Why is Jesus Christ so special? Why do billions of people celebrate his birth? Why do we believe that Jesus was the Messiah? What if he was just a man? Does it really make a difference? If you have ever asked yourself these same questions, be assured that the Bible does have the answers.
For the greater part of the last 2,000 years the historical existence of Jesus has not been questioned. However, in the last two centuries an increasing number of skeptics have claimed that Jesus never existed, even though a cursory review of ancient Roman and Rabbinical writings reveals that Jesus was indeed a historical figure.
The Babylonian Talmud, an ancient Rabbinical commentary, makes a number of references to Jesus of Nazareth. The first century Jewish historian Josephus also made references to Jesus: “Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man. If it be lawful to call Him a man, for He was a doer of wonderful works. He was the Christ. And the tribe of Christians so named from Him are not extinct to this day....” (The Antiquities of the Jews, book 18, chapter 3.)
Throughout its Text, the Bible clearly teaches that there is but one God. However, the mystery of the Godhead is that this one God manifests Himself in three distinct persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. This fact has led to the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. In fact, the attributes of God, the works of God, and the names of God are applied to all three persons of the trinity (see our briefing pack, The Trinity, for deeper study).
Throughout the Old Testament we are given a glimpse of the deity and majesty of the Messiah (also called the Anointed One). Furthermore, the fact that God is a plural being, eternally existent in more than one person, is also found throughout the Old Testament. Elohim, the plural form of El, one of the names of God, is seen throughout the Old Testament and in Genesis 1:26 God states, “Let us make man in our image...”
In the New Testament the disciples clearly spoke of the preeminence and deity of Jesus Christ. He is identified as the creator of the universe (Jn 1:1-14, Col 1:16), God manifest in the flesh (1 Tim 3:16), and our Lord and Savior (Titus 1:1-4). This is only a small sample of their claims about the nature and identity of Christ. By healing the sick, resurrecting the dead, creating food out of nothing and by defying the laws of gravity, Jesus demonstrated His authority over the laws of physics and thereby revealed His divine nature.
Jesus’ resume is impeccable. All the necessary attributes of the Creator are applied to Him within the Biblical Text-He is independent of space and time, transcendent, distinct from His creation, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and has authority over the laws of nature. Jesus himself claimed to be the Son of God and the only way to eternal life (Jn 4:25; 9:35-37; 10:30-3; 14:6-9).
Jesus Christ made the ultimate sacrifice for us. It will take an eternity for us to understand what it cost Him that we might live.
He “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:7-11).”
Indeed! This Christmas season is a great time to demonstrate your seriousness concerning His Lordship in your life. What “gifts” are you giving Him to celebrate His birthday?
Why not make this holiday season the occasion of offering something special-perhaps an indulgence we know we ought to doff; a habit that needs a firmer resolve; or, even better, our very selves, in some form of renewed commitment...what better way to clear our path in preparation for the special challenges that the coming New Year will bring?