Thursday, December 24, 2009

MANKIND, GOD-KIND, OR ANGEL-KIND? -- Devotional for December 23, from "Good Seeds"

For to which of the angels did God ever say, “Thou art my Son, today I have begotten Thee”? And when He brings the Firstborn into the world, He says, “Let all the angels of God worship Him.” Of these angels He says, “I will make them winds, and My ministers a flame of fire,” but of the Son He says, “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever.” (Hebrews 1:5-8)

Shame on us to ever say we do not know who Jesus is, or worse, to say He is anything other than, or less than, what the Bible clearly says that He is. Even a cursory review of traditional carols will reflect biblical truth concerning the Christ of Christmas. Of course, we need to get past those that leave Jesus in the manger. As the tiny infant of Bethlehem He could hardly “bless all the dear children in Thy tender care,” or “prepare us for heaven to live with Thee there.” A baby cannot attend to anyone else’s needs when his own are in such demand. Yes, in spite of the good intentions of the Cradle Song, we’re sure the baby Jesus did His share of crying, and infant mischief, too, for the only Begotten from before the beginning had just taken on the mantle of human flesh. Neither the virgin’s son – the Babe of Bethlehem – nor the carpenter’s son – the Jesus of Galilee - could bring us to heaven. For that our Lord went to Jerusalem, never stopping until becoming the Christ of the Cross! Though His birth saw the “dawn of redeeming grace,” it wasn’t until His sacrificial death that God’s grace was made available to all who would come to Him by faith. But in order to understand the true identity of Jesus Christ, we must comprehend what the Bible teaches about intelligent life. There are three kinds: mankind, God-kind, and angel-kind. The distinction between these was clear until Jesus came, for He crosses over from God to man, taking on the nature of the latter without relinquishing the attributes of the former. Some want to take it a step further, classifying Jesus as an angel, but man’s attempts to embellish Christ’s glory only serves to diminish it. When Jesus took on human flesh He became, as a man, “a little lower than the angels” (Psalm 8:5). But He was simultaneously much higher than angels, too, for from the beginning He was the Firstborn (the preeminent One), who would “rule over all the works of His hands.” God will “put all things under His feet, and crown Him with all glory and majesty” (5-6). Jesus was like an angel in the sense of bringing a message from heaven to earth, but He was both God and man in being that message. Christ didn’t merely preach the word of God, as one more (shudder!) founder of a great world religion – Christ was the “WORD of the Father, now in flesh appearing.” Our only response can be…“O come let us adore Him!”

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