Saturday, July 21, 2012

Birth of Jesus: Trinity Incarnate


As we have seen in earlier posts, God prescribed patterns of worship in the Old Testament, including feasts, to reflect His Trinity. Thousands of years later, New Testament worship continued to honor God’s Triune nature as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Worship of God the Son began when Jesus was in Mary’s womb and continued through His infancy and early childhood. Patterns of three continued to be evident in this early worship and in the circumstances surrounding Christ’s birth.

When Jesus Christ left His heavenly throne, He wrapped Himself in flesh and dwelled among us (John 1:14) so that we could behold His glory. As foretold in the Old Testament (Jeremiah 9 23-24), man was not to glory in his own wisdom, power, or wealth, but in God’s love, judgment, and righteousness. In the person of Jesus Christ, and in Him alone, were these three sources of glory fulfilled.

Before Jesus was born, three persons (Zacharias, Mary, and Joseph) crucial to His earthly life were visited by an angel who revealed their special roles in the birth of the Messiah. The angel Gabriel appeared to the old priest Zacharias to tell him that Elizabeth, his barren and aged wife, would give birth to John the Baptist, who would prepare the way for the chosen Messiah (Luke 1:7-19).

Then Gabriel appeared to the virgin Mary to tell her that God had chosen her to give birth to the promised Savior, conceived by the Holy Ghost (Luke 1:26-35). The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, telling him that Mary had conceived the Messiah by the Holy Spirit, and that he should marry her as planned (Matthew 1:20-21).

Even before Jesus was born, the first worship service of three congregants (Mary, Elizabeth, and John) honoring Him took place! Jesus later said that wherever two or three were gathered in His name, God was in their midst (Matthew 18:20), and this was literally the case on this occasion!

This happy meeting occurred when Mary arrived at the home of her cousin Elizabeth, and the Holy Spirit allowed both women and the unborn John the Baptist to recognize the unborn Jesus as their Lord and Savior. John was filled with the Holy Ghost while still in Elizabeth’s womb (Luke 1:15), and when Mary entered the room, John leaped for joy to be in the presence of Jesus! (Luke 1:41-45). At the same moment, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost and she proclaimed aloud that Mary and her unborn Babe – her Lord -- were blessed indeed.

Mary responded with a hymn of praise (known as the Magnificat) inspired by the Holy Spirit, exalting God and His Son, the Messiah Who would deliver them (Luke 1:46-55), The Bible does not say that Mary sang this hymn, but because of its poetic format, I believe it is reasonable to assume that she sang it, just as the Psalms were sung to praise God. This first praise and worship service honoring Jesus therefore incorporated three expressions of praise: dance, spoken praise (prayer), and song!

At and shortly after Jesus’ birth, He was worshipped by three groups of beings: the angels, the shepherds, and the wise men. The glory of God lit up the heavens, the angel of the Lord announced His birth, and a multitude of angels sang sweet anthems of praise and adoration (Luke 2:8-14).

The glory of God described here may have been one of three reappearances of the Shechinah Glory (the glory of God that filled the Old Testament tabernacle; Exodus 40:34-38) surrounding the birth of Jesus. At the time of His birth, the brilliance of God’s glory shone in the heavens surrounding the angel of the Lord (Luke 2:9), in the star of Bethlehem (Matthew 2:1-12) and in the person of Jesus Himself (John 1:14).

When the apostle John refers to man beholding the glory of God dwelling among us (John 1:14), the word for “dwell” is similar to the word in Exodus 40 referring to the tabernacle, thus strengthening the reference to the Shechinah Glory filling the Old Testament tabernacle and then tabernacling among us as the fully divine Man. That prophecy was foretold by Isaiah 9:2 and revealed more completely in the Transfiguration of Jesus (Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36; 1 Peter 16:18).

The shepherds, who in that culture were considered to be vagabonds of ill-repute, represent saved sinners who repented (abandoned what they were doing once they heard the Good News), ran to worship Him, and witnessed to others of what they had seen (Luke 2:15-17-18).

The wise men (Matthew 2:1-12), who were the most learned scholars of their day in the fields of astronomy, science, and philosophy, sought and found Truth not in their parchments and scrolls, but in a young Child Who knew all things.

The three gifts brought by the wise men to worship and honor Jesus were gold, frankincense, and myrrh, representing His three roles in our salvation. Gold is the most precious metal, fit for the King of Kings (Revelation 17:14; 19:16); frankincense the most costly spice, suited to burn in worship of the great High Priest after the order of Melchisidec (Hebrews 5:6, 10); and myrrh is used to anoint the dead (John 19:39), representing that He came to die as the perfect, sinless Sacrifice (Hebrews 10:12-14) to pay our sin debt.

Included in the wise people who worshipped the young child Jesus were not only these kingly scholars, but also Simeon (Luke 2: 25-35) and Anna the prophetess (Luke 2:36-38), as these faithful Jews recognized Him as the promised Messiah Who would deliver their people. May we too have their wisdom to seek God, find Him, and give our lives to Him!


© 2012 Laurie Collett





29 comments:

  1. I live in country where cult of Mary is very strong. Some people here (Catholics) even say that if You don't worship Mary, You can't be Polish man or woman. It is very difficult to say these people that only One God in Three Persons - God Father, Son and Holy Spirit - is worth to worship.
    For me Mary, the mother of Christ as a Man - is the example of faith and trust in God. I don't know what would I do if someone told me that I will be mother of the Child, who will be Messiah.
    Greetings for You :)

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  2. Dear Zim, Mary was truly blessed among women, and she had amazing faith to complete this very special assignment. But she herself realized that she was a sinner in need of the Lord and Savior she carried, not a mediatrix or Queen of Heaven.
    Blessings to you,
    Laurie

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  3. "This first praise and worship service honoring Jesus therefore incorporated three expressions of praise: dance, spoken praise (prayer), and song!"

    Love this point you have brought out Laurie concerning praise Laurie. Excellent point!

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  4. Laurie - I have just viewed some of your dance videos! I am blown away - they are incredible. Not only are you a very gifted teacher of the Word of God, but your gift of dance is like nothing I have ever seen before... absolutely beautiful... Wow! Praise God for dance - you and your husband dance so beautifully together to the glory of God. I watched 'Silent Night' and 'O Holy Night' and also the Country Championships. Wonderful.

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  5. Thanks so much for your encouragement, Wendy! You are such a blessing! My husband and I really appreciate your kind words.

    I hadn't even realized before I prepared this blog post that dance could really be considered the first expression of praise and worship offered to Jesus during His first coming. It was a confirmation to me regarding our dance ministry, as is your very lovely comment!

    Love and blessings to you,
    Laurie

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  6. I love to dance for Jesus, bless you.

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    1. Amen, Denise! God bless you too!
      Laurie

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  7. Dear Laurie,
    Another excellent article! This shows that I have read the Christmas story countless times, and still fail to see the Trinity in even the simplest things such as gold, myrrh and frankincense. Could this be due to over-familiarity?
    In my latest blog, I discuss my visit to the Grand Canyon, and noted three main colours - white limestone, red sandstone and green vegetation. Then I came to realise that white, green and red represents the purity of God, his creation and his redemption. I know that this may not be relevant, but I thought I add this in as a thought.
    God bless,
    Frank

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    1. Thanks, Frank, for your kind and thoughtful comment! I just read your latest blog post, and I love your observation about the colors of the Grand Canyon. All of God's creation shouts out in praise to the Creator!
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  8. Your blog is such an excellent testimony to the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you for all the work that goes into your posts.

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    1. You're very welcome, Judith, and thanks so much for your encouragement! May you have a blessed week in Him,
      Laurie

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  9. I imagine Mary's heart was full of wonder as each one recognized Jesus as Lord. I think God's heart is happy when we do the same today.

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    1. Good point, Pamela! May we be follow the example of this first worship service to Him -- begin by recognizing that Jesus is Lord.
      Blessings to you,
      Laurie

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  10. Much as Mary was blessed by bearing Jesus, Jesus himself said those who obey him are even more blessed. What an opportunity we have.

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    1. Amen, dfish! His family are those who know His will and do it. What better blessing than to be God's children and joint heirs with Christ!
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  11. I just found a gem ...

    Delighted to meet you today. I hope you don't mind if I splash around a bit to get to know you. This looks like a refreshing spot to dip into some serious goodness.

    Splashin',
    Sarah

    http://www.justsarahdawn.blogspot.com

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  12. Thanks so much, Sarah, for your kind words! Delighted to meet you too, hope you enjoy splashin' around my blog, & God bless,
    Laurie

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  13. Thanks for a wonderful post. I loved all the scripture references.

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  14. Thanks, Lynne, for your visit & encouraging comment!
    Blessings to you,
    Laurie

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  15. What a wonderful lesson ... so many truths that are so full of promise and hope... Bless You!

    http://theemptynestexpress.com

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    1. Thanks so much, Ms. Kathleen! I appreciate your encouragement. God bless you too!
      Laurie

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  16. How interesting. I had never considered all of these "threes". I've heard there are special numbers such as 7, 40, 12 and, of course, I knew of the Trinity, but I don't remember seeing the significance of three in all the other places. Thank you for sharing this.
    Blessings,
    Charlotte

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    1. You're very welcome, Charlotte! I'm glad you enjoyed the post.
      Love in Him,
      Laurie

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  17. Laurie:

    Like Charlotte, I had never considered all the "threes", yet we know God has a perfectly designed planned and there are no accidents with Him.

    Thank you for another wonderful post and for linking up.

    Blessings,
    Joan

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    1. Thanks, Joan! God's perfectly designed plan is amazing indeed!
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  18. Thank you for showing your wisdom and love for the Lord in all your posts. Thank you for all the studying that you put in to better teach us His ways.

    Blessings~
    Shari

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  19. Thanks so much for your kind words of encouragement, Shari!
    May you have a blessed week in Him,
    Laurie

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