Robert Jeffress - What Child Is This?
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress, and welcome again to "Pathway to Victory". When you picture Jesus Christ, what image comes to your mind? A tiny baby and a feeding trough? A grown man teaching the multitudes? Or a powerful monarch seated on a throne? Today, we're going to look at an unexpected passage from the New Testament that reveals the identity of the child whose birth we are celebrating this weekend. My message is titled "What Child is This"? On today's edition of "Pathway to Victory".
I've got an illustration. It's a great illustration. I'm not going to tell you the name of the movie. It is a mega hit comedy from about 10 years ago that many of you saw. You're not going to admit that you saw it, but you did see it. A lot of you saw it, and in one memorable scene in this movie, the family is seated around the dinner table and the father is going to lead grace for the family before the meal. Has everybody bow their head and he begins, "Dear baby Jesus," and he keeps going, "Dear baby Jesus, tiny baby Jesus, baby Jesus, baby Jesus," and the wife interrupts the prayer, and she says, "Honey, you do know that he grew up, don't you"? And the husband says, "Yeah, but I like tiny baby Jesus. I like the tiny baby Jesus better than the adult Jesus. That's the one I want to pray to," and then the grandfather interrupts. He said, "Well, I like the fully grown and fully bearded Jesus. He's the one I like to pray to".
So they get in a huge knock-down argument around the dinner table about which Jesus is the right Jesus to pray to. Now, I have to admit to you, when I first saw that, I was really offended. I thought this is really sacrilegious, but the more I've watched that, the more I realize it illustrates a great truth. There are a lot of people who really believe that Jesus is whoever they imagine him to be, and while the real Jesus, though, the Jesus of the Bible came into this world as a tiny baby, he was much more than that. Who is this child that was born in the feeding trough in Bethlehem 2.000 years ago? Was he just another tiny baby, or was he more? Well, the best answer to what child is this that was born in Bethlehem is going to be the focus of our study today, and the answer to that question, who was this baby, the best answer is found not in Luke chapter two, the traditional nativity account, but it's found in Colossians chapter one.
If you have your Bibles, I want you to turn to Colossians chapter one as we discover the real identity of this baby born in Bethlehem 2.000 years ago. And the theme of this letter is simply this. Jesus Christ is sufficient for every need you have. He is sufficient to save you. He is sufficient to secure you. He is sufficient to sustain you through whatever problems you are facing. For some of you here today, some of you watching, you need to hear that message more than ever right now, that Jesus Christ is really all that you need. He really is sufficient for that need you're facing today, whether it's a financial need. Some of you right now are facing health concerns. Some of you are dealing with the loss of a loved one this past year or in years past, and it's especially painful at this time.
Hear the message. Jesus Christ is everything that you need. You say, "How do you know that, pastor"? Well, Paul answers that question in these five verses, 15 through 20, in which Paul says Jesus is sufficient, and the way you know he is, is because he is central in three specific realms of this universe. As you see the centrality of Jesus Christ in these three different arenas, you'll become convinced that he is sufficient for you. First of all, Paul says, Jesus Christ is the Creator of the universe. He is central in the creation of the universe. You know, a lot of Christians believe that Jesus just came on the scene at Bethlehem. That was the first time. He was created at the conception, and nine months later, when he was born in Bethlehem. No, the Bible says Jesus Christ is eternal, just as God is eternal. And in these verses, verses 15 through 17, Paul shows that by showing the central role that Jesus had in the creation of the universe.
First of all, Jesus was preexistent to the creation. He actually existed before Bethlehem. Look at verse 15. "For he," Jesus, "Is the image of the invisible God". Who is Jesus? He's the image of the invisible God. Jesus Christ was preexistent to creation. Not only that, secondly, he was the cause of creation. Look at verse 16. "For by him," Jesus, "All things were created, both in heaven and earth, visible and invisible". Think of that. Everything that exists in this vast universe was created by who? Not God the Father. We think of God the Father as the Creator. No, it was that baby born in Bethlehem who is the Creator of everything that has ever existed. Just think about it. That cross on which Jesus hung was made of wood from a tree that Jesus had created. And notice this word "All". All things were created by him. What's the point of all of this? If Jesus can create everything that exists in this universe don't you think he can take care of whatever need you have. This is Jesus the Creator of all things.
I want us to explore that word "All" for just a moment. Think of the vastness of this great universe. You know our solar system exists in the milky way galaxy. We are just one of hundreds of millions of solar systems in the milky way galaxy. The milky way galaxy has a hundred billion stars in it. And the milky way galaxy is but one of a hundred billion at least galaxies that exist in this universe. But let's just think of our one galaxy, the milky way galaxy with a hundred billion stars. The average distance from star to star in the milky way galaxy is thirty trillion miles. That is five light years. Light travels at 186.000 miles per second in a year. One light year. We're five light years, thirty trillion miles away from the average star.
To give you an idea of how far that is, the late norm Geisler said: imagine you get hold of one of those decommissioned space shuttles and you were able to reactivate it. It travels at 17.000 miles an hour. You got on one of those space shuttles on one star and you wanted to go to the next one thirty trillion miles going at 17.000 miles an hour it would take you 201.000 years to travel just to the next star. Who created all that? Where did it come from? It all came from a word spoken by that baby in Bethlehem, Jesus Christ. He is the Creator of all things. And not only that, the Bible says he is the heir of creation. Look at verse 16 again. "All things have been created through him and for him". And not only that, if that were not enough, not only did he create it, he sustains the creation.
Look at verse 17. "He is before all things, and in him," in Jesus, "All things hold together". And here's the point. If Jesus Christ is powerful enough to uphold everything in this universe, don't you think he's powerful enough to uphold every detail of your life, to hold your life together? There is nothing without purpose that comes into the life of a child of God. There are no random people. There are no random circumstances. There is nothing that is out of control in your life, no matter how it seems. Jesus Christ is sustaining you. He's upholding you by the word of his power. That's how we know Jesus is sufficient. Jesus Christ is the Creator of the universe. His sufficiency is also seen in the fact that he is the generator of eternal life.
Look at this in verse 18. "He," Jesus, "Is also head of the body, the church". The most common image of Christians in the New Testament is the body of Christ. Jesus is the head, and we are joined together to him spiritually. We are joined together with one another spiritually as well. He's the head. We're the body. Now, that word head can mean in Greek, it can mean he is the authority over the body. No doubt about that. Jesus is in charge of every one of our lives. He's in charge of this local church and the universal church. It can mean the authority, but the word head in Greek can also mean the source of power. The power comes from the head, and I think that's what he has in mind here. Jesus Christ is the head, the power source, the generator for all Christians. The power flows through him, into us.
What kind of power, pastor, are you talking about? Certainly the power to overcome the power of sin in our life. We have that power. We have the power to sustain us through life's crises, but the primary power that comes from Jesus Christ is the power of eternal life. How do I know that? Look at the second phrase. "He is the first born from the dead". And there's that word again, prototokos, the first born of the dead. He is the prototype of the dead. Now, does that mean Jesus Christ was the first person ever raised from the dead? No, there were people raised from the dead before Jesus. In the Old Testament, Elijah and Elisha and other prophets had the ability to raise people from the dead as a sign of power. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. There were other resurrections before Jesus Christ, but here's the key difference. Everybody who got raised from the dead died again. They still had their old body with them, but Jesus Christ is the prototype. He is the leader, the first of a whole kind of new resurrection and a new body that will never die.
Listen to what John the apostle said in 1 John 3:2. "Beloved, now we are children of God, and it's not appeared as yet as to what we shall be, but we know when he appears, we shall be like him". Now, here's the point again of what Paul is saying to us. If Jesus Christ has the power to deliver you out of the grave and give you a brand new body, don't you think that same Jesus is powerful enough to deliver you through the problem you're going through right now? It's small potatoes compared to what he's getting ready to do for you one day at your death. Jesus Christ is sufficient. He is the Creator of the universe. He is the generator of eternal life, and third and most importantly, Jesus Christ is our reconciler to God. He is our reconciler to God.
Look at verse 19. "For it was the father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in him". All of God, dwelt in Jesus, not just a little bit of God or 50% of God. All of God was poured into his son, Jesus Christ. Why? Verse 20. "And through him," Jesus, "To reconcile all things to himself, having made peace through the blood of his cross: through him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven". The reason all of God dwelt in Jesus is so that Jesus could fulfill his primary mission on earth, and that is to reconcile us to God, making peace for us with God.
Now, listen to me very carefully. Every problem you face right now, whether it's a financial problem, a health problem, a relationship problem, whether it's a problem with illness or emotional distress, every problem we experience every hour of the day is the result of a world that is not at peace with God. Every problem we face is living in the aftermath of a world that has been separated from God. What we need is reconciliation with God. That word reconcile means to move from hostility to harmony. You see, the Bible says we have all strayed from God. We have all strayed from God. You see that all the time in relationships. A husband and wife have a bitter argument and they separate from one another. Two friends have a disagreement and they decide to end the friendship and separate.
A child decides he or she no longer wants to live under the authority of a parent, and they separate from their parent. But then there comes a reconciliation and they agree to come back together. The Bible says, in our relationship with God, God's not the one who left us. We separated from God. All we, like sheep, have gone astray. We've turned, every one, into our own way, but God, in spite of our sin, God made the first move in reconciling us to himself. The Bible said God demonstrated his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, he sent Christ to die for us. God made the first move in reconciling us and the world to God by sending Christ, the perfect Son of God, to die for our sins, to take the punishment that we deserve to take on the cross. And although God has made the first move, we have to decide whether we want to be reconciled to God or live separated from God in this life and all eternity.
How did God reconcile us to himself? Look at this. Verse 20. "Through the blood of his cross". Hear me, ladies and gentlemen. There's only one way for you and me to be reconciled to God, and that's to be forgiven of our sins. We can't forgive ourselves. It is Christ whose blood forgives us, cleanses us from all unrighteousness. Hear me this morning, the blood of Jesus Christ wasn't designed to protect you from illness, from problems, from physical death, but it was designed and it is totally sufficient to protect you from the greatest problem you and I have, and that's separation from God. If we trust in the blood of Christ for the forgiveness of our sins, we won't escape physical death, but we are guaranteed to escape spiritual death, separation from God, and the blood of Christ is the only thing sufficient to reconcile you to your Heavenly Father and ensure eternal life for you and for those who trust in Christ as well.
That's why Peter said in 1 Peter 3:18, "For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that he might bring us to God, having put to death in the flesh, but being made alive again in the spirit". Jesus Christ is sufficient. He is central in being our reconciler to God. How do I know Jesus is sufficient for everything that I'm facing today? Think of it. He's the Creator of the universe, he's the generator of eternal life, and he is our reconciler to God. Jesus is sufficient. You know, I saw a great illustration of the centrality of Jesus Christ in this universe.
Number of years ago, when I was watching "The tonight show," this was long before Jimmy Fallon or even Jay Leno. It was back in the Johnny Carson days of "The Tonight Show". Now, I remember one night he had a guest host, as he often did. It was that caustic comedian Joan Rivers. Remember Joan Rivers? And she was interviewing that celebrity interviewer, Barbara Walters, and they were having a discussion, and Joan rivers asked Barbara Walters, "If you could interview any person in the world, whom would you interview"? And Barbara Walters said, "Oh, that's easy. Jesus Christ".
Joan Rivers said, "Well, what would you ask him"? Barbara Walters said, "I would have to think about that, but Joan, if you were going to interview him, what would you ask him"? And in a rare moment of seriousness, Joan Rivers said, "I would ask him if I'm going to heaven when I die". Two Jewish women on national television, having a discussion, and the central issue was Jesus Christ. That baby born in Bethlehem 2.000 years ago is the central issue in this vast universe he created, and what you do with Jesus Christ is the central issue in your life and for all of your eternity.