We’ve been in a series called Glory Revealed. The Bible says in John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” Tammy and I are praying that you and your family “behold His glory” this Christmas.
You see the glory of God all through the Christmas Story. “The glory of the Lord shone all around,” the angels sang “glory to God in the highest,” and “the Shepherds left glorifying God.” But the Bible is NOT a collection of different, unrelated stories. Instead, it is a single story of God creating, man rebelling, and God sending His Son to reconcile/bring us back to God. One of the big differences of Christianity from other religions is other religions are based on rules and rituals to try to please a God who is distant. Christianity is about a loving God seeking us.
The Bible says that you can know God. God created the heavens and the earth, and the heavens declare the glory of God. The God who created you wants to have a relationship with you. In the beginning God would come down and walk with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day. Adam and Eve sinned and their relationship with Holy God was broken. But in Genesis God made a promise that a Messiah would come who would be of the seed of the woman and He would give us victory over sin and Satan. In Exodus, when God set His people free from Egypt, He revealed His glory in a cloud. God met with Moses in a tent outside the camp. Then God met with them in the Tabernacle. He went from the tent outside the camp to the Tabernacle in the middle of the camp (because God wants to be the center of your life). Finally, it went from portable to permanent at the Temple. When Solomon built the Temple he asked a question, “But will God really dwell on earth with humans? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!” (2 Chron 6:18).
When Jesus was born on earth, one of the names the angel said to call Him was “Immanuel,” which literally means “God with us.” John leaves no doubt or question about who Jesus is. He begins this chapter, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (v. 1-3). There was never a time the Word did not exist. Bethlehem was not the beginning of His existence. In verse 18 he says, “No one has ever seen God. The one and only Son, who is himself God and is at the Father’s side—he has revealed him.” This is how the Father has chosen to reveal Himself to us. The Word that spoke the world into existence became flesh and dwelt among us. Verse 4 says, “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.”
“[Jesus] came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (Jn. 1:11-12). It was necessary for Him to be fully man to stand in our place and fully God to live a perfect life. He is the only one qualified to be the savior of the world.
There are only two groups of people in the world and in the end only two groups in eternity: those who did not receive Him and those who receive Him. The world says one religion is as good as the other, all roads lead to the same place, and tolerance is prized above truth. The Bible says, “Jesus is the way” (Jn. 14:6).
Revelation 21 says, “Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away… I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’” (v. 1-5).
One day Jesus will come again, and we’ll still be in one of those two groups: those who believed Him or those who did not. God’s glory is revealed in Christ, and because Jesus came to dwell among man and to die in our place for our sin, we have the opportunity to dwell with Him forever.
We have seen what the Bible says and what the world says about Jesus. What do you say? Do you believe? Have you received Him? Have you beheld his glory?