Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Before Bethlehem, Jesus Was With God

Before the incarnation, Jesus was with the Father and the Spirit.  John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  So Jesus was both God and with God.  He was God in and of Himself, and He was with the other Persons of the Godhead – the Father and the Spirit.  Verse 2 also says, “He was in the beginning with God.” 

We’ve seen before that there is no time when Jesus is not.  There is no place where Jesus is not.   Now we recognize that for all eternity, there is no time or place where Jesus is alone.  Our God is a community.  Our God is a fellowship of three.  Jesus has never been solitary, never been a loner, never been by Himself.  Where is Jesus?  Where He has always been – with God.  Wherever Jesus is, so also are the Father and the Spirit.  Wherever the Father and the Spirit are, Jesus is there too.  They are united together, and are one.

What do we know about this fellowship which Jesus has with His Father and the Holy Spirit?  We know from John 17 that it is a fellowship of love, joy, and shared glory.  Picture the scene with me.  We have Jesus praying to His Father on the night in which He is to be betrayed.  He will be dead by this time tomorrow.  The next several hours will be filled with unspeakable anguish.

Jesus prays in verse 24: “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.”  The depths of that verse are breathtaking.  When I eventually preach through John, chapter 17 will be one of those chapters that we will swim in for a very long time.  It is so rich, and so good. 

But the main thing for us to see right now is that Christ’s relationship with His Father before His incarnation was one of love.  This not small love, either.  God loves all that is good with an infinite love, and Jesus is all good.  For all eternity, Jesus has lived in the experience of a love deeper and wider and broader than the oceans.  It’s greater than that – this very universe, which stretches out beyond anything we can possibly imagine, is an expression of God’s love for Christ.  Friend, picture the most loved you’ve ever felt in your entire life, and multiply that by infinity – that is the love which Christ has known from His Father for all eternity.

Therefore, take the greatest moment of joy you’ve ever experienced, and multiply that by infinity, and you’ll have the kind of joy that has filled our Savior for all eternity.

This is Jesus before the incarnation.  He loves His Father, and He is loved by His Father.  He is deeply and immeasurably happy.  And, He and His Father share in a glory that makes our blazing sun look like a speck of black dust.  John 17:5: “And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.”

Before the world existed, Christ dwelt with God in unapproachable light.  Together, they created heavenly creatures, such as seraphim and cherubim.  These creatures were created with the capacity to be in God’s special presence, to behold Him to some degree, and to joyfully extol His attributes forever.  So Jesus, before the incarnation, is an invisible Spirit, but a Spirit that can appear in various forms when He chooses to.  He is everywhere at every time.  He is with His Father and with the Holy Spirit.  He lives in the love of His Father and joyfully shares in His glory.  There is a place called Heaven where He and His Father make their presence especially known, and appear to heavenly creatures.  There, they are worshiped and honored and lauded. 

In this relationship, Christ joined with His Father and with the Spirit in a special plan.  They are of one mind and one heart in this plan.  They have covenanted together on this plan.  It is a plan to express all of their glorious attributes.  It is a plan to put on display before creatures given the capacity to see and wonder their own remarkable character.  It is a plan to create a universe, a moral universe, in which that which is the opposite of God – evil – will be present.  But Christ will show the glories of God by becoming a Savior for sinners.  This redemptive plan was adopted by the Godhead long before Christ was born of Mary.

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