The Apostle John wrote his Gospel to countermand a certain heresy that virtually denied the divinity of Jesus Christ.
John was clear that the person of Jesus Christ was God manifest in the flesh, which is a doctrinal hallmark belief of true Christianity. That is why his opening chapter is so powerful as in it John relates the advent of Jesus Christ into the world.
The Gospel accounts of Matthew and Luke rightly and wonderfully record the advent of Jesus Christ in terms of the Lord’s birth. Each is spiritually inspiration. But, in so many terms, John’s opening chapter account reminds us not to underestimate the baby birth of Christ. Such a consideration of caution is needful, because underestimation is what we do if we are not careful.
The problem is that people want to relegate the Savior of mankind to a crib without due consideration that the Savior of mankind went on to die on the Cross and rise from the dead. That redemptive activity confronts each person with a decision to receive God’s free gift of salvation through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, or to reject it. That decision becomes more easily ignored by a humanistic focus on a crib rather than a Cross. The infant rather than Immanuel. The swaddling clothes than Crucifixion scars.
So what is that Apostle John’s opening chapter keeps us from underestimating about the baby birth of Christ?
John reminds us that the advent of Christ was authoritative. Christ may have incarnated by way of a baby, but that incarnation advent was still as the Person of the eternal Word of God. Concerning the context of the coming of Christ, John wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Furthermore, “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.” The Christ Child commands more authoritative respect than is often given.
John reminds us that the advent of Christ came with appointment as “the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.” The life and ministry of Jesus Christ is Biblically referred to in the context of the lamb being brought to the slaughter, as verified by the Prophet, Isaiah. The daily sacrifice of a lamb according to the Law pointed to Jesus Christ. The yearly sacrifice of a lamb on the Day of Atonement pointed to Jesus Christ. The Lamb used in the Passover celebration pointed to Jesus Christ.
Apply this context to the baby, and there can be no misunderstanding or underestimation of His birth. The Child’s appointment as the Lamb of God should intensify our worship during this season of celebration.
John reminds us that the advent of Christ was purposeful to show us God the
Father. John wrote, “He (that is Jesus Christ) hath declared Him (that is God the Father). “Declared” means “to draw out in narrative form.” The life of Jesus Christ, the Words of Jesus Christ, and the miracle of Jesus Christ were done having in mind to show us God the Father. Why is that so important?
Through these actions, the Lord showed us the love of God for us. The Lord showed the mercy and grace of God for us. The Lord showed the providence of God directed toward us. Jesus Christ showed to us the wonderful God to whom we may relate through faith in the name of Jesus Christ. The Man’s birth is most insightful and instructive!
One more thing: John reminds us that the advent of Christ came with the expectation that Jesus Christ be accepted. “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” Have you received Christ as your personal Lord and Savior? He was born that you might take the opportunity to do so.
Many associated with the Church fail to get beyond the nativity scene involving Jesus Christ. It becomes a gross underestimation of the Birth of Jesus Christ. Church and family celebrations are right and good. But, keep to heart above all that His baby-hood had a divinely appointed purpose powerfully interjected into the affairs of men. His baby-hood made an essential eternal difference for us.
The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.