Of Nativities and Nature
Last Sunday morning we began a look at Jesus, the Son of the Most High in our morning service. This week we will continue in Luke 1 by looking at Mary’s song of praise where she exclaims, “My Soul Magnifies the Lord.”
In Sunday School last week we went back in Matthew 4 to look again at the temptations that Jesus faced in the wilderness and we discussed how Jesus could not have succumbed to temptation and sinned. He is fully God and fully Man, two distinct natures in one person. Church history reveals to us the battle over the question of “Who is Jesus?” Getting Jesus wrong is heresy. We want to be careful in how we understand Scripture defining him.
This is also why we don’t use any images of Jesus. Many churches at this time of year may use nativity scenes. Many churches use pictures of Jesus in Sunday School material or have famous paintings like The Last Supper on the wall. There are several reasons for not using images of Jesus, or any other member of the Godhead. But concerning his two natures of God and man which cannot be separated, we look to Christ’s divinity and realize that God should not be depicted by any image. If Jesus is God we should not try and depict Him.
We have been given images in our sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper for our use in worship to remind us of who Jesus is and what He came to earth to do. This is why we keep those symbols before us each Lord’s Day as we worship.
In last week’s sermon I quoted Steven J. Nichols from the introduction to his book, “Jesus Made in America.” He writes, “Early Christians recognized that Christianity would indeed stand or fall based on how it settled the question of Christ’s identity.” The same is true for us today. As I mentioned last week, a lot of times we get Jesus wrong. I encourage you to continue to study God’s Word and join us for worship as we continue to focus on who Jesus is this December.
Here are some other resources that you may enjoy as we consider the identity of Christ.
Last week’s Sunday School: https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=122181942484398
I encourage you to join us for a discussion of God’s Word in our Sunday School class. Here is our discussion from last week.
A message on the 2nd Commandment: https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=42416151257
This message was from April 2016 as we went through the ten commandments.
Celebrating Jesus’ Birth — Without His Picture: https://www.opc.org/nh.html?article_id=438
This New Horizons article from 2006 is a good reminder to me every year.
Let us celebrate Jesus in December and encourage others to do the same. And let us seek to avoid mis-representing the person of Christ.