Then Jesus Came

The song played, and my childish mind tried to comprehend. It was Christmas in the late 1980s, and I was like all children--absorbing information at incredible rates and retaining it like nobody's business. Kids do that. 

Not only this, but kids also attempt to process the information as best as they can with their limited understanding. I was trying to comprehend the song, "Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne". This hymn was sung in my childhood church every year around Christmas, but my mind struggled to comprehend it. It seemed ridiculous to the literal mind of a child. 

In many ways, I was like Nicodemus, who in my opinion, sarcastically mocked Jesus' "born again" theory by asking if it was possible for a grown man to re-enter his mother's womb. I asked the question, "How is it that God in Heaven could become a baby and be born in Bethlehem?" It's a fair question.

Before we go any further, I want to quote a verse for any reader that might have a Biblical problem with celebrating the holiday of Christmas or Easter. 

Romans 14:5-6, 22-23 One man esteems [considers] one day above another: another esteems every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regards the day, regards it unto the Lord; and he that regards not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it... Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemns not himself in that thing which he allows... for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

If you are a Christian that is fully persuaded that Christmas and Easter are pagan holidays (which is somewhat true) that cannot honor God in any way, then you should not celebrate them (regard the day). However, if you are fully persuaded that God is capable of using these holidays to bring special attention to Himself and glorify Jesus, then you should celebrate it. 

But whatever you do, don't blindly go through the motions and live life like a spiritual zombie. You should question things, dig, and know what you know and why you know it.

Romans 14:14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteems [considers] any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

Whether you choose to celebrate Christmas and Easter or not, I believe this post may be able to deepen your understanding of who Jesus is and why He decided to come to Earth. I intend to give a straightforward explanation for what might have transpired prior to the Christmas/Easter story. My hope is to enhance the relevance of these holidays in your heart and mind. 

Disclaimer: I am about to use my imagination and say things that are not recorded in the Bible. You are under no obligation to think I am right. However, I believe my reasoning is strongly based in the Bible.

The Bible clearly states that Jesus was destined to die for mankind "before the foundation of the world" (I Peter 1:19-20). So the decision for Jesus to come to Earth did not occur the day before Mary conceived, or the year before, or the century before. 

It was a plan decided upon thousands of years before Caesar or Herod had a throne.

Let's take a journey in our minds. Envision an exchange between the three persons of God (the Trinity) prior to the formation of the universe and the Creation of man. They are debating, as it were, the decision to create the universe, Earth, and all the creatures of Earth, including humans. 

But because God can see not only the future that happens, but also all possible directions the future might take based on decisions of sentient creatures, He knew how it would unfold. He knew that creating this beautiful world and the highly intelligent human race would ultimately lead to rebellion. So they had a talk.

Father: "We ought to form a creature unlike any other. This creature will bear our image, having unsurpassed intellect, deep and passionate emotion, and a fully sovereign will to make its own choices. If this creature is formed, even us, the Godhead, will not force its will."

Holy Spirit: "If this creature is formed, it will certainly rebel against our authority and seek its own way."

Jesus: "Father, if you wish to form these creatures, I will love them as you do."

Holy Spirit: "Jesus, do you understand exactly what you're agreeing to?"

Jesus: "I am aware. My eyes are open, and I see their faces.I love them already."

Father: "You understand, my Son, you are not obligated to do this. You have the right to say no."

Holy Spirit: "Jesus, do you really understand what this would mean? It will change our relationship forever. We will never be the same. Is it really worth it to you?"

Jesus: "I can hear their voices. They need me."

Father: "But Son, if I do not create them, they will never know. We can create creatures that will certainly love us because they will not have the capacity to reject us."

Jesus: "What glory is there in giving them no choice, Father? What is love that is not earned? What is being chosen when there is no choice? This is not worthy of You!"

Holy Spirit: "To be clear, these creatures will immediately turn away from You. They will build monuments to other gods, despise You, mock You, and even hate You. They will violate Your will continually and destroy the beauty of Your planet. Is this really what you want?"

Father: "Jesus is right. The supreme expression of praise and glory is a people drawn to us solely on volition. They must desire us, otherwise the obedience and worship is empty. There is no other way."

Holy Spirit: "But they will reject us! How will this bring you glory? They will all turn away. If they reject Your life, they must die. Then what?"

Jesus: "I will die for them."

Holy Spirit: "You will do what?"

Jesus: "Die."

Father: "It is the only way."

Holy Spirit: "I will honor Your decision, Father; but this seems irrational."

Father: "Yes, yes it is irrational. It's a risk. Jesus, I told you once, and I will remind you. If you choose not to go, I will love you the same and we can remain together forever."

Jesus: "Send me. I love them, and I love you, Father. You deserve the glory of free-will worship and praise. I will do what it takes to forgive them and bring them back."

Father: "Then it's decided."

Now you know why the song, "Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne" still rings in my mind. Jesus was not sent to patch up a tough situation. He was not the repair man to fix a leak in God's Creation. He knew before man ever breathed Earth's air that He would die for them, and He did it anyway.

This dialogue is followed by the Creation story in Genesis 1. Man, of course, would reject God's authority and choose his own way, bringing upon himself the punishment of death and separation from God.

But then what? Why not swoop down to Earth and destroy the wicked and save the repentant? It seems like a simpler plan; but God is not simple.

I heard another song recently entitled "Winter Snow" on Chris Tomlin's CD, "Glory in the Highest". The song is sung by Audrey Assad, and the lyrics are good food for thought.

Could've come like a mighty storm

With all the strength of a hurricane
You could've come like a forest fire
With the power of heaven in Your flame

You could've swept in like a tidal wave

Or an ocean to ravish our hearts
You could have come through like a roaring flood
To wipe away the things we've scarred

But You came like a winter snow

Quiet and soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the Earth below

Oh, no. Your voice wasn't in a bush burning

No, Your voice wasn't in a rushing wind
It was still
It was small
It was hidden

God's way confounds our reasoning. It shatters our expectations. It eliminates pride and exemplifies the truly gentle and sweet nature of our God that is woven seamlessly together with the staggering power and majesty of the Almighty. 

God's way was illusive, subtle, and absolutely devastating to the power of sin and death. No longer would evil reign over man, and God used a baby that grew into a Man to break its chains. How poetically perfect.

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