November 18, 2013

What child is this…?

The little boy stopped at a brushed metal nativity decoration and ran his fingers over it. My sister asked him if he knew what it was. He said that he didn’t, so she explained that it depicted a child that was born and that we celebrate His birth at Christmas. Then she asked him if he knew who that child was. The boy, about six years old, said, “Santa Claus?” My sister was startled. She told the child was Jesus and that he could read about Him in the Bible.
We are praying for that family and that boy, even with tears that our so-called Christian country has children like this one, and likely many more who know nothing about Jesus, or think that His name is just a swear word.

And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered”…. and I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain…. (Revelation 5:5–6)

This verse from today’s devotional reading offers some comfort. This “unknown” Jesus will become known as the conqueror. He will reign and everyone will know who He is. For now, Christians like me are responsible to tell others about Him and make Him known.

The image of a Lion and a Lamb can be understood by a child, but even the wisest of adults struggle with who Jesus is, and with the incredible truths about His attributes. He is opposites in many ways, but not “on and off” like my opposites. Instead He is all of who He is at the same time. That is, all of His attributes are equal . His almighty power gives Him the ability to be incredibly humble, without any inner compulsion to prove anything. His humility is not weakness, but amazing strength fully controlled.

He is Lord of all as fully God and fully man and as Mediator between God and man. His dominion is a natural dominion, delegated yet in place because of who He is. In that might Person is also found the greatest obedience, a total submission to the commands of God.

I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. (John 14:31)

No one has ever been asked to do what the triune God determined for God the Son, yet Jesus was willing to do it. “He humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8). No other being, human or angel was or ever will be asked this, yet the One who did it was at the same time the supreme Lord of both angels and humans, willing to die for our sin.

This absolute sovereignty and perfect submission means that this Jesus works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will, yet it was His will to obey even when it meant terrible suffering. As He faced it, His soul was sorrowful and His sweat dropped blood. Still He said,

My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will… if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done. (Matthew 26:39–42)

This one born a babe in Bethlehem totally obeyed His Father in heaven and purchased for us total redemption and forgiveness so we might live together with Him forever. How utterly sad that there are people everywhere, including children, who have never even heard of Him.

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