Anyone know who this is?
This old man?
His name is Arthur Lawlor.
He was in the US Air Force.
He was once on a flight over Canada when his plane malfunctioned. I learned that everyone else on the plane died.
He broke his back and landed in a farmer’s field where a little girl found him. Her family then saved his life.
This is my grandpa – my Papa.
It’s interesting isn’t it – how simply being presented with an image of someone doesn’t really help you connect with them.
You can’t feel for them in happiness or sadness.
You can’t relate to them.
They simply remain distant. …until, you get to know a bit about them.
So I want to launch from this to make 2 points
#1 – When we learn about someone’s beginning, we better appreciate their ending.
Would you agree?
Perhaps even look at a your favorite movie. If you didn’t know Luke Skywalker was just a moisture farmer, you’d never properly celebrate his becoming Master Jedi.
I’ve read in the past: Your faith can only be as great as the fight. Your testimony can only be as great as the test. Your triumph can only be as great as the trial.
When we learn about someone’s beginning – we better appreciate their ending.
#2 – The more we learn about somebody, the more opportunity we have to connect with them.
This one’s pretty obvious – it’s the very nature of relationships
So now let’s apply these to Jesus our Christ:
1. Learning more about His beginning, we’ll better appreciate His ending.
2. Learning more about Him, we’ll have more opportunity to connect with Him.
So let’s start at His beginning…
Does anybody else marvel at the idea of God the Son becoming a human baby?
We’ve all heard and believe that Jesus healed people from disease.
We believe that he made the blind to see.
We believe he made the deaf hear and the mute to talk.
We believe that he walked on water and fed thousands with a simple meal.
We believe that he healed leprosy and raised some from the dead.
But above any miracle that Jesus accomplished, this one strikes me as the most astounding: Jesus the infinite became an infant.
When we think of Jesus, do we understand:
… that the hands nailed to a cross for us were once tiny and weak?
…that the feet walking on water were once only a couple of inches long?
… that the mouth commanding the wind and waves at one point couldn’t talk?
…that the head crowned with thorns was once gentle and sweet?
…that the face spat upon was at one point soft and clean?
…that the body beaten and bruised for us was once completely helpless?
Above any miracle that Jesus accomplished, this one strikes me as the most astounding: that “though [Jesus] was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.” Phil.2:6
Jesus became human! – and not some buff Hercules guy, but a tiny, helpless baby.
I’m convinced that in order to fully appreciate this act of humility, we have to fully appreciate who Jesus was before he became a human baby. Learning more about His beginning, we’ll better appreciate His ending.
Our appreciation of what He did can only be as great as our understanding of what He did.
My Missy wouldn’t appreciate her engagement ring if we were walking together, I see the ring on the sidewalk, bend over, pick it up and slip it on her finger. Of course she wouldn’t, and I wouldn’t blame her! She understands that I had to work an extra job for that ring. Rather than playing football on the college lawn with my friends, I was in Walgreens, stocking shelves and helping old people lug canned vegetables to their car.
Just as her appreciation of my gift can only be as great as her understanding of what I sacrificed, our appreciation of His gift can only be as great as our understanding of His sacrifice.
And so let’s take a look at His sacrifice, the sacrifice long before the cross.
He was in the beginning.
John 1:1 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.
He was at Creation.
John 1:3 – All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
Colossians 1:16 – For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created through Him and for Him.
Subjected Himself to humanity.
Philippians 2:6 – Though [Jesus] was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.
Romans 8:3 – He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.
We are left to simply wonder at how great our God is.
And that is called worship.
This Christmas, let’s worship Him.
Let’s pull back from the hustle and bustle and simply think about how great He is. Let’s better understand His beginning and consequently, better appreciate His end.