The Real Meaning of Christmas
December 1, 2004 - “Into the Word,” a Bible Study by Anne Graham Lotz, is designed to draw you into God’s Word. Although the study-question format may be more challenging than one might find in an article that provides all the answers, we believe that this format will help you to discover a treasure of truths and insights from God.
by Anne Graham Lotz
Our culture is becoming increasingly secularized—there seems to be a broad range of people who do not know who Jesus truly is. Yet this December, most of the world will celebrate His birth. Who is He?
Who is Jesus ...
... that some of the greatest architectural achievements in Europe were built in which to worship Him? ... that some of the world’s most beautiful art and music were created to honor and praise Him? ... that less than 400 years after Rome crucified Him, He was acknowledged as the only god in the Roman Empire? ... that Alexander Solzhenitsyn, rotting in a Siberian work camp, says the very thought of Him was enough to keep his sanity? ... that people all over the world say He has saved them from drugs, illness, suicide, depression and other ills?
... that in His name, people forsake personal gain to feed the hungry, house the homeless, clothe the naked and heal the sick?
Who is He?
Why is Jesus so offensive to some and so pleasing to others? So wrong to some and so right to others? So controversial to some and so necessary to others?
In the midst of all the busyness, loneliness, religiousness and happiness, would you celebrate the real meaning of Christmas this year by keeping your focus on who Jesus is?
He Is the Incarnation of God’s Greatness
Read John 1:1-18
- Who is the Word that John 1:1 refers to? See John 1:14.
- What is the significance of the presence of the Word in John 1:1? How does Colossians 1:17 affirm this? Relate this to His birth in Bethlehem. See Matthew 1:18, 22-23.
- Give at least four characteristics of the Word in John 1:1-3. Put into your own words what each characteristic means.
- Because Jesus Christ is God’s living Word, what added insight does Matthew 12:34b give? What does this mean to you?
- Where does the world say life comes from? What impact does this have on a person’s view of human life?
- Where does God’s Word say life comes from? Give specific phrases from Genesis 1:1-27, 2:7 and Colossians 1:16. How does knowledge of this truth change a person’s value of human life?
- Read John 1:4. How does His life give your life light or significance?
- When you are born physically, what is your spiritual state, according to Ephesians 2:1? Are there any exceptions? See Romans 3:23. What does this mean? Relate this to Romans 6:23 and John 5:24.
- Describe in your own words when you passed from death into life.
- From each of the following verses, give one aspect of the Gospel: Romans 3:23, 6:23; John 3:16, 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 John 1:9; Romans 10:9-10; Revelation 3:20; John 1:12; Ephesians 1:13-14; Hebrews 13:5.
- What were two responses to Christ’s coming, according to John 1:10-11?
- Give examples of people who respond to Christ in the same way today.
- Biblical names were more than just a word—they often revealed character. Give examples of meaningful names from the following verses: Genesis 17:5, 32:28; Matthew 16:17-18.
- Give the meaning of each of the following names: Lord from John 20:28; Jesus from Matthew 1:21; Christ from Matthew 26:63.
- What do you think it means to believe in His “name” from John 1:12?
- What do you think is the difference between “believing” and “receiving”? Are both required in order for a person to become a child of God?
- Based on the prerequisites in John 1:12-13, does God recognize you as His child?
Read John 1:14-15
- Describe Moses’ glimpse of God’s glory from Exodus 33:18-23.
- How did Moses’ glimpse of God’s glory differ from the shepherds’ experience in Luke 2:8-20? The wise men’s experience in Matthew 2:1-12? John’s experience in John 1:14?
Read John 1:16-18
Grace refers to the blessings of God that we don’t deserve. It has been defined by this acrostic: Great Riches At Christ’s Expense.
- Name some of God’s blessings you don’t deserve that give evidence of the fullness of His grace as referred to in John 1:16. See also Ephesians 1:3.
- What was the basic purpose of God’s law? Compare John 1:17 with Galatians 3:19-25.
- What was the effect of the law? See Ephesians 2:1-3.
- How does grace deliver us from the law’s condemnation? See Ephesians 2:4-9.
- Write out John 1:18 in very simple words that a child could understand.
- When you “look” at Jesus, what or who do you “see”?