The Backstory to Bethlehem

We’ve seen all the cute little Christmas pageants with our kids portraying Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the wise men (they actually showed up about a year later in the biblical account) and all the animals.  We’ve seen the movies how they usually get the story wrong.  But behind all the bad acting, behind all the blown lines, there is the true story of Bethlehem and a baby who changed the world.  That baby did not “begin” His story in Bethlehem.  Nor did he “begin” when Mary was pregnant in Nazareth nine months before.  

That Person who entered the human race through Mary at Bethlehem had a history that stretched back into eternity.  In fact, the Apostle John, in the opening verses of his gospel account takes us back as far as we can go in telling the story of Jesus:  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.”

Wow.  A friend of mine told me that Jesus was “the son of God”, but that we are all the sons of God just as Jesus was.  In other words, Jesus was nothing special.  Oh sure, He said great words, and had great insight.  But he was no one we should worship or hang our eternal destiny on.

That’s not what the Bible says.  It clearly tells us that from eternity past there was someone known as “the Word”.  He is everything God wants to express to us.  The Greek word used here for “word” is “logos”.  In Greek philosophy it meant “the ordering principle of the universe”.  In other words, it was the thing that made the universe make sense.  Here, John uses the word “logos” and applies it to a Person.  This Person, known as the Word, has been with God from eternity and is Himself, God.  Nothing in all creation has come into existence apart from Him.  He is, in fact, the Creator.

Look down at verse 14.  There it says that “the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.”  I love that verse.  The Word…God Himself…came down from heaven and became human.  Completely human, yet without sin.  And He dwelt among us.  The Greek word for “dwelt” here is “skene” which means “tabernacled” or “pitched his tent”.  The Tabernacle was a portable tent in the Old Testament where sinful men would meet with a holy God.  Everything in it pointed to its ultimate fulfillment in Christ.  In Jesus, we have the final, true Tabernacle of God where we can meet forever with Him and live in His presence.  There was only one door in the Tabernacle.  Jesus said, “I am the door”.  There was an altar of sacrifice in the Tabernacle.  Jesus was the perfect sacrifice, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  There was only once source of light in the Tabernacle (the golden lampstand).  Jesus said that He was the Light of the world.  The table of showbread was there for the priests.  Jesus tells us that He is the true bread which came down from heaven.

He is truly God in sinless human flesh who has come down for us…to us…to be with us forever.  If He is not God, we are fools to worship Him.

If He is God, we are fools not to.

Posted by Jeff Sanders