Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Philippians 2:5-11 in the New International Version (NIV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: The Bible explains how Jesus came to earth: “But when the right time finally came (“fullness of time,” ESV), God sent His own Son. He came as the son of a human mother and lived under the Jewish Law” (Galatians 4:4, GNT). “He came to His own country, but his own people did not receive him,” (John 1:11, GNT), or, as the International Children’s Bible puts it, “He came to the world that was His own. But His own people did not accept Him.”
Ellen White adds the following:
When in the fullness of time the Son of the infinite God came forth from the bosom of the Father to this world, He came in the garb of humanity, clothing His divinity with humanity. The Father and the Son in consultation decided that Christ must come to the world as a babe, and live the life that human beings must live from childhood to manhood. . . . (Signs of the Times, May 17, 1905)
The leaders were expecting a king in Israel. They even knew He was going to be born in Bethlehem. Their study of the Book of Daniel and its prophecies had prepared them and given them hope. The “fullness of time” was here. The “when” was now! The “where” was here! But the “what” continued to be a problem. The “what” was supposed to be the Messiah, a kingly ruler and conqueror. Jesus was clearly not the “what” they were expecting!
Throughout Jesus’s time on earth there were two recurring themes, or questions, that seemed to run through the narrative of His life: 1) Is He the Messiah (Christ)?, and 2) Is He divine? The scribes and the Pharisees wondered. Even His mother struggled with these questions—as did His disciples. And yet . . . shouldn’t they have known?
The Bible predicted the time and the place of His birth. The angel Gabriel told Mary that this Child was conceived of the Holy Ghost. The dove descended on Him and a voice at His baptism stated that He was the Son of God. Numerous times Ellen White says divinity flashed through His humanity and was witnessed by those around Him. On the Mount of Transfiguration, He was again called the Son of God by a heavenly voice and stood in the unveiled glory of God without harm. Ultimately, it was a Roman officer who acknowledge that, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:54, ESV). They should have known!
Recalibrate: The real question isn’t why didn’t they recognize Him as the Son of God, but do we?
Respond: Pray for a clearer recognition of the divinity of Christ and what it means to you.
Research: How many times, and in what situations, does Ellen White say that Christ’s “divinity flashed through humanity”?
Remember: “Jesus has always been as God is” (Philippians 2:6a, NLV).
Mark is executive director of the public health department in Jefferson County, one of the most populous counties in the state of Colorado. He received his medical training at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins University and is board certified in preventive medicine and public health. He is chair of the vision board at Boulder Adventist Church where he is a regular preacher. Mark is married to Diane and they have two adult children and three granddaughters.
The Bible is all about telling us the love that God has for us. We see this love so clearly through Jesus! What does it mean to love someone? Explain your love for your child. How do they know you love them? It’s hard to believe, but Jesus’ love is bigger than our love. Jesus loved us so much that He came down and was born just like your child was. He sacrificed everything He had to wear diapers. How has that love affected your life? Your child’s life?
Jesus has a lot of different names that describe him. Can you think of some of those names? One of the things He called Himself was the “bread of life.” I’m sure you’ve had lots of yummy treats over Christmas. What were some of your favorites? Things like bread and treats fill us up! Jesus came to fill up our lives with love and the spirit. Today, make your favorite holiday treat to give to someone else. Jesus reminds us to be servants. He gave to us, so we can give to others.
I don’t have many claims to fame. I’ve only met one famous person, and he is probably a person that you have never even heard of. His name is Thomas Lauderdale. Thomas Lauderdale is the pianist for my favorite band, Pink Martini. It’s this eccentric, jazzy band that started in Portland, Oregon, in the ’90s. I grew up listening to them and I know every word to their songs, even the ones in French, and I’ve seen them twice in concert. My first time seeing them in concert I was able to meet Thomas Lauderdale and shake his hand. I was thrilled! I told everyone whom I had met and that I shook his hand. Mind you, they weren’t that impressed because very few people know who he is, but that didn’t matter to me. It’s interesting to me how Jesus, the Son of God, could have come down and gone around telling everyone who He was and boasting about it. Instead He lived a quiet life as a carpenter for 20 years. He didn’t show off His talents and prove Himself to people, but rather He lived a humble life. I don’t know about you, but if I were the Son of God I would want to post about it, schedule interviews with people, and casually bring it up in conversation. Jesus didn’t do any of that. He emptied himself so that we could be filled. He sacrificed so that we could have life and life abundantly. What an awesome God we serve!