Christmas Devotion - Day 1111-12-2018 | Matthew Campbell | MISSION
38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.
Incarnation - this word literally means 'made flesh.' It means that God became man through the person of Jesus Christ.
Of all the good things that the commercializing of Christmas has done for society, giving people an accurate view of God perhaps isn't one of them. I would imagine that if you were to ask people on the street, 'what comes to your mind when you think of God,' there would be a range of responses. Some would view him as a lenient grandfather in the sky. Others view him as a harsh, Pharaoh like, ruler in heaven who wants to spoil everyone's fun. Still, others view him as some neutral figure who wonders distantly in the sky and doesn’t really care about our human activity on earth.
However, amidst all these false pictures of what God is like, the Christmas story reminds us of the Biblical imagery that shows us God is triune! What does that mean? Well, there is one God but He exists as three distinct persons, referred to as the trinity. In many ways, this defies our human logic, but that in and of itself ought to tell us something about what God is like. He is so unique and set apart that even our human logic can not define him. It’s not as if we have 3 Gods. Nor is it that we have one God who mysteriously morphs into one of these 3 forms. No, in the trinity we have one God, yet that one God has three distinct persons - God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
In our verse for today, John 6:38, we see some of this Trinitarian language. Jesus, as he goes about his earthly ministry, says to the people of Israel, 'I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.' Who is Jesus referring to when he says this? He is referring to God the Father. Jesus in this amazing verse, explains how he is working in submission to his heavenly father by coming to this earth and acting as our substitute.
However, it isn't just the father and the Son who are involved in the incarnation. Rather, each member of the trinity are involved. In Luke 1:35, the angel tells Mary that she would bear a Son by the power of the Holy Spirit. In the Christmas story, then, we see each member of the trinity working together for the glory of God.
Quite often when we hear about the trinity, we often think about it as some abstract doctrine. Perhaps you are inclined to think that the doctrine of the trinity doesn't overly matter since it has no direct application or relevance to your life. However, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, note these 3 practical applications of the trinity which will form our reflection time for this morning. Think through each of them and how they can encourage you in your walk with God today.
The Trinity distinguishes Christianity from other religions - No other religion has a triune God. This is something which is altogether unique to Christianity. Some of your friends may try and say 'all religions are the same.' But this simply isn't true. Christianity is altogether unique from every other world religion and the Trinity is yet another example of this. How does this give you confidence in the Christian message today? Will you share it with someone else?
The Trinity models obedience for us - We often don't like verses in the Bible which tell us to obey other people in authority. For example, 'children, obey your parents' or 'wives, submit your husbands.' Oftentimes, the reason we don't like these verses is because we feel like submitting to someone else is, as a result, suggesting that we are inferior. Yet the Trinity models for us that this is not the case. Jesus, in our passage this morning, willingly submits to the Father. Yet the doctrine of the Trinity and the truth of Scripture (e.g. Philippians 2:6) show us that they are both equal. Authority doesn’t diminish Equality. How does this encourage you to obey those in authority of you today with a joyful heart?
The Trinity reminds us of the importance of relationships - God has always existed, and He has always existed as a Triune God. God, by his very nature, is a God of community. The truth is, God created you and I in his image. Part of the implication of being made in God's image is that we too function best by being in community with others. Have you ever noticed, what is the one thing mentioned in the creation account that is deemed 'not good' before the fall? It was deemed 'not good' for man to be alone (Gen 2:18). We are literally created for community. How does this reality shape and mold your understanding of the importance of the local church this week?
Prayer for today
God, thank you that you are a triune God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Thank you that, even though I can not fully wrap my head around the existence of the Trinity, this shows me all the more why I should worship you - because you are a God who is so altogether separate and great that we can not put you into a box. As I meditate on the Trinity today, would you cause it to help me in all of my relationships, I pray that I may fully glorify you by embodying what it means to live life 'in your image.'