One of the quirks of our culture is that we gauge a person’s importance in terms of time. For example, social media celebrities get their 15 minutes of fame, a guest of honor at a celebration is called the man of the hour, and cities declare honorary days for local celebrities. Every December, Time magazine selects a Person of the Year, and certain presidents are given eras by historians—the Roosevelt Era, for example.
But only one person divided history in half. Only one life caused us to recalibrate our measurement of existence on earth. Whether you call the resulting halves of history BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini, the year of our Lord) or BCE (Before the Common Era) and CE (Common Era), the dividing line is the same—the arrival of Jesus Christ on Earth.
1. Jesus Before Christmas
Christmas marks Jesus’s birth in human form; however, he didn’t just start existing on December 25—or any other date. Jesus is fully God and possesses all of His perfections, including His eternal nature. Not only has Jesus existed forever, but He also played key roles in BC history.
- Jesus was Eternal (John 1:1-5)
In the beginning, was the Word. The Word was around to see the beginning, which means the Word existed before the beginning. The Word is eternal.
The Word was with God. The Word is distinct from God. The Word and God are two individual persons.
The Word was God. The Word is one with God. The Word and God are individual persons in one being.
- Jesus was the Focus of Old Testament Prophecies (John 5:39)
Jesus fulfilled more than 60 prophecies during His lifetime. Each one is a gift from God to us. In the 21st century, we can’t physically interact with Jesus. We must take it on faith that He is who He claims to be. But our faith doesn’t have to be blind. We have evidence. God said, Here’s what the Savior will do. And Jesus did those things.
2. Jesus on Earth (John 1:14)
- The Meaning of the Incarnation (Philippians 2:5-8)
Jesus was not half God and half man. The “Hypostatic Union” means Jesus Christ was both 100% God and 100% man without any mixture of sin. Colossians 2:9 says, “In Him, all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form.”
- The Results of the Incarnation
Jesus lived on earth for about 33 years; however, 30 of them are almost a complete mystery to us.
- Jesus Defied Expectations (Matthew 7:28-29)
Jesus arrived at a desperate time in Israel’s history when the nation was under the thumb of the Roman Empire. The Israelites were so desperate to be free from the control that they awaited a Messiah who would lead them in a revolt. They assumed this Messiah would be a military figure who would rule over Israel after it regained its independence. But from the outset of his ministry, Jesus explained his purpose was to die so that he might pay the penalty for our sin.
One of the reasons most Jewish people refused to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah was that He embraced the role of the Suffering Servant, prophesied in Isaiah 53. Jewish leaders were aware of the prophecy but did not believe the Messiah and the Suffering Servant would be the same person.
Jesus endured all the suffering this world had to offer so that He could truthfully say to us when we suffer, “I know how you feel.” He can empathize with our struggles, temptations, feelings of rejection, loneliness, and physical pain because He experienced them. Jesus suffered so that He could counsel and heal us in our suffering.
- Jesus Prioritized His relationship with God (Luke 2:52)
Jesus’s time on earth was brief, as He knew it would be. The time He spent in the public eye was even briefer. So His priorities, the things He chose to focus on during that time, speak volumes.
- His Father’s Word (Luke 4:1-13)
Every time Satan presented a temptation, Jesus countered by quoting Scripture, and he was powerless against it. The third time Jesus quoted Scripture, Satan left Him. We need to understand that God’s Word has lost none of its power to defeat Satan and his schemes since then.
- His Father’s Presence (Luke 5:26)
Jesus needed time with His heavenly Father more than He needed sleep. He needed a place free of distractions to focus on talking to God, listening to Him, and being in His presence. He stayed alone in God’s presence until He was ready to begin His day. Jesus’s time with God prepared Him to do what God had in store for Him. If the Son of God needed that time only with His heavenly father, how much more do we need it?
- His Father’s Will (John 4:34)
Jesus didn’t see God’s will as the great spoiler of fun. Instead, Jesus embraced God’s will as the only real essential in His life. He understood that all His other needs would be provided for as long as He pursued His Father’s will.
3. Jesus in Heaven Today (Acts 1:8-11)
- Jesus is Advocating our Case Before His Father (Hebrews 7:25)
Why do we need someone to advocate our case? Because we have an accuser. Revelation 12:10 says that Satan, “The accuser of the brethren” is accusing us before God’s throne day and night, arguing why God should give us to him for all eternity. Fortunately, we have a lawyer and advocate in Jesus Christ and He argues our case before God the Father, reminding Him of the price that has been paid for our sin.
- Jesus is Building a Home for Us in Heaven (John 14:1-6)
When Christians die, they immediately go into the presence of God, sometimes called the third heaven, but that’s not our final destination. Eventually, we will leave there and return to a recreated earth—New Jerusalem described in Revelation 21.
4. Jesus’ Parting Gift To Us (John 14:27)
The phrase “parting gift” is common in our culture. It originated on TV game shows. When a contestant finally lost, the host would say, “We have some parting gifts for you.” Those gifts were a consolation prize for not winning the grand prize. Amy and I still have some microwave cookware I received as a parting gift during my game show experience 40 years ago. Before Jesus left the world stage, He gave the grand prize, as a parting gift to His followers, instead of receiving one.
- Peace About Our Past (Psalm 103:12)
- Peace About Our Present (Matthew 28:20)
- Peace About Our Future (John 14:1-6)
If you are trusting a priest, pastor, or philosopher about the future, they may or may not be correct. There is only ONE reliable person to entrust your eternal future too. He’s the only one who has lived in heaven and told us how to ensure we reside there forever. His name is Jesus Christ. Listen to what He said.
Full Passage: Colossians 1:15-23