Jesus Before Christmas (Hebrews 10:5-7)

 

 

Jesus Before Christmas (Hebrews 10:5-7) jesusbeforechristmas_Hebrews 10

One of the oldest and most popular Christmas poems ever, commonly referred to as “Twas The Night Before Christmas,” was first published anonymously in 1823 in the upstate New York Troy Sentinel newspaper. Later the poem became attributed to Clement Clarke Moore, who acknowledged authorship in 1837; though with some dispute.
The poem is largely responsible for much of modern day views about “Christmas Visitors” [Santa Claus & Reindeer] and also influenced some of our gift giving methods. The poem has become popularized through a variety of musicians, movies, and various other memes.

But from God’s perspective, what was happening the night before the first Christmas? If you have read the Bible’s narrative then you are familiar with the nativity events:

  • Angelic visits to Mary, Joseph, and to shepherds
  • Announcements of another child, John to Zechariah & Elizabeth to prepare the way of the Messiah
  • Caesar Augustus’ decree for a census that led Joseph & Mary to birth a baby in a stable and wrap their child in swaddling cloths and lay him in a manger.
  • Herod’s sadistic search for a kingly child that propelled
  • Wise Men from the east following a star to guide them to the Christ child and His human parents.

Before God sent Jesus from Heaven’s throne to a woman’s womb, what was the communication between them?

3 realities of Jesus before Christmas

#1 Jesus existed eternally {Pre-existence of the Son}

The author of Hebrews notes that Christ came into the world, implying there was a time when Christ existed before entering our world. In the beginning of the letter the author says Jesus is

  • the heir of all things and creator of the world who upholds the universe by the word of his power
    (Hebrews 1:2-3).
  • the greater glory of the Old Testament Law/Moses/High Priest (Hebrews 3:3; 4:14).
  • the one who speaks with and from God (Hebrews 1:1; 5:7; 10:5-10).

Jesus is in constant communication and faithful fellowship with His Father.

  • “My Father is working until now and I am working… whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.
  • For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing.” John 10:17, 19-20
  • “No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” John 14:7

 

  • Prayer becomes priority when we understand the personal relationships among the Trinity. Theology informs our practice so that we have a greater value for views of higher significance than ourselves. Our understanding of God and Trinity is not intellectual pretense but an invitation to participate in the fullness of love.
  • Ultimately, our understanding and view of God results in our forgiveness of sin and eternal destination. The Christian Triune God is either right or wrong (John 8:36; 14:6).

#2 Jesus entered our world uniquely {Incarnation of the Son}

Christ entered the world into “a body prepared” for Him (Hebrews 10:5). The passage provides a revealing glimpse into the economy[3]/roles of the Trinity. The Father requires a specific sacrifice for sin and simultaneously provides what He requires. God prepares a body for Jesus, which hints at the uniqueness of the Son’s entrance into earth as virgin born.

The virgin birth is essential to Christianity. If Christ was not born of a virgin then He would have inherited our human sin nature and would have been an insufficient sacrifice. Instead, Jesus was the holy and sinless Son of God (Luke 1:35) who would take away the sin of the world (John 1:29).

I wouldn’t give you a half a hallelujah’s chance of going to heaven if you don’t believe in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ (Adrian Rogers).

To dismiss the virgin birth is to[4]

  • rob the Bible of its faithfulness;
  • relegate Joseph to a fool;
  • repulse Mary as a fraudulent harlot;
  • refuse the angels of their significance;
  • remove deity from Jesus Christ;
  • replaces the cross from a divine triumph into a human tragedy;
  • reject the resurrection of any veracity and vitality.

In the virgin birth, Jesus did not subtract deity but added humanity: 100% God & 100% Man

Jesus’ sentness shows not only the incarnation but the intention of the Father:

  • “Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.”
  • “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment but has passed from death to life.” John 5:24
  • “For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent” John 5:36
  • “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” John 6:29
  • “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent” John 6:38
  • “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” John 6:44
  • “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent” John 7:16
  • “I am going to him who sent” John 7:33
  • “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent And whoever sees me sees him who sent me.” John 12:44-45
  • “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent” John 13:20
  • “As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world” John 17:18; 20:21
  • John 8:16, 8:18, 8:26, 8:29, 8:42, 9:4, 11:42, 12:49, 14:24, 15:21, 16:5, 17:3, 17:8, 17:23,

Song: Welcome To Our World by Amy Grant

Fragile finger sent to heal us, Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us, Unto us is born, Unto us is born

So wrap our injured flesh around You, Breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy, Perfect Son of God, Welcome to our world.

  • Jesus is the only child to enter the world knowing His purpose from the beginning and certainly the only to fulfill His life purpose fully.
    Perhaps an application is to remind parents that their plans and purposes for their children are not perfect. Parents, be careful at projecting too much and too much of your desires upon your child’s dreams. The opposite is worth mentioning, be careful of preparing your children for too little life goals and dreams.

 

#3 Jesus executed His mission through a sinless life and a sacrificial death & resurrection..

Jesus spoke of OT sacrifices and offerings unfulfilling the Father’s pleasure. God required the sacrifice of an animal because of the seriousness of sin. The penalty of sin was death and animal sacrifice was necessary to satisfy God’s judgment. However, from God’s perspective the OT sacrifices [blood sacrifice, grain offerings, burnt incense offerings] only covered human sin but never completely cleared their guilt. OT sacrifices were only a shadow or precursor of the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ (1Sam 15:22; Psalm 40:6, 50:8-10, 51:16-17; Isa 1:10-13, 66:2-4; Jer 7:21-24; Hos 6:6; Joel 2:12-13; Amos 5:21-27). Jesus came to do what OT sacrifices could never do; He came to deal with our sin once and for all. His final cry from the cross, “It is finished” is a knockout blow to sin’s curse, satan’s cause, and death’s clutch on life.

Jesus’ statement, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God” is a profound summary of the gospel. The gospel is not about human becoming but beholding Christ. We behold Christ’s sinless life and sacrificial death for our sin. He lived the perfect standard and became the perfect sacrifice so we can be forgiven of sin and live forever with God in heaven.

Today we make sacrifices for God thinking God is appeased and applauded by our actions.

  • We ½ commit participation in ministry service but only when it’s convenient.
  • We give in extreme circumstances for a need but not consistently.
  • Even if we dedicated our life as a monk or nun, or gave all resources we would still fall short.
  • In relation to Christmas – is the holiday purpose so we can commemorate traditions or is it to celebrate Jesus Christ?

This passage is reminding us that Jesus entered our world and executed a mission for an essential purpose. Our lives cannot afford to be complacent with Christmas, much more Jesus Christ.

APPLY/THINK

Harry Ironside liked to tell a story about Czar Nicholas I of Russia. It seems that the czar had a good friend who asked him to provide a job for his son. This the czar did, appointing the son as paymaster for a barracks in the Russian army. However, it turned out that the son was morally weak and soon gambled away nearly all the money entrusted to him. When the word came that the auditors were going to examine his records, the young man despaired, knowing that he was certain to be found out. He calculated the amount he owed and the total came to a huge debt—far greater than he could ever pay. He determined that the night before the auditors arrived, he would take his gun and commit suicide at midnight. Before going to bed, he wrote out a full confession, listing all he had stolen, writing underneath it these words, “A great debt. Who can pay?” Then he fell asleep, weary from his exertions.

Late that night the czar himself paid a surprise visit to the barracks as was his occasional custom. Seeing a light on, he peered into the room and found the young man asleep with the letter of confession next to him. He read the letter and instantly understood what had happened. He paused for a moment, considering what punishment to impose, then he bent over, wrote one word on the paper, and left.

Eventually the young man woke up, realizing that he had slept past midnight. Taking his gun, he prepared to kill himself when he noticed that someone had written something on the ledger. Under his words “A great debt. Who can pay?” he saw one word: “Nicholas.” He was dumbfounded and then terrified when he realized that the czar knew what he had done. Checking his records, he found that the signature was genuine. Finally the thought settled in his mind that the czar knew the whole story and was willing to pay the debt himself. Resting on the words of his commander-in-chief, he fell asleep. In the morning a messenger came from the palace with the exact amount the young man owed. Only the czar could pay. And the czar did pay.

[3] http://www.ligonier.org/blog/whats-difference-between-ontological-and-economic-trinity/

[4] adapted from sermon by Dr. Stephen Rummage at Bell Shoals Baptist Church, Dec 20, 2010.

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