“The Story of Jesus”
1 Timothy 3:16
December 17, 2017
Christmas is full of surprises. But one of the surprises about Christmas in Scripture is the brevity of the NT narrative of Christ’s first advent. For instance, the four gospels tell the story of Jesus Christ, yet two of the four gospels do not mention the events of Christ’s birth. Mark and John both introduce Jesus at his baptism, skipping the first 30 years of His life, including the account of His arrival. And while Matthew and Luke both speak of the birth of Christ, the combined number of verses they give to His birth is less than 100 and most of what Matthew says centers on the genealogy of Jesus (17 vv.) and the Magi (12 vv.) and the flight from Israel to Egypt because of Herod’s angry response (11 vv.).
In spite of this, Christmas is still about Christ. The world suppresses that truth (Rom. 1:18) through various preoccupations: shopping sprees, parties and family gatherings, Santa and wish lists for children, blockbuster movie releases, and loads of tinsel and lights.
But Christmas is about Christ. It was that way the first Christmas (Mt. 1:18-25; Lk. 2:1-14). And it has been every Christmas since. Christmas is a time to reflect on the appearance of Christ into this world. He existed as God for all eternity, and He came to earth as a man (thus, He appeared — but was not created) to live a life of righteousness that fulfilled the law of God and that would ultimately be imputed to those of us who believe in Him and His death and resurrection for our sin.
Despite the brevity of the account of His arrival in the Gospels, there is much that can be said about Christ. John says that if all the works of Christ’s earthly ministry were written in detail and fulness, the whole earth could not contain the vastness of the books that would be penned (Jn. 21:25). So can we condense the advent of ministry of Christ to any particular set of truths? We can. In fact, a hymn from the early church has done just that, in the one verse that we want to examine this morning — 1 Timothy 3:16.
We are unsure if this verse is a creed that was written as a condensation of Christological truth for the early church or if it was part of an early hymn. My tendency is to think it is the latter; regardless, it is known that this set of six brief stanzas serves to give us a concise theology of Christ.
In the story of Jesus, there are three primary actions that reveal His identity and ability:
- The Appearance of Christ
- The Proclamation of Christ
- The Response to Christ
The audio will be posted on the GBC website tomorrow morning.