Nativity scenes are profoundly ironic. The smallest character in the ensemble represents the Creator and sustainer of the universe!
There’s something unfathomable about the unchanging and eternal God housed in humanity and experiencing the growth process from birth to adulthood. One thousand years before the birth scene in Bethlehem, King Solomon asked the question: “But will God indeed dwell with mankind on earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You” (2 Chronicles 6:18).
I’ll never forget driving to seminary during my first year of study and hearing John MacArthur say in a sermon that even as an infant, Christ was upholding the entire universe by the word of His power. That statement was so shocking to me that I had to pull over to the side of the freeway for a few minutes to regain my composure. Was the vulnerability of infancy no impediment to Christ’s eternal attributes? Is there really biblical support for such a claim?
John MacArthur answers both of those questions with an emphatic yes in his sermon “The Nature of the Incarnation, Part 2.” John’s message explores perhaps the most breathtaking of all biblical passages concerning the incarnation of Jesus.
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. (Hebrews 1:1–4)
Hebrews 1 offers a completely different perspective on the Christmas story. Christ’s finite experience of dwelling among us for three decades doesn’t alter who He has always been eternally. John points out that there was nothing partial or fragmented about God appearing in the form of a man.
In the New Testament God didn’t display some of Himself, He displayed all of Himself. God didn’t display His truth in some facets or in some fragments as He had in the Old Testament, but rather in Jesus Christ who embodies all the treasures and wisdom of God—Jesus Christ in whom all the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily. If you want to see God fully, look at Christ. Jesus said, “If you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father.”
The writer of Hebrews is writing to these Jewish people to affirm to them that Jesus is Yahweh, that Jesus is Almighty God, that Jesus is none other than the covenant God of Israel, the creator God of the universe. To understand the Christian faith and to even understand Judaism in its completion is to understand that God came into the world in human form as Jesus Christ. And He is the preeminent person, fully man and fully God. And that’s the message of this opening part of Hebrews. That is the heart and soul of the Christian faith—Jesus is God. No one can be a Christian and deny that. No one can have their sins forgiven and deny that. To believe that is essential for being saved, being forgiven, and going to heaven.
Our eternal future hinges on whether we worship the true Christ of Scripture rather than a false christ devised by our own flawed theology. “The Nature of the Incarnation, Part 2” reveals the fully divine Messiah, presenting Him as preeminent over all things. John reveals seven ways that Jesus is superior to all else: in His inheritance, His power, His glory, His nature, His authority, His atonement, and His exaltation.
What better way could there be to honor our Savior this Christmas than by understanding, proclaiming, and worshipping Him in the same way that the writer of Hebrews presents Him.