||The Purpose of Christ’s Exaltation
“God highly exalted Him … to the glory of God the Father.”
Philippians 2:9, 11
When the Son is glorified, so is the Father.
The purpose of Christ’s exaltation is to glorify God. Philippians 2:11 says Jesus will be acknowledged as Lord “to the glory of God the Father.” In Isaiah 45:5 God says, “I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God.” None can be compared to God. He does not ask anyone for advice. He knows all and does exactly what He wants to do. All His purposes come to pass.
In light of who God says He is, one might assume that it would be blasphemous for everyone to bow to Jesus Christ and confess Him as Lord. To so honor Christ would seem to put Him in competition with the Father.
But the mystery of the Trinity is that when the Son is glorified, the Father is glorified. Perfect glory given to the Son is perfect glory given to the Father. John 5:23 says the Father has given all judgment to the Son “that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” That’s why the Father said of Jesus, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; hear Him!” (Matt. 17:5). When you believe in Jesus Christ and confess Him as Lord, you exalt not only the Son but also the Father. There is no competition within the Trinity. The Father is exalted by what He accomplishes in the Son. They are one.
What a joy to know that our confessing of Jesus as Lord glorifies God. Let’s continue to glorify Him as Lord by bearing spiritual fruit in our lives (see John 15:8).
Suggestions for Prayer: Jesus said, “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13). Whatever you ask in Christ’s name, do so by acknowledging His sovereignty and desiring that God be glorified.
For Further Study: What do Romans 9:5, 1 Corinthians 15:28, and John 13:31–32 show about the glory of the Father and the Son?
Why Was Jesus Born?
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.
Here’s a side to the Christmas story that isn’t often told: those soft little hands, fashioned by the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb, were made so that nails might be driven through them. Those baby feet, pink and unable to walk, would one day walk up a dusty hill to be nailed to a cross. That sweet infant’s head with sparkling eyes and eager mouth was formed so that someday men might force a crown of thorns onto it. That tender body, warm and soft, wrapped in swaddling clothes, would one day be ripped open by a spear.
Jesus was born to die.
Don’t think I’m trying to put a damper on your Christmas spirit. Far from it—for Jesus’ death, though devised and carried out by men with evil intentions, was in no sense a tragedy. In fact, it represents the greatest victory over evil anyone has ever accomplished.
THOU ART WORTHY
And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.
Did you ever stop to think about the rapture? It’s going to be something that’s never happened before. You might be walking around on the street and hear the sound of the trumpet—and suddenly you’re transformed! You won’t know what to do or how to act. And the people lying in their graves, what’ll they do? I know what they’ll do—they’ll sing! There’s going to be singing at the consummation, on that great day!
“Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us” (Revelation 5:9)—that’s the theme of the new song. The theme of the new song isn’t “I am”; it’s “Thou art.” Notice the difference! When you look at the old hymnody of Wesley, Montgomery and Watts, it was “Thou art, O God, Thou art.” But when you look at the modern hymns, it is “I am, I am, I am.” It makes me sick to my stomach. Occasionally a good hymn with testimonies is all right, but we’ve overdone it. The song of the ransomed is going to be “Thou are worthy, O God.” AOG014
I long for that day, Lord, when I can join in the singing. I await Your return, Lord Jesus. Amen. 
Entering the Kingdom from Different Circumstances
He goes and sells all that he has and buys that field … and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.—Matt. 13:44b, 46
There is no preset formula for turning from sin and by faith embracing Christ’s kingdom. A person does not have to perform certain rituals to become a Christian, and he or she can come from a variety of circumstances. In each parable referred to here, a man finds something of huge value and sacrifices all to possess it. But in the first parable the man was not even looking for anything, certainly not a valuable treasure. He came upon it quite by accident. In tending to his normal business, the man was working in a field or perhaps passing through on a trip. Finding the treasure was the furthest thing from his plans.
Similarly, people often encounter the gospel while pursuing their daily activities. As they are busily occupied with their job, family, or schooling, they hear a sermon, read a book, listen to a CD, or have a believer witness to them. Through the Spirit’s gracious power they realize the gospel’s infinite value and are drawn into God’s kingdom.
In contrast, the second parable portrays a man whose career was searching for a valuable commodity, which he eventually found. He’s the seeker who looks many places for life’s meaning. When not finding that which satisfies, he nevertheless perseveres, believing the truth can be found. He is like the Ethiopian whom Philip directed to Christ (Acts 8:26–39), or the God-fearing Cornelius who found salvation (Acts 10).
Whether “by accident” or deliberately, all who are in the right place can and do find God’s priceless kingdom.
|On this Christmas Day, celebrate the gift of salvation that has brought ultimate worth and value—and energy and excitement—into your life experience. Thank Him enthusiastically for seeking you with purpose and precision, even while you weren’t particularly looking for Him.
||Recovering Man’s Destiny
“We … see Him who has been made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God He might taste death for every one” (Heb. 2:9).
Jesus Christ is the only One who could recover man’s destiny.
The ultimate curse of our lost destiny is death. God warned Adam that if he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he would die (Gen. 2:17). In the restored Kingdom we will be elevated again over a redeemed earth. But the only way we could ever reign again as kings was to have the curse of sin removed, and the only way to remove it was to pay the penalty of sin, which is death (Rom. 6:23).
There’s just one problem: how can we reign if we are dead? We need to be raised from the dead, but we certainly can’t do that ourselves. That’s why God sent Jesus Christ.
To accomplish this great work for us, Jesus had to become a man. He Himself had to be made “for a little while lower than the angels.” To regain man’s dominion, He had to taste death for every man. Christ came to die for us because in His dying He could conquer death.
But He was also raised from the dead: “Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him” (Rom. 6:9). How does that help us? “If we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection” (v. 5).
The moment you put your faith in Christ, you were identified with Him. You died with Him on the cross, you were resurrected, and you began to walk in newness of life. You now are a joint-heir with Christ in His eternal Kingdom.
Christ tasted death for you and me so we could recover our lost destiny. Celebrate that glorious truth as you celebrate His birth today.
Suggestions for Prayer: Before you do another thing today, praise your Heavenly Father for His wonderful plan of salvation.
For Further Study: Read Isaiah 2:2–4 and 11:6–9, noting the character of our future Kingdom.
THE HAPPY MORN
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour.
When we sing, “The Light of the world is Jesus,” there should be a glow on our faces that would make the world believe indeed that we really mean it!
The Incarnation meant something vast and beautiful for John Milton—and he celebrated the coming of Jesus into the world with one of the most beautiful and moving expressions ever written by a man:
This is the month, and this the happy morn,
Wherein the Son of Heaven’s eternal King,
Of wedded maid, and Virgin mother born,
Our great redemption from above did bring.
That glorious form, that Light insufferable,
And that far beaming blaze of majesty,
He laid aside, and here with us to be,
Forsook the courts of everlasting Day,
And chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay.
Oh! run; present them with thy humble ode,
And lay it lowly at His blessed feet,
Have thou the honor first thy Lord to greet
And join thy voices with the Angel quire,
From out His secret altar touched with hallowed fire!
Lord Jesus, I worship You today for choosing to put on mortal flesh for the sole purpose of redeeming mankind. I praise You for Your single-minded dedication to that most difficult task.
THE ROOT OF ALL THEOLOGY AND TRUTH
“He came”—these two simple words are at the root of all theology and of all truth!
Before Christ came in the incarnation, there had been only the eternal past. Then from the time of creation, we have such hints as “In the beginning he was God” and “In him was light” and “all things were made by him” and “In him was life.”
Now it says, “He came!”
We are struck by the wonder of these simple words. All of the pity that God is capable of feeling, all of the mercy that God is capable of showing, and all of the redeeming love and grace that He could pour out of His divine being—all are at least suggested in the fact that Jesus came!
Then too, all of the hopes and longings and aspirations and dreams of immortality that lie in the human breast had their fulfillment in these two words, “He came!”
The message is more profound than all philosophy. It may be a superlative statement, but I believe it to be a balanced and accurate statement, to insist that the impact of these two words, understood in their high spiritual context, is wiser than all of man’s learning.
Because He is “the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world,” man’s long night of darkness is dispelled. We celebrate with Milton the delight that “This is the happy morn wherein the Son of heaven’s eternal king, of wedded maid and virgin mother born, our great redemption from above did bring!”
 MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
 MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 386). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.
 Tozer, A. W., & Eggert, R. (2015). Tozer on the almighty god: a 365-day devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.
 MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 368). Chicago: Moody Publishers.
 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 372). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
 Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.
 Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.