Holding to Truth

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How to Use the Recovery Version to Highlight the Real Meaning of the Birth of Jesus Christ

What’s so significant about the birth of Jesus Christ? And what does it really mean to us today?

I’m afraid, to some, it’s just one of the trappings of the holiday season—a nativity scene and some songs. Others may regard it as a historical event, yet with little thought as to, “what’s the real meaning of the birth of Jesus?”…and, “How does it apply to me today?”

So in this post, I’d like to dig into a few key Bible verses with footnotes from the Recovery Version to highlight the awesome truth of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Before we consider the Word though, I’d like to mention Charles Wesley’s famous hymn, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing…”   Look closely at its lyrics, especially those in stanza two. You’ll be impressed with something of the real meaning of the birth of Jesus. This stanza says:

Christ, by highest heav’n adored,
Christ, the everlasting Lord:
Late in time behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,
Hail th’ incarnate Deity!
Pleased as man with man to dwell,
Jesus our Immanuel.

First, it says that Christ was “the everlasting Lord…come, Offspring of a virgin’s womb”—Isa. 7:14

This stanza refers to Isaiah 7:14 which says,

“Behold the virgin will conceive and will bear a son, and she will call his name Immanuel.”

How awesome that this “son” born of the virgin Mary was the everlasting Lord!

Part of footnote 1 on this verse, in the Recovery Version, says,

“…He was a child of a dual nature, the divine nature and the human nature issuing in Immanuel, i.e., God with us, for the salvation of God’s people…”

Second, Wesley’s hymn points out that He was “the Godhead veiled in flesh”—John 1:1, 14; Col. 2:9.

Colossians 2:9 supports this  point by saying,

“For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”

Footnote 3 on this verse says,

“This points to the physical body that Christ put on in His humanity, indicating that all the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ as the One who has a human body…”

Third, Wesley boldly stated that Christ was “the incarnate Deity!”

We need such a clear view that the Christ in whom we believe is the eternal God incarnated to be a finite man—the “incarnate Deity.” His birth was the conception of the Holy Spirit in a human virgin to bring forth our Savior who is both the complete God and a genuine, perfect man.

Matt. 1:18 and 20 say,

“Now the origin of Jesus Christ was in this way: His mother, Mary, after she had been engaged to Joseph, before they came together, was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit.”… But while he pondered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife, for that which has been begotten in her is of the Holy Spirit.”

Part of footnote 2 on Luke 1:35 explains these verses by saying,

“…Matt. 1:18 and 20 tell us that Mary “was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit,” and that “that which has been begotten in her is of the Holy Spirit.” This indicates that the divine essence out of the Holy Spirit had been begotten in Mary’s womb before she delivered the child Jesus. Such a conception of the Holy Spirit in the human virgin, accomplished with the divine and human essences, constituted a mingling of the divine nature with the human nature, which produced a God-man, One who is both the complete God and the perfect man, possessing the divine nature and the human nature distinctly, without a third nature being produced. This is the most wonderful and most excellent person of Jesus, who is Jehovah the Savior.”

Fourth, He is “Jesus our Immanuel”—Matt. 1:21, 23!

The angel continued in verse 21 saying,

“And she will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.”

Then verses 22-23 present the birth of Jesus as the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 7:14 mentioned earlier in this post.  Matthew referred to it  by saying,

‘Now all this has happened so that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel” (which is translated, God with us).’ 

Jesus was, is, and will eternally be our “Emmanuel”—not only in His birth, but also now, much more, in His resurrection. He is now “God with us,”  as the resurrected One, the  life-giving Spirit,  with our spirit (2 Tim. 4:22). He is with us in this way from the moment with believe into Him into eternity.

Finally, be impressed that the meaning of “incarnation” is simply the mingling of God with man.

The meaning of the birth of Jesus Christ was the mingling of God with man. In this mingling there was both divinity and humanity mingled together, without a third nature being produced.

This  is what it means to be a real Christian. Not only was Jesus such a mingling of God with man, but every true believer in Christ is mingled with God, to be a God-man.

To be born again, or regenerated, is to experience such a divine birth in which God is mingled with man!

The best way for us to enter into the real meaning of Christ’s birth is to invite Him to mingle Himself with us. When we call on Him—“Lord Jesus, our Emmanuel!”—we not only get saved from hell, we get mingled with this God-man, the One who is the Incarnate Deity.”

So may we no longer just consider the birth of Jesus as an event to commemorate but as God’s gift of a wonderful Person for us to receive and be mingled with. To be thoroughly mingled with the Lord Jesus is the best remembrance we can ever give Him.

“Lord Jesus, praise you as the real Emmanuel—God with us! Thank you for willingly laying aside Your eternal glory to be born as a lowly man. Thank you for becoming the pattern for us—the pattern of God being mingled with man. Lord make us such Christians, who also are men being mingled with God—real God-men. Thank you for showing us the real meaning of Your birth.”

If you’ve enjoyed this real meaning of Christ’s birth—the mingling of God and man, please share it in a comment to this post.


About Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

5 Replies

  1. “Lord Jesus, Thank you for willingly laying aside Your eternal glory to be born as a lowly man.” This prayer is a response to what we read in Phil. 2:6-7, “Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider being equal with God a treasure to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, becoming in the likeness of men.” Inwardly He remained God but outwardly He took on the form of a man so that He could be Immanuel, God with us. He is with us, so may we respond to Him every moment.

    1. Tom Smith

      I like your reference to Phil. 2:6-7 showing how Christ eternally existed in the form of God, yet for our sake was willing to lay aside His eternal glory to take on our lowly human form–even the form of a slave, the likeness of men. What condescension! He retained the inward essence of God, yet became in the form of a man so He could become our “Emmanuel”–God with us. We can only praise and worship Him!

      I’m especially thankful that as the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45) He is now with us in our spirit (2 Tim. 4:22; Rom 8:19) He can be “God with us” in a much more intimate way today than He ever was with His disciples when He walked on this earth. By contacting Him through calling on His name and praying to fellowship with Him, we really experience the Lord Jesus as our ever present Emmanuel.

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