“who for us men and for our salvation
came down from heaven”
This is my favourite line of the Nicene Creed. When I read it I want to shout out in worship, and I hope it will do the same for you. It is a perfectly apt line to consider at this Christmas season. It answers the questions like: What is the reason for the season? Why is there joy to the world? Why did Jesus come? Where did Jesus come from?
Consider these words from Paul that I were probably part of the inspiration for this line, “Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Paul was a Pharisee of Pharisees, before meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus, he was passionately opposed to Christians. He saw them as a crazy cult who impudently belived that Jesus had risen from the dead by the power of God. Paul knew what the implications of this would be if it were true: If Jesus had been raised from the dead, then the Old Testament - the only Bible existence at the time -was no longer infallible. And that was not an option for Paul.
The major influence that drove Paul was Deuteronomy 21:23: "anyone who is hung on a tree is under God's curse". How could God have blessed Jesus by rasing him from the dead if he was cursed by God for hanging on a tree? When the apostles began to proclaim the resurrection Paul had to react. However, when he was confronted by the...