Bible Studies for Life Lesson for December 27- Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
December 15 2009 by John Pond, Director of Missions, West Chowan Baptist Association

Focal Passage: Philippians 2:5-11

Not only do the gospels contain early Christian hymns and songs, but also there are numerous found in the writings of Paul and John. Our text from Paul’s letter to the Philippians is believed to be a hymn of confession sung during a baptismal service. The heart of the hymn is the powerful confession; “Jesus Christ is Lord!” which comes at the climax of the adoration of Christ “as all creatures throughout the universe bow down and submit to His dominion” (Ralph Martin) to the glory of God the Father.

How appropriate to sing this first century hymn to the humiliation (self-renunciation) and exaltation of Jesus Christ. Though one would not associate this passage to Christmas hymnody, it does present an account of the simplicity/humility of Christ in his coming (emptying himself of his divinity) which ultimately leads to the cross and his subsequent exaltation by God.

There have been many good and wise people who have tried to be instruments of positive change for this world, promising benefits and blessings that merely change the external without bringing true redemption and spiritual liberty. God, in Christ Jesus did; He stooped down to earth and became that means of salvation to all creation.

Theologian Paul Tillich writes, “Even the greatest in power and wisdom could not more fully reveal the heart of God and the heart of man than the Crucified has done already.  Those things have been revealed once for all. ‘It is finished.’ In the face of the Crucified all the ‘more’ and all the ‘less,’ all progress and all approximation are meaningless. Therefore we can say of Him alone: He is the new Reality; He is the end.” He is Lord!

Christmas is more than what occurred in Bethlehem and later, Nazareth. It is more than shepherds, wise men, a manger and angelic hosts (though each is an important part of that story). It is about the long-expected One, the promised Child born of a virgin, the Dayspring, the pre-existent One who emptied himself of that divine equality, that “morphe” (form as in unchangeability) of God that took on the “schema” (form as in outward changeability) of humanity.

Christmas is the testimony of Jesus Christ, the Lord and the coming time when all creation will worship him who the shepherds, wise men, and angels worshipped.

“Christ, by highest heaven adored, Christ, the everlasting Lord;
“Late in time, behold Him come, Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
“Veiled in flesh the Godhead see, Hail the incarnate Deity!
“Pleased as man with men to dwell, Jesus our Immanuel.
“Hark, the herald angels sing, ‘Glory to the newborn King.’”  
12/15/2009 5:55:00 AM by John Pond, Director of Missions, West Chowan Baptist Association | with 0 comments

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