This next few messages are from the Gospel of John. Preparing for Christmas, passage shows the personhood and activities of Jesus, before His birth.
Before Jesus' birth? Yes, long before He was born.
Wait, are you saying Jesus existed before He was born? More precisely, the apostle John tells us the Person who was born Jesus eternally existed.
Yet who can exist before they're born? John will tell us this too. In fact, everything that John says in His Gospel is about the Eternal Person who took on flesh, was born in a manger, and named Jesus.
Elsewhere He is called the Son of God. Not because God got married and had a child, but because that is the relationship between them. One loves the Other as Father, and the Father loves Him as a Son.
Yet in our passage, John calls this Eternal Person "the Word," maybe because He is the One who reveals God. E.g., this is He who spoke as God to Adam in the Garden, who spoke as YHWH to Moses from the burning bush, and walked with Daniel's friends in the pit of fire.
So as we read this, realize John reveals an incredible mystery to us of the One who was later borne Jesus.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men…
Look at this again. Genesis 1:1 reads in the beginning God created the heavens and earth. In John 1:1 we read similarly, along with my comments
John 1:1 In the beginning [so before the first day of creation, before the beginning of all things] was the Word [In the beginning is John's way of saying He's eternal. He predates space, time, and matter. In the beginning was the Word], and the Word was with God [He had a special relationship with God. In trinitarian terms, the Son was eternally loved by the Father. See He's not a created being. John tells us], and the Word was God.
Immediately, in the very first sentence of John's Gospel, we're in the theological deep end discussing the nature of God, the Holy Trinity. One Essence, One God, three Persons.
Not three personalities, but three distinct Persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is how it can be said the Son or "the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
A Christmassy name for Jesus is Emmanuel, which means "God with us." So for 37 years who was with us? God was with us. There's more to Jesus than meets the eye. The apostles didn't fathom this when He was with them. But He gave clues when He calmed the storms, and cast out demons…
John gives us one more detail about this eternal Being who was borne Jesus,
John 1:3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
Jesus is not only eternally God, in intimate fellowship with the Father, but He is the Creator of all things—John says Jesus is the First Cause.
I recently listened to a podcast and the speaker stated, pretty obviously that "everything which begins to exist has a cause." Well science verifies what Genesis teaches, that the universe, all this space and all of this matter had a beginning point. At some point it didn't exist; i.e., the universe is not eternal.
Since the universe is not eternal then something outside of the universe, something that existed before the universe had to have caused the universe to exist. John points to the Word, to the Son of God, and said, "All things came into being through Him."
But could that be? Well, in the beginning was the Word, before the universe was made. Before there was space, time, and matter. And the Word was God, who by definition transcends space, time, and matter. Consider this and understand what this tells us about the Word, the One we know as Jesus…
Regarding space: He existed before anything was made, not just stars and planets and us but space itself; there was no wide open space before the universe was made. Imagine. But it's not like He was boxed in by anything for there wasn't anything there to box him in. Even when He created space He didn't lock Himself within it, so He's not restricted by it. It doesn't take Him time to go from point A in the universe to point B. In theological terms God is omnipresent, meaning He's everywhere present, everywhere here.
Jeremiah 23:23 "Am I a God who is near," declares the LORD, "And not a God far off? 24 Can a man hide himself in hiding places so I do not see him?" declares the LORD. "Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the LORD."
Omnipresence describes God’s ability to be "everywhere here," fully present not partially, and everywhere not just certain places or at certain times.
Psalm 139:7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8 If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. 9 If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, 10 even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me.
This is great to understand when we pray to the LORD, when we need Him,
Psalms 145:18 The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.
This is a promise. Trust Him. He's right there. Call upon the Lord, but call upon Him in truth—i.e., get to know Him, take to heart what He reveals of Himself throughout the Bible, and enjoy real relationship with the true God.
So the Lord is with you, everywhere here, unrestricted by space.
Regarding time: He's also not limited by time. Before He was born in a manger on Christmas, Moses asked Him His name? He said YHWH. The self-existing One. I am that I am.
In theological terms, the Creator of all things would have to be eternal, self-existing, uncaused. And that's exactly how the Lord presents Himself to us,
Isaiah calls Him, "the Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth."
The Lord says of Himself,
Isaiah 43:13 "Even from eternity I am He, and there is none who can deliver out of My hand; I act and who can reverse it?"
Jesus Himself acknowledges His eternality,
Revelation 21:13 "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."
Since the universe is not eternal and has a definite beginning point something or someone eternal and uncaused, independent of time and space must have caused it.
Does it make sense that God is the First Cause, the Creator of all? Absolutely.
Whatever caused all things to come into existence, i.e., the First Cause, the Creator of all things has to be unbelievably brilliant, possessing infinite intelligence to the grandest and infinitesimally smallest level. And the God revealed in the Bible (See Job 42) and in Jesus Christ fits the bill entirely.
The First Cause or Creator must also be infinitely resourceful and possess the supernatural and infinite power to create everything out of nothing. And this is precisely how the God of the Bible, "the Almighty" reveals Himself to us.
The First Cause or Creator had to be something, no, someone who is infinitely creative. When we set out to draw a car, a tree, or a person, we draw something we're familiar with. When God created all things He not only created all things out of nothing, but He invented all things with no reference outside of Himself. Stars. Planets. People. Animals. Flowers.
Regarding Matter: Finally, the First Cause or Creator had to exist not only outside of space and time but outside of all matter. He had to be immaterial. And this is what the LORD is. As Jesus said of the Father, God is Spirit. And so was He!
Before Jesus was God in the flesh, He was God. Before He was God with us, He was God.
Not only eternal and omnipresent but immaterial, spirit, unlimited by physical limitations.
Yet for our sakes and in glad submission to the Father, in the incarnation Jesus subjected Himself to all of these limitations.
The Word of God didn't have a body, yet He took on flesh and all of our physical limitations. Containing Himself in a body, like pouring the ocean into a thimble, He temporarily limited His omnipresence. So He knows the effects of stress, of not getting enough sleep, going hungry, feeling physical pain. By becoming Human, having a body, He was able to die for us, in our place.
Thus, John's Gospel gives us vital background information to the One named Jesus who was born to a virgin and who claimed to be the Son of God.
This is the incomprehensible resume of the One who said, "If anyone believes in Me, he shall not perish but have everlasting life."
Indeed, there is more to Jesus than meets the eye. Yet this is the One we trust and pray to, who gave His life on a cross, and died the only death that makes a universal impact on the living and the dead; for this is the One who rose from the dead; and who promises to return in glory. Merry Christmas.