Monday, December 19, 2016

Two ways of viewing one miraculous life

Image result for nativity images
Matthew 1:23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.”

John 1:14 "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."

Two Biblical ways of thinking about the miraculous life of Jesus Christ
Today's post wants to consider Jesus Christ from the standpoint of His miraculous life. Advent season focuses upon the miracle that took place in Mary's womb when the Holy Spirit joined a truly human, sinless nature to the Divine Person of the Son of God. One way to consider the Son is to view Him from His pre-existence in eternity to the point where He entered into history by the gateway of the virgin's womb. The other way is to consider the miraculous Jesus from the inception of His humanity through His earthly life, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension. The former way is called "Christology from above" and the latter method is referred to as "Christology from below". Both John's Gospel and the two other Gospels of Matthew and Luke present to us these two starting points for considering the miraculous Person of Jesus Christ. Mark's Gospel joins in with Matthew and Luke, with the difference being that Mark begins considering Jesus from the beginnings of His earthly adult life and ministry. 

Thinking about Jesus Christ as God who came down to be God in human flesh
John begins with the identical wording of Genesis 1:1, namely "in the beginning". The Son is described as co-existing with the Person of the Father in eternity, or what Bible teachers call the Son's "Pre-existence". When we talk about Jesus Christ in the manner described by John, we talk of Him as Eternal Deity, sharing in the same Divine nature with the Father and the Spirit. John's goal in his Gospel is to demonstrate how this Eternal Person of the Son came into time and history through the virgin birth and became God in human flesh. In summary, John presents Jesus Christ as "from above" and demonstrates how the Eternally Divine Son, by way of His incarnation as a human being, lived, died, raised and ascended as God in human flesh.

Thinking about Jesus Christ, with regards to His humanity, as having a beginning in time starting with the virgin birth conception
Matthew and Luke present the starting point for talking about Jesus Christ from the vantage point of His humanity. Matthew and Luke begin with Jesus' genealogy and virgin birth, while Mark's Gospel begins with His public ministry. These three Gospels emphasize Christ's humanity while reminding the reader of Christ ever-remaining God throughout their narratives. Matthew, Mark and Luke introduce the miraculous life of Jesus to us at "ground-level" or looking at Jesus from below". 

The miraculous life of Jesus of Nazareth is tied to the miraculous phenomena of prophetic testimony and prediction from the Old Testament. By appealing to the promises and prophecies of the Old Testament, the first three Gospels, as well as John, affirm the Son's pre-existence while reinforcing the reality of the beginning of his human life in the virgin-birth conception. 

Such a miraculous life is not portrayed as a still life painting to be admired from afar, but a vivid, living breathing Person who came to bring about miraculous life.
Both the above portraits compose one complete masterpiece in the four Gospels. Jesus Christ, in regards to his humanity, was conceived in the virgin's womb, was born, lived, died, raised and ascended into Heaven as a man.

Throughout the Gospels of Matthew and Luke we are reminded that Jesus ever retained His fully Divine nature. John's Gospel reiterates the fact that Jesus became and remained a genuine human being. When combined with Mark's testimony of Jesus' mission and ministry, we have a composite picture of the Miraculous Son as God in human flesh who was virgin conceived, born, lived, died, raised from the dead and ascended. Mark's Gospel begins with Jesus the Son as an adult man who has been alive for 30 years and is getting ready to begin His public ministry. 

Closing thoughts
Jesus Christ the Miraculous Son not only came in a miraculous fashion but lived a life that was woven in the miraculous and demonstrated the reality of such in the realm of ordinary human life. Jesus would end up performing 35 miracles, preaching five recorded sermons, telling over 50 parables, calling twelve disciples and fulfilling 109 prophecies all before ascending into Heaven following his crucifixion and resurrection. Such a miraculous Person as Jesus Christ, Who exists as both Eternal God and finite resurrected man must not be conceived of as stuck in the pages of history or sealed off somewhere in heaven. His miraculous life was lived so that He could save and redeem His people who are called to a redeemed, miraculous life for the glory of God. 

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