Christmas: God Re-introduces Himself to the World
Study Guide, December 11, 2022
Pastor Clay Olsen
There were a lot of introductions that first Christmas. The Angels to the Shepherds… “Hark ya’ll!” Some of the Angels were from the Southern skies… I think…and then the Shepherds to Joseph and Mary… “Shalom…didn’t mean to intrude, but the Angels sent us”…or something like that. And then in this artwork we see the Wise Men still coming, which is actually what the Scriptures reveal in Matthew. By the time they arrived Joseph and Mary and Jesus were now staying in a house in Bethlehem. Notice: Matt 2:9-11- “After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him.” NASU
So there was a period of time between Jesus’ birth and the visit from the Wise Men. That’s where the tradition of Epiphany, meaning ‘the Appearance’ or ‘Manifestation’, got its start. It was an assumption that it was twelve days later, January 6, that the Wise Men introduced themselves. And there’s the song, the Twelve Days of Christmas… Of course, the timing is not certain, but their meeting with Joseph and Mary and the newborn Christ child is certain. So they came to the house and said, “Salam”…that’s ‘Hello’ in Persian, since that’s from where the Wise Men are believed to have come. And we know that one of the Wise Men brought a gift of gold, the other a gift of frankincense, and then the other Wise Man said, “But wait…there’s myrhh!” No, I’m sure he didn’t say that!
Anyway, there were a lot of introductions that first Christmas. Back to the Angels…Luke 2:8-11- “In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” NASU
Not only is this an amazing introduction, but it is also a world changing revelation about ‘Who’ God is, and what we now are to know about Him, and what we are to understand about Him, since our God has re-introduced Himself to the world!
Let’s think about that: God first introduced Himself to the world at the very beginning.
Gen 1:1- “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” NASU So at the very beginning of our world God was already there. In fact, when Moses later asked God who he should say sent him to free the people God said this in: Ex 3:13-15- “Then Moses said to God, “Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM“; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM’ has sent me to you.'” NASU That is God’s eternal name – ‘I AM’. God is eternally existent, ever present, all knowing, all powerful, as well as the Creator of all things.
And here’s something else very wonderful about God. God not only openly tells the world ‘Who He is’…He also tells the world ‘what He is like’! He revealed that, too, to Moses: Ex 34:5-7- “The Lord descended in the cloud and stood there with him as he called upon the name of the Lord. Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished…” NASU
Throughout the Old Testament God reveals more and more about both ‘Who’ our God is and ‘What’ He is like. What is ironic is that God wants the people of this world to know and understand Him even more than most people want to know and understand God. He is seeking them, but they are not seeking Him! Creation alone should be enough to cause all in creation to seek their Creator, especially those who have been created in the very image of God Himself…the people of Earth.
So, again, God introduced Himself to the world at Creation. And now, He re-introduces Himself to the world at the Incarnation. As in the lyrics of the song ‘Mary did you know?’… ‘Mary, did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation? Mary, did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nations? Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb; that sleeping child you’re holding is the great, I AM?’ Now, God not only reveals to the world that their God can be seen in His works, but now God reveals to the world that their God can be seen in the flesh…God now has skin on Him!
As the Apostle John was trying to tell the Christians all over Asia Minor about these wonderful things about their Incarnate God in his letter to them, he says this: 1 John 1:1-4- “We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw Him with our own eyes and touched Him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen Him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that He is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then He was revealed to us. We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy.” NLT
John says, “We saw God Himself! We heard Him speak! We even touched God with our own hands!” John is writing to us as well. One day you are going to touch God with your own hands! And although you can’t see Him yet, as John did, or touch Him yet, as John did, you can hear Him speak to you every day through His words to you in His Scriptures. The Scriptures are the ‘living words of God’ you know. Plus, God can hear you speak to Him. He hears you in your prayers to Him. You can speak to God every day and He hears you. So, yes, we can also have this depth of ‘fellowship’ with the Father and the Son, Jesus Christ, just like those John was writing to…and, of course, He was also writing to us!
Yet oftentimes people still don’t realize just ‘Who’ Jesus really is! Many in the world still view Jesus as just a man, or just a prophet, or just a priest…and so on. But Jesus is far from ‘just a – anything’…for even though Jesus became a man, all mankind still needs to realize ‘Who’ He really is! The Apostle Paul described it this way: Col 1:15-18- “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through Him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through Him and for Him. He existed before anything else, and He holds all creation together. Christ is also the head of the church, which is His body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So He is first in everything.” NLT
It’s like Paul saying, “Remember those first words from our Creator?” “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”. Well, Guess what? That was Jesus, Jesus Christ! ‘He made the things we can see and even the things we can’t see – the unseen world.’ Jesus is not only our Savior…He is our Creator, who both made us and has now re-made us – first in raising up our dead spirit to new spiritual life in union with Himself, and soon He will also raise up our mortal bodies into new immortal bodies to live in fellowship with Him forever! That’s ‘Who’ Jesus is!”
And in Hebrews we see that God used the prophets to introduce and reveal God to the world, but in these days, or more precise, ‘in these last days’, God re-introduced Himself and revealed even more about Himself through Jesus. Heb 1:1-3- “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high…”NASU
So now, in Jesus, we more clearly see ‘the exact representation of God’s nature’! Do you want to know what God is like? Do you want to know what God’s nature is like? Do you want to both better know and better understand what God is like in His thoughts about you and in His plans for you and in His treatment of you and so on? Then get to know better and to understand better all of this in Jesus, because Jesus is the exact representation of the nature and character of God! The Christ of the Incarnation is the re-introduction of the God of all creation.
We can better know and better understand God because Jesus was God made manifest to us. Jesus was the living demonstration of Who our Creator and our Savior really is. We can know the God of the Universe because we know the Savior of the world…for He is one and the same.
Which brings us to another introduction…perhaps one of the most overlooked in Scripture. For God not only introduces Himself to us through the revelation of His words, but He also introduces us to our own selves through the revelation of His words. That’s right! It’s one of the greatest needs for people to understand, yet one of the least understood, and that is: You cannot know who you are until you know what God knows about who you are. Until you know what God knows about who you are, you will always be deceived about it, and your understanding will always be distorted in your thinking about who you are…and that always leads to the destruction of who you really are and were meant to be.
God is the Great Introducer! God introduced Himself at Creation. Then He re-introduced Himself through the Incarnation. And until you let God introduce you to yourself, you will never come to the realization of who you really are! Until you come to understand that you were personally created by God in the very image of God, and what that means, you will never have a right self-image. Your self-image will be distorted and deceived by the world, your own flesh, and even the devil.
Until you come to know and understand that you do not own yourself…that you are not the owner of your life, but that only your Creator is the sole Owner and rightful Master of your life, you will then be deceived about that, and your life will also be damaged by the world, your own flesh, and even the devil, especially concerning your purpose in this world.
Until you come to know God’s intended plan for your life in following His words and will, you will be deceived and damaged by the world, your own flesh, and even the devil in your thinking about who you are, why you are here, what is your place in this world, and so on. Plus, if you do not then choose to live by God’s plan for your life, you naturally default to living by the devil’s plan for your life, for know this: no human is a master of his or her own life. Every person is a servant of either the Creator and Savior of life or he or she will default to serving the plans of the devil, since he holds captive every person who has not been set free by the salvation found in Christ alone.
So no wonder people the world over are so confused about their self-image, their self-identity, their place in this world, their part in this world, and so on. No one can know who they are until they know Who their God is and Who their Savior is…Who will then help them know who they are! Again, God is the Great Introducer of Life! God introduced Himself at Creation. God re-introduced Himself at the Incarnation. And God introduces people to themselves through His revelation about who they really are and what their real place and purpose is, or is supposed to be, in this world.
But God also introduces each person to what their real needs are…especially what their greatest need is, for although God made them in His own image, that image was marred by their sin, and their spirit was killed by their sins. But they can have their spirit restored to life and God’s image remade when they repent of their sins and receive Jesus as their own personal Savior and God. Every person’s greatest need is to become Born Again, by coming to Jesus in repentance and faith.
God introduced Himself at the Creation…re-introduced Himself at the Incarnation…and introduces you to yourself in the realization of everything you need to know for salvation and fellowship with your God forever!