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WHO IS THE BABE IN THE MANGER?
by Philip Owen

            More than seven hundred years before the birth of Christ, the prophet Isaiah revealed His coming with these words:  “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us” (9:6).  The gospels of Matthew and Luke describe the advent of the Child Who would be born.  It is common knowledge that the apostle John did not have the privilege of relating any of the events surrounding the birth of Christ.  Instead, in the first chapter of his gospel, John has the distinct privilege of revealing Who the eternal Son to be given truly was.  Following are some examples.

            1.  The Word.  “In the beginning,” John writes, reminding us of Genesis 1:1, “was the Word, and the Word was with God” (v. 1).  We cannot escape the striking peculiarity of a living being having such a name.  It sparks our interest.  It is through words that the fullest expression of any idea, thought, or concept can be formulated and expressed.  So it is with Christ.  His Person fully expresses and communicates what God wants to us know about Himself.  It is significant, then, that John writes that “the Word” (Christ) was “in the beginning.”  In other words, when time began, Christ was; He already existed.  Such a statement can be posited only about God.  Then John reveals that Christ was with God.  To say that Christ existed eternally is to declare Him to be God; to say that He existed with God is to declare Him to be a separate Person as well—a revelation of two Persons of the eternal Trinity.

            2.  God.  “And the Word was God” (v. 1).  John finally states the truth unequivocally.  As alien as is the thought to the human mind, the Child Who was born in flesh to His mother Mary was nothing less than the eternal God.  Perhaps only one other event in all of eternity—the crucifixion—so powerfully demonstrates both the humility and the exalted grandeur of God.  That this One Who came in weakness, meekness, and submission as a helpless newborn child was very God is inconceivable to human thought.

            3.  The Creator.  Admittedly, John does not use the term Creator.  But He forcefully states what the Creator alone did:  “All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being” (v. 3).  Could John assert more strongly both the power and authority belonging exclusively to God and existing in the Person of Christ?    

            4.  The Life.  John does not at this point yet use life as an appellation (that awaits words from the lips of the Lord Himself in John 14:6); rather, he says, “In Him was life.”  There is far more depth to this statement than we might imagine with a casual reading because, on the one hand, that statement might be made about any living creature from an amoeba to an aardvark—not to mention man.  On the other hand, considering the fact that the statement applies to a living man it is so gratuitous as to be not worth saying.  But, of course, John is saying much more than that the Word was living.  He is announcing that this One is not merely living, does not merely contain life, but He is the source of all life, which is another way of expressing the truth that this One is the Creator-God.

            5.  The Light.  John announces three things concerning this Light.  First, the “life” which he has just described, “was the Light of men.”  Second, “the light shines in the darkness.”  Third, “the darkness did not comprehend [“overpower”] it” (v. 4b, 5).  Just as natural light from the sun dispels darkness and no amount of darkness can extinguish it, so the Light, Jesus Christ, the One Who reveals and shows forth the Father, the One who exposes sin and depravity, the One Who shows the way of deliverance from sin and to righteousness and to fellowship with God reveals all the truth that God desires man to know, and no man can extinguish it.

            John goes on to reveal this One as “Jesus Christ” (v. 17), “the only begotten God” (v. 18), “the Lord” (v. 23), “the Lamb of God” (v. 29), “the Son of God” (v. 34), “the Messiah,” “Christ,” (v. 41), “the King of Israel” (v. 49), and the “Son of Man” (v. 51).  Is He the One you celebrate this Christmas?     

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