This is the week of Christmas.
And of course, I am thinking about Jesus – the reason for the season.
You know, even though that phrase might be overused, even though it might sound a bit cliché, it's still the absolute and unchanging truth.
Jesus is The Reason – for the season, for our lives, for everything.
But of course, first and foremost, one must contemplate a very important question:
Who is Jesus?
You know, this is the most important question you will ever be asked in your entire life. And your answer will determine your eternal destiny.
Jesus Himself even asked the question:
"Who do people say I am?"
Of course, there were many "theories" going around at the time. I think people knew He was someone special. Just like today. Many people think Jesus was a great teacher or philosopher, or a really good man, or maybe even a prophet.
But most people missed the Truth of His identity.
Just like today.
So I thought I'd take a bit of time to contemplate five aspects of who Jesus is, five facts that define who He is, and five ways that these truths might impact your life.
Jesus is the Creator.
We are told this in Scripture:
"For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together." (Colossians 1:16-17, ESV)
Nothing that you see, not one single thing, including every single person that has ever lived – nothing and no one arrived here by mistake or randomness or fate.
Everything was created.
Let scoffers come up with their theories, let doubters worship destiny. They are all mistaken.
Jesus was the force behind this amazing *creation of it all*.
And if He created everything, then He retains absolute sovereignty over His creation.
FACT: Jesus was the Creator.
APPLICATION: Therefore, because He is in control, I can trust Him with everything in my life.
Jesus was born as a human being.
And He arrived as a baby.
A lot of people seem to skip over this rather important fact.
It makes a difference, a big difference.
Jesus could have arrived as a man – full-grown and ageless. But He didn't. He chose instead to come into our world completely vulnerable, totally helpless.
He chose to go through growing pains.
He entered into the human experience of physical development, and emerging emotions, and increasing intellect.
It is why He is our perfect High Priest.
"For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people."
(Hebrews 2:17, NIV)
Jesus experienced everything that it means to be human.
Jesus knows, He gets it.
FACT: Jesus was a human being.
APPLICATION: Therefore, because He understands and cares about everything I am going through, I can turn to Him and find comfort and encouragement.
Jesus died on a cross.
Many people might be willing to believe that this is a historical fact.
But most people miss the significance of the Crucifixion.
It wasn't the death of a rebel, it wasn't the execution of a rabble rouser, it wasn't the slaying of a prophet, or even the martyrdom of a saint.
It was nothing short of the murder of the Son of God.
But, and here's the crux of the Cross...
It was NOT a death in vain. NOT a defeat. NOT the end, but rather the beginning.
The Resurrection is the climax of the crucifixion, and in that empty tomb lays the true meaning of it all.
Sin was borne and cancelled out. Death was defied and defeated.
And if we believe in the One who sacrificed His life, the promise of the Cross is eternal Life.
FACT: Jesus was crucified for our sins.
APPLICATION: Therefore, I do not have to live a defeated life of guilt and condemnation, for I have been washed of my sins and set free.
Jesus is the cornerstone of the church.
I looked up the definition of a cornerstone:
"The cornerstone (or foundation stone) concept is derived from the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation, important since all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure."
I like that.
Jesus, the cornerstone of our faith, and the reference point that will determine the position of our hearts and the direction of our life. The bedrock linchpin that holds the church, the Body of Christ, together in unity.
"You are citizens along with all of God's holy people. You are members of God's family. Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord." (Ephesians 2:19-21, NLT)
Now to those of us who believe, this stone is precious.
But to others, it is a stumbling block. Jesus – the unavoidable obstacle. The boulder in the road that will cause them to fall if they don't believe.
However, to us as believers, it is The Rock upon which we stand.
We are promised that the very gates of hell will not prevail against it.
And so, we stand firm.
FACT: Jesus is the Cornerstone of the church.
APPLICATION: Therefore, I can stand firm amid the changing winds of opinion and the storms of tribulation.
Jesus wears a crown.
After all He went through, all He suffered, all He bore on His sinless shoulders – after all that, He was raised to a position of power and authority.
What began as a crown of thorns was changed into a Crown of majesty and glory and honor.
Jesus Himself declared this:
"Then the high priest asked him, 'Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?' Jesus said, 'I AM. And you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God's right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.'"
(Mark 14:61-62, NLT)
Yup, there He sits!
And do you know what one aspect of His job description is?
Pleading our case.
Paul asked this profoundly simple, and simply profound question:
"Who is to condemn?"
And the beautiful answer that washes over our souls like a balm of forgiveness is that we are declared "Not Guilty" by the One who died – the One who sits at the right hand of God, the One who is interceding for us.
If God is for us, indeed, who could EVER be against us?
And because of Christ's victory, we will one day receive our reward, too.
One day we will receive the Crown of Life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
FACT: Jesus wore a crown of thorns, and now wears a Crown of Glory.
APPLICATION: Therefore, I must not focus on earthly trials, but focus instead on my imperishable heavenly treasure and everlasting reward.
Who is Jesus?
It's the most important question of all.
And I pray that you join me and many others who have declared with conviction the Truth that Peter proclaimed:
"You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!"
May the Lord richly bless you and yours with the full meaning of the Truth about Jesus – The Creator, the One who was born in a Cradle, crucified on a Cross, the One who became the Cornerstone of the church, and now wears a Crown of everlasting glory.
I am the resurrection and the life.
The one who believes in me will live,
even though they die.
And whoever lives by believing in me
will never die.
Do you believe this?
(One of my very favorite quotes):
"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."
(C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." (John 1:1, 4, ESV)
"'I am the Alpha and the Omega – the beginning and the end…I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come – the Almighty One.'" (Revelation 1:8, NLT)
"Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, 'Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.'"
(Revelation 19:6, ESV)
Who do you say Jesus is? And how are you celebrating His birth?
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