WHO IS THIS STRANGER IN THE MANGER?
"And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh ..." 1 Timothy 3:16
Christmastime is upon us! I just love Christmas. It is filled with wonderful sights, sounds, and smells. But, it is also filled with questions. Who is this baby in Bethlehem? Who is this stranger in the manger? Is He truly the Messiah? Could He really be God in the flesh?
ONE GOD IN THREE PERSONS
The Jewish people have always been monotheistic, meaning they believe in one God. Christians are also monotheistic. The only difference being we understand God to exist in Trinity. God is not three, He is one ... but this one God has revealed Himself in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The Bible is crystal clear on this truth as the Spirit and the Son are both called God. In Acts 5:4, the Holy Spirit is directly referred to as God, and in Hebrews 1:8, the Father Himself straightforwardly calls Jesus, "God."
Some argue that Jesus never claimed to be God, but that is simply not true. In John 10, Jesus made it so plain He was claiming to be God that the antagonistic crowd picked up stones to stone Him. When He asked them why, they answered, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make yourself out to be God" (John 10:33). There was no question in their minds concerning the claim He was making (and backing up with miracles, I might add).
So, who is this stranger in the manger? Who is this one who was born of a virgin? He is the God-man. He is as much God as though He were not man at all, and yet as much man as though he were not God at all. John 1 tells us Jesus is the Creator who took on human flesh, and Colossians 1 tells us Jesus is the Sustainer who holds it all together. He really does have "the whole world in His hands."
DOES IT REALLY MATTER?
To be sure, there are lots of people who say they love Jesus and follow Jesus but do not believe Jesus is God in the flesh, co-equal with God the Father. They say with a famous politician, "What difference does it make!?" It makes all the difference in the world!
Jesus said, "Unless you believe I am He, you shall die in your sins" (John 8:24). Notice the He is in italics. That means it is not in the original Greek manuscripts but was added for readability. So if we omit the He, we get this shocking statement, "Unless you believe I am, you shall die in your sins." I AM is the personal name of God (Exodus 3:14). Unless you believe Jesus is the Great I AM, you have missed who He really is. Do not be deceived. A person doesn't truly know Jesus until that person comes to know Him as God in the flesh ... because that is who He really is! There is a reason why we are told His name is Immanuel. Jesus is God with us!
Would you take time today to thank the God of the universe for leaving His throne in glory to take on human flesh and suffer, bleed, and die to save a wretch like you? No wonder they call it "amazing grace."
Pastor Jeff Schreve
From His Heart Ministries
P.S. I'd love to hear your thoughts. Email me at [email protected].
Jeff Schreve founded From His Heart Ministries, www.fromhisheart.org, in 2005 with the vision to reach as many people as possible with the good news of God's love. Jeff believes that no matter how badly you may have messed up in life, God still loves you and has a great plan just for you. He broadcast on radio, TV and in the internet around the world from his pulpit ministry as Pastor of First Baptist in Texarkana, Texas. This ministry is completely listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and generous gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no income from this ministry. All gifts go to further the broadcast.
DESCRIPTION: For your gift of $25 or more by December 31, we’d like to say thanks by sending you two new 52-week daily devotions. One co-written by Jeff called My Daily Devotional: The Gift of Jesus and the other for children co-written by Debbie Schreve called My Bible Adventure through God's Word. These are high quality daily devotions for the entire family.