Today an Eternal Present was Unveiled in the City of David

Merry Christmas!

10 . . . The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! Listen closely, for I proclaim to you good news of great joy for all the people: 11 Today your Savior—Who is Christ the Lord—was born in the city of David.”1

This is the day we celebrate the birth2 of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,3 Jesus the Christ, the Messiah.4

Joy to the world! / The Lord is come! / Let earth receive her King. / Let every heart prepare Him room / and heaven and nature sing.

A bit over two millennia ago, the eternal Word5 became the eternal-temporal Theanthrōpos,6 the God-man.7 Deity came in humility, clothed in humanity, born in Bethlehem. God the Father loved the world so much that He provided His one, unique Son8 as a sacrifice for us all, by ‘lifting Him up’ on the cross,9 so that everyone who believes in Him would not  perish, but would gain eternal life,10 adopted as God’s children.11 This entrance into eternality begins the very moment of initial belief12 and will remain for the overcomers—those enduring until the end.13

This day we should, in reverential awe, commemorate this glorious, eternally present,14 eternal gift.15 We should remember this selfless, sacrificial gift16 every day—but especially today. Those temporal gifts we give and receive—largely in celebrations overshadowing the true meaning of this season, this day—those temporal gifts we exchange, some by compulsion, will perish. But not this gift. This gift, available to all, has already been given—at such cost!17 The Giver of this gift is Himself the Gift,18 Who seemingly perished forevermore after being crucified.19 Yet He rose again!20 And He lives yet still.21

But this gift is more of an exchange—though a very one-sided one at that. To receive the gift of Jesus’ substitutionary atonement22—in which He has already paid the due penalty for all mankind’s sins past, present, and future23—one must repent,24 turn to Jesus as Lord and Savior,25 and then ‘take up one’s cross daily’.26 This means obeying Jesus’ commandments27 and following His path, to the point of physical death, if necessary.28 However, even if following Christ directly results in temporal death (which is an inevitable eventuality whether following Him or not) one receives the much more valuable eternal life. Yet, even more, as part of this exchange one receives God’s indwelling Spirit29—the Holy Spirit, the paraklētos,30 the Spirit of Truth31—in Whom one possesses both the navigational compass and the strength to endure His pathway.

Yet Jesus’ requirements are not burdensome.32 When the Christ-follower inevitably sins33—and one easily does so when living by one’s own strength rather than by and in the Spirit34—He is quick to forgive the penitent.35

To those who believe in and follow the Messiah, His Resurrection guarantees this eternal present;36 but, it was the conception37 and subsequent birth38 of the Eternal-temporal39 providing the necessary precursor. As Christians, as Christ-followers, let us remember this day for the momentous and joyous occasion it was and is: the arrival of the Gospel in the Gift wrapped in strips of cloth lying in a manger.40 To those with opened eyes He was unveiled.41 To the blind He remained veiled, but to those blind subsequently receiving sight He was revealed.42

Let us not be side-tracked by the temporality of contemporary glitz and glamour. Let us not take this day for granted. Let us take it to heart. Let us take its inherent message to the outer extremities.43 Let us be God’s instruments through which this Gift is unveiled, blind eyes opened.

The world awaits.44

——–

(If you think you might be experiencing a case of déjà vu, you are not exactly wrong. This is a lightly revised and slightly expanded version of an article I posted on Christmas day last year.)

__________________________

1 Luke 2:10-11, my translation.
2 It is very unlikely, though, that December 25 is the actual day Jesus was born. See When was Jesus Born?
3 Luke 2:10-11; Matthew 1:25; cf. Micah 5:2.
4 John 1:41; 4:25.
5 John 1:1.
6 From Theos = God, anthrōpos = man.
7 John 1:14.
8 John 1:14; 3:16.
9 John 3:14 (cf. Numbers 21:8-9); John 12:32-33.
10 John 3:16-17; Romans 5:8; Ephesians 2:4; 1John 4:9-10.
11 John 1:12.
12 John 5:24-25.
13 Matthew 24:13; Revelation 2:7, 10-11, 17, 26-28; 3:5, 10-12, 19-21; 14:12.
14 John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 1:2-3.
15 Revelation 13:8; cf. Revelation 17:8. There is ambiguity in the syntax of the Greek in 13:8. Is it that the Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world (KJV, NIV, e.g.), or is it that certain names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world (ESV, NASB, e.g.)? [This implies there are yet others who were written in the book of life from the foundation of the world (cf. Rev 3:5).] One could harmonize this with the words whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world from 17:8 to resolve this, yet it seems difficult to have a book of life without the Life Giver’s substitutionary atonement (Hebrews 2:17) having been provided first. So maybe both are true? Resolution is not even found in John the Baptizer’s words in John 1:29 regarding the “Lamb of God” (cf. Rev 5:6-14), for the verb airōn, takes away, is a present active participle, which grammatically indicates durative action (imperfective aspect), but the temporal reference is unclear. Is it yet-future from the Baptizer’s words (in then-current context looking forward to the cross), or is John stating that it is already in effect? Relatedly, this verb airō can connote being taken ‘up’ as well as taken away, which can provide a bit of—likely intended—double entendre, polysemy. In other words, sins are taken up/away as He is taken up/away. This double meaning likely applies—unknowingly by the speakers and in ironical fashion with the benefit of hindsight—in John 19:15 when “the Jews” (hoi Ioudaioi) responded to Pilate’s statement “Here is your king!” with aron aron, staurōson auton, “Take up/away, take up/away; crucify him!” Their command resulted in Him being glorified (John 12:23; 13:31-32; 17:1) and thereby receiving the name above every name (Philippians 2:9-11; cf. What Did Pilate State in John 19:22?: Conclusion).
16 Philippians 2:5-8.
17 Hebrews 2:9-18; 4:15. Each and every one of us—at and beyond the age of accountability, at the least—has played his/her part in lifting Him up on that cross.
18 John 11:25; 14:6.
19 Matthew 27:48-50; Mark 15:36-37; Luke 23:36; John 19:28-30.
20 Matthew 28:1-15; Mark 16:1-8[20]; Luke 24:1-49; John 2:19-22; 10:17-18; 20:1-31; 1Corinthians 15:1-4.
21 Revelation 1:18.
22 Hebrews 2:14-18.
23 Romans 3:25-26; Hebrews 9:11-15, 26-28; 10:12, 19-24.
24 Matthew 4:17; Luke 3:8-14; Acts 2:38; 3:19; Romans 2:4.
25 But this cannot be done in one’s own strength; see the words of Jesus in John 6:44: No one is able to come to Me unless the Father, the One Who sent Me, draws him[/her].
26 Matthew 10:38-39; 16:24-26; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23-24; 14:27; John 12:25-26.
27 Matthew 4:17; 22:37-39; Mark 12:30-31; John 8:31-32; 13:34/15:12; 15:10; James 2:8-11; 1John 5:3.
28 Matthew 16:24-26. See What did Jesus mean when He said, “Take up your cross and follow Me”?
29 John 3:3-8; 14:17; Romans 8:15-17; 1Corinthians 2:12; 3:16; 6:19; 2Corinthians 6:16.
30 John 14:15-16:15; Acts 1:8; 2:1-39; 1John 4:1-6. See also Who is the Holy Spirit?
31 John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13; 1John 4:6; 5:6.
32 Matthew 11:28-30; 1John 5:3.
33 1John 1:8-10.
34 Galatians 5:16-26; 1John 1:6-8.
35 Hebrews 10:22-23; 1John 1:9-2:2.
36 1Corinthians 15:20-23.
37 Luke 1:34-35.
38 Luke 2:1-7.
39 John 1:1, 14.
40 Luke 2:10-12.
41 Luke 2:8-20.
42 John 9:1-41; 2Corinthians 3:14-18.
43 Matthew 28:19-20.
44 John 3:16-21, 31-36; Romans 8:18-27.

28 Responses to Today an Eternal Present was Unveiled in the City of David

  1. Craig says:

    Well, that didn’t work out as planned. I intended to have this post at 00:01 on December 25 (CST); however, the calendar kept trying to default to another time/date. Somehow I inadvertently released it early. Oh well; it’s already Christmas somewhere in the world.

    Merry Christmas!

    Like

  2. Merry Christmas, Craig! I hope when you walk around your neighborhood today and see your neighbor’s nativity with the baby in the manger, it brings a smile to your face!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Craig says:

    Yes! And the same merriment and joy to you and yours!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Craig says:

    And, as expected, baby Jesus was in the manger!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That warms my heart!!! I shared with Nathan and my mom about your neighbor’s nativity. We may do that next year!!!! I am SO thankful for you, brother! How’s your Christmas? I have some really good friends in Nashville, heartbreaking.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Craig says:

    Christmas is quiet, which is quite refreshing. How’s yours?

    Since I purposely avoided any news, I had no idea about Nashville. Just looked it up. Interesting that warning was provided, which limited the human casualties. I hope your friends aren’t directly–or even indirectly–impacted. I wonder what the purpose was?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi, Craig! I’m sorry about the news, oops! My one friend is struggling. I am curious to learn the motive. All Katie has said is they don’t know. Christmas here is quiet which is also a nice gift!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Craig says:

    No problem on the news. It’s not that providing it was a distraction or anything like that. I just chose to do other things today. Such as listening to orchestral and choral music by Arvo Part (like Arbos and In Principio, the latter including John 1:1-14 in Latin).

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I will have to check this out!! My mom played Christmas for a solid nine hours!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. SLIMJIM says:

    Merry Christmas! Wow you footnoted this!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Craig says:

    Same to you! Hope you enjoyed the day with your immediate family (and any other extended members).

    I hope you didn’t find my comments too ‘out in the weeds’ the other day. I admit I don’t have a firm grasp on Greek middle verbs, and now I recall where I’d read about the thing I was driving at. It’s in the introduction to all the Baylor BHGNT series works. Essentially, they dispose of deponency as a category. To be more specific in the Scripture you were working with, I had/have a hard time understanding how a passive participle can work with an active finite/main verb! I figure it must be middle instead of passive. In other words, I think “passive” is a misnomer.

    Since then I began reading Carl Conrad’s ideas on this whole thing. You can see his flow of thoughts here:

    Observations on Ancient Greek Voice (LONG!)

    New Observations on Voice in the Ancient Greek Verb November 19, 2002

    Active, Middle, and Passive: Understanding Ancient Greek Voice

    Though I’ve yet to fully grasp all he says, I think his position makes the most sense, i.e., that the Greek verbal system is essentially the two poles of active (the default) or mediopassive (context will determine whether verb leans middle or passive).

    Liked by 1 person

  12. SLIMJIM says:

    Wow you’ve put some thought into it. I know I read in what I think was Campbell’s book on Koine Greek recent scholarship that middle voice as deponent is now seen as suspect or something like that. You weren’t out in the weeds! Going to have to look at those links after my teaching with YouTh group!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Craig says:

    Just looking at egeirō, it appears that the -theta- infixes in the GNT and NA28 parsings (these are done by two different individuals in Accordance) are all labeled as passive. I’ll say this, reading through Conrad’s words here (for the first time–didn’t look them up earlier) he’s helped provide me both the basis and the impetus to flesh out a hunch I’d had and to be able to confidently finish an article I’d begun long ago. God willing, I’ll start working on it within a few days.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. SLIMJIM says:

    👍👍👍👍

    Like

  15. Craig says:

    BTW, I have the Campbell book you mentioned, as well. And he well-focuses on in/transitivity even in his Basics for Verbal Aspect book. I need to pay more attention to whether or not a verb is acting in- or transitively in any given context. That should help determine whether it’s middle or passive in the context.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. SLIMJIM says:

    (thumbs up). God bless you Craig, you’re much more the Greek Grammar guy than I am so grateful for that

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Craig says:

    In today’s Daily Dose of Greek, Dr. Plummer exegetes Matthew 1:21 and follows that with a few thoughts on this year:

    http://dailydoseofgreek.com/scripture-passage/matthew/merry-christmas/

    Liked by 1 person

  18. SLIMJIM says:

    Love the Christmas setting! Love Dr. Plummer!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. SLIMJIM says:

    BLessed to hear Dr. Plummer share on this verse!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Craig says:

    How was Youth Group? Is it boys-only or mixed?

    Liked by 1 person

  21. SLIMJIM says:

    Youth group went well, its four boys and one girl at the moment. My wife joins in occasionally so she doesn’t feel awkward but she’s honestly the one that wants to learn about God the most so she doesn’t mind but still we try to make sure there’s others sisters. We are doing it online at the moment as the parents have concern with our area the virus is more higher in our county than most of the country.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. SLIMJIM says:

    Thanks for asking!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Craig says:

    I’m sure it’s not the same as face-to-face, in physical proximity. This would promote more interaction, I’d think.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. SLIMJIM says:

    Indeed I miss face to face interactions as that is so much better. Still we are glad the kids actually did tell us overall they enjoy it. I think it has to do with this being a hard year and God working. But then these kids are usually so busy and we didn’t have youth groups because their parents had them do everything from sports, classes and Boy Scouts…

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Craig says:

    Yes, we must look at the positive aspects of this year. No doubt there’s a spiritual battle going on.

    While my parents never pushed my brother or me into any activities, I particularly enjoyed Track, and I can’t imagine being in high school and being forced to miss out on that. I wasn’t a believer then, so it would’ve been tough.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. SLIMJIM says:

    Indeed we must fight. Some days with all the crazy politics I look at the kids at church as something we can do, teaching them the Gospel and the whole counsel of the WOrd of God concerning even worldview issues that touch on ethics, politics and society. Next year we will be going over a series on Controversial topics from a Christian wordlview and also apologetics. I’m hoping to be good stewards with these kids at our church

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Craig says:

    I’m sure you will be. You have a pastor’s heart–good thing you’re a Pastor!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. SLIMJIM says:

    Thanks for this encouragement!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: