Last Christmas we ran the following post and thought it might be good to do it again this year with a few minor edits:
Why do the words of a 1st century Jewish rabbi carry such enormous metaphysical weight with Christians today? The answer, we believe, is that for two thousand years Christians have held that Jesus was not just a rabbi, not just some specially chosen messenger from God, not just a prophet, but that he was God Himself.
Certainly this is what the Bible teaches about Him and what He said about Himself. Consider a couple of examples from Paul writing about Jesus:
He is the image of the invisible God, the first born of all creation. For in Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth...all things have been created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. (Col.1:15-17)
...our great God and savior, Christ Jesus (Titus 2:13)
And here's John describing Christ:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him; and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. (Jn 1:1-3)
And the Jews were seeking to kill Him, because He...was...making Himself equal with God. (Jn 5:18)
Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" (Jn 20:28)
And here is Jesus speaking of Himself:
The Jews therefore said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old and have you seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM." Therefore they picked up stones (to stone Him for blasphemy since I AM was a name God assigns to Himself in the Old Testament to indicate His timelessness) (Jn 8:57-59)
"I and the Father are one" (and the same). The Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them..."for which [of my works] are you stoning me?" The Jews answered Him..."for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God." (Jn 10:30-33)
"He who has seen Me has seen the Father." (Jn.14:9)
It is the belief in the incarnation of God in the person of Jesus that separates Christians from other monotheists. It is a belief unique to Christianity among modern world religions. It is also what makes Christmas so significant and special to believers. As the world turns toward Christmas eve we've resolved to keep well in mind why it is that Christians have always thought this birth, this child, to be full of mystery, wonder, awe and love. The Creator of the world, despite our rejection and betrayal of him, is born into the world as a human, to human parents, in the meanest surroundings, so that ultimately He may one day coax us back to Himself.
Christmas reminds us all of the depth of His devotion to us. It reminds us that God chose to identify Himself with us in our humanity by sharing in our suffering and enduring an awful physical death, all of which He did as an expression of purest love. It was completely gratuitous. He needn't have done it, but for reasons we can't really understand on this side of eternity, it was apparently the only way He could win us back.
Christmas reminds us that God became man and dwelt among us, but couldn't Jesus have been mistaken about who He was? Couldn't He have been lying? Couldn't He have been deranged? Yes, He could have been any of these which is why we are not just left with a record of what He said about Himself but also a record of what happened at the end of His life. It was these events which authenticated the claims that He and others made about who He was.
For more on that topic go here and scroll to Christian Belief VI. In the meantime, we wish all of our readers a wonderful Christmas filled with the love of family and friends.