Scratching the Surface
(A Brief and Incomplete Look at the Difference Between Like/Is)
Albert Einstein was a familiar face at Princeton Theological Seminary. While teaching at the university, he was a frequent guest lecturer at the seminary.
Although one of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century, he was very forgetful.
It wasn’t unusual to spot him strolling across the seminary campus without one of his socks or both of his shoes!
There is one story of how the university switchboard received a call asking for Dr. Einstein’s address. The operator said, “I’m sorry, but Dr. Einstein has made it clear to us that we are not to give out his address to anyone.” “But,” the voice whispered after a short pause, “This is Dr. Einstein.”
It is important to know who you are.
Buuuuuuut it is even more important to know who Jesus is.
That’s why Constantine called the bishops to Nicaea in the first quarter of the 4th century.
Arius had confused people with his Biblically illiterate nonsense about Jesus being kinda like God but not really true God.
There is a difference between like and is.
That’s what the Council of Nicaea was all about. It was called to declare definitively if Jesus was like God or is God.
Relying on Biblical revelation (e.g., John 1, Colossians 1, Hebrews 1), the answer was unmistakable: “We believe…in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.”
Simply, Jesus is not like God. Jesus is God.
Jesus is Emmanuel or God-with-us – the incarnation/enfleshment of God.
Or as one child exclaimed upon finally figuring Him out, “Jesus is God with skin on.”
That’s why the earliest confession of the church was so clear, concise, and conclusive: “Jesus Christ is Lord!”
Jesus is God.
The message of Christmas is God’s incarnation/enfleshment in Jesus with the intent of enabling our confident living and eternal life through faith in Him as Lord and Savior.
Here’s a letter for parents about the real meaning of Christmas:
Dear Mom and Dad,
It’s hard to believe Christmas is just around the corner. Tree lots are springing up and McDonald’s is selling movies again; though I’m not sure what their selections have to do with the season. But in some strange way, all of it gets me pretty excited.
I know you’re wondering what to give the kids this year. It seems nobody remembers what you gave them last year. There aren’t many things that don’t wear out, get thrown out, or become played out. That’s why I’m writing. I’ve got an idea that can change all of that.
Do you remember when your babies were born? Do you remember how you were lost in wonder, love, and praise? Do you remember when they were baptized? You promised to tell them about Jesus. Do you remember those first Christmas Eve services when their faces seemed to glow even more than the candles in their little hands? Do you remember listening to them sing about that “Silent Night, Holy Night” for the first time? I know you remember when they saw the manger scene and exclaimed with such innocent joy, “There’s baby Jesus!”
I know you know what to give them for Christmas.
I’m not one of those Scrooge-like posing “Christians” who make holidays look like a bad case of hemorrhoids. I like popcorn balls, candy canes, cookies with sprinkles, eggnog, mistletoe, and even the funny man in the red suit. They help to make the season bright.
I just want you to remember why we’re always excited; and not just around this time of the year.
It’s all about a baby. Jesus. Emmanuel.
So give Jesus to the kids! He is the only gift that last forever!
Blessings and Love!
Blessings and Love!
Shatter the sound of silence!
Wake up! Look up! Stand up! Speak up! Act up for Jesus!
Salt! Shine! Leavenate!
Amen, my brother, Amen!
Or when the child comes up to the manger and sings Happy Birthday to Jesus. Brought me to tears the first time I heard and saw the little girl there, eyes wide as could be, singing to Jesus on His birthdate. Truly He is the wonder maker, the awesome God, the marvelous treasure wrapped in swaddling cloth.
I hope it is a grand celebration for you, the church community, and for you and your sons.
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