Especially at this time of the year, Christians all over the world are making public statements about the supreme gift God the Father made to mankind: His own eternal Son, Jesus Christ the Lord.
For hundreds of years before the Lord Jesus arrived on planet Earth, the Father had promised to His people Israel that His Son was coming to provide salvation to those who would believe in Him. For example, Moses wrote:
The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear… And [God the Father confirmed that] it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him. (NKJV, Deut. 18:15-19; cf. Acts 3:22)
In His own words, the Son of God explained through the prophet Isaiah (700 years before He added a true and complete human nature to His eternal divine nature):
Come near to Me, hear this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was [the Creation], I was there. And now the Lord God and His Spirit have sent Me. (Isa. 48:16)
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor… To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn. (Isa. 61:1, 2; cf. Luke 4:18, 19)
When God’s only Son finally assumed a human nature, without in any way diminishing or changing His deity, in the womb of a young Jewish woman, His life on this earth began. Nine months later, Christ (the Greek word for Messiah, the Anointed One) was born. That was the first Christmas!
In His public ministry, the Lord Jesus Christ insisted repeatedly that the Father had sent Him into the world. No other human being has had or will have had a pre-existent life: neither Adam nor Eve, nor any of their descendants. Only the Lord Jesus Christ had this. So important is this fact that the Lord Jesus stated it 26 times in the gospel of John alone.
I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me…And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:38-40)
But why did the Father send His Son to planet Earth? It was not simply to display a sinless and holy life—that would amplify our sinfulness by contrast, and confirm our condemnation before God. He came to die as our divine/human substitute.
Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)
Without being perfectly joined to a full human nature, a divine Person could never die. And we, as sinners in desperate need of a Savior, would be forever without hope. But
God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
No wonder the shepherds rejoiced at this news! And so did Zacharias and Elizabeth (the parents of His forerunner, John the Baptist) and aged believers like Simeon and Anna, who had prayed for many years that God would permit them to see the Messiah (Luke 2:25-38). They were overwhelmed with joy and thankfulness.
Is that why we rejoice during the Christmas season? We must rejoice, not simply because God the Son became the God/Man forever, but because He became our infinitely sufficient Savior!
God our Savior… desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. (1 Tim. 2:3-6)
May everyone who reads these words have a truly meaningful and blessed Christmas!
Dr. John C. Whitcomb is heard weekly on Encounter God’s Truth, a radio and Internet broadcast outreach of Whitcomb Ministries, Inc. He has been a professor of Old Testament and theology for 60 years and is widely recognized as a leading biblical scholar. The book he coauthored with the late Dr. Henry Morris in 1961, The Genesis Flood, has been credited as one of the major catalysts for the modern biblical creationism movement. Dr. Whitcomb’s broadcasts, sermons, lectures and writings are available at SermonAudio. To receive the very latest on his ministry, see Facebook.