t us. It is not that the Law had no grace and was not true. But the Law was limited in the amount of grace and truth it could present. But Jesus was the truth. There is no limitation of that in Him. Noone has seen God before vs 18. But doesn’t it say in Ex 24:9-11 that some men have seen God? Ex 33:20 says no man can see God and live. But many in the OT seem to have seen God. Gen 3:8 Adam and Eve; 18:1 Abe; 32:30; Ex 24:9-10; Judges 6:14; 13:22; Isa 6:1; Eze 1:26-28; 9:4-5; 43:6-7; Dan 7:9 all seem to be examples of people seeing God. John himself seems to see God in Rev 4 & 5 on His throne. So how do we understand this? Every appearance of God is either (1) in a vision of God not in the flesh or some substance or (2) they saw God the Son when he was in ‘flesh’ substance when Jesus appeared in the OT. However, this one-of-a-kind, this unique person of Christ , this one who is in the presence of the father has revealed what God is like to us. He has shown the way—led us out of the fog or out of the unknown. If we want to see what God is like then we must look at Jesus Christ. He is the full and final revelation of God the Father. So religion and philosophy cannot reveal what God is like. No other religion has the idea of an incarnation. So this unique one, the one who has taken on human form and nature, who is himself fully God, who is in intimate relationship with the father, this One and no other has fully revealed what God is like! As Jesus said t Philip in 14:9, ‘The one who has seen me has seen the Father.’

(1) Don’t diminish the humanity of Jesus. The tendency may be to trump one with the other. That was the case in early church history where Christ had only divine nature which usurped or obliterated the human or the human was illusion or 2 persons.

(2) If you believe in Jesus you must believe that He has eternally existed as God’s Son. No religion believes this except xianity.

(3) God the Son is the only image the world has seen of God the Father. Don’t be offended.