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Behold comes in two contexts. One is an exclamation and the other as in remembrance. During this Christmas season, what is your "beholder" beholding?


Gail D Prentice


1 John 3:1, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.”

We sing this chorus with adoration and deeply felt emotion. We tend to focus on the portion of the scripture relating to the love of the Father, and that’s good. Then we look fondly at the second part of ‘called the sons of God,’ which is also good.  But what I find most intriguing is the very first word in this scripture and song, “Behold.”

Behold is used in many Scriptural passages.  We tend to look at that word as an exclamation mark. BEHOLD, LOOK AT THIS!  When in fact, most of the times it is utilized in the past tense form.  So, as we look at this very specific word, we will see that it refers to “behold” as remember, recollect, or recall.

Now if we take this application of the past tense form of the word, it brings to life a whole new concept.

Let’s try substituting the word or phrase, “Remember or Don’t you remember,” to this verse and see how it amplifies the meaning a bit.

“Remember/Don’t you remember, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:”

It would seem that there was a time when people knew this and then just let it slip away or forgot how just much God loved us.  Some allowed themselves to just drift away from the present mindset of how awesome God is and how much He loves each one of us.  They soon take for granted that they have been grafted into the Heavenly family through Jesus as an actual son or daughter of God.

Oh, they say it, but the true emotion of the thought has slipped away.

With the Christmas season upon us, we revisit the birth of Christ with festivities, parties, church services, and Santa Claus passing out gifts and candy.  When in fact, we have Christmas all wrong.  Instead of giving each other gifts, why shouldn’t we give Christ the gifts?  After all, it is celebrated as His birthday.

It would be like giving me gifts because it was Brother Larry’s birthday.  That would be odd wouldn’t it?

Now let’s look at some very interesting applications of “Behold” throughout this Advent Season.

Matt 2:2, “Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.”

We have seen, is the same as behold, or in this case beheld.  Notice the past tense usage.  It isn’t ‘we are going to see’ but “we have seen.”

Matt 2:9-10, “When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.  When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.”

Again, in the past tense, Behold or Beheld.

Now, let’s look at a different application of “Behold”.

Luke 2:10, “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.”

Here we have the shepherds in the field when the angel appeared to them.  Behold here is in the imperative form.  In other words, it is an exclamation of a fact.  Behold, or see this or know this right now!

Luke 2:12-17, “And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.  And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, (15) Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.  And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.  (17) And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.”

When the shepherds were first told to behold, they were amazed and shocked with a truth that they knew was going to happen but didn’t know when.  They were surprised with the news and even more humbled that they were the first to be made known of the coming forth of the Christ.

When they got to the stable, they beheld/recalled/remembered what the angel told them in the field.

Luke 2:20, “And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.”

As they went back to the field to tend their sheep, they rejoiced in the thing that they beheld/remembered/recalled.  It was a glorious event that they would remember for the rest of their lives.

As we look at the beholds of this passage, we quickly see a difference between the imperative and the past tense.  It is exciting to realize that when we first heard the exclamation that Jesus was Lord and Savior, it was an imperative moment in our lives.

How many of us behold/remember the day that we were told, “Behold/ Christ is your Lord and Savior!”

Though in the English language it is the same word, it has literal meanings that differ greatly.

“BEHOLD, LOOK AT THIS!  BEHOLD, KNOW THIS! Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior!”

“Behold, the day I accepted my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ was a day to remember.”

When we lose the newness of the day of our salvation, the day that we became sons of God, we lose the excitement of our salvation and the privilege of being called sons of God, joint heirs with Christ.

With Christmas upon us, we need to not only remember the salvation that set us free, but we need to proclaim it all new again, “BEHOLD! Jesus is Lord.  BEHOLD! Jesus is my Lord.”  We need to make this proclamation with newness and freshness as an exclamation of our faith.

We need to proclaim it with the genuineness of heart that hearers will see, hear, and know that what you beheld on that day was a life altering moment when Jesus became Lord of your life.

Behold, I remember the day that I accepted Jesus.  BEHOLD, I tell you now Jesus can be your Lord and Savior also.

The main reason churches are stagnating today is because the Christians have lost their enthusiasm for their salvation.They presume that because they are now saved, everybody should know it.

To be brutally honest, they don’t know it because they are not being told in such a manner as to be believable.  Your “beholder” isn’t beholding what your heart is experiencing.  Or is it?

If your invitation to church isn’t any more exciting than what you are living, how can someone behold your exclamation when you have not beheld your own witness.

Before Christ came onto the scene, the universe was screaming BEHOLD! The Messiah is coming.  BEHOLD, the Messiah is here.  Go and see.”

The wise men travelled for an estimated two years plus, following a star, shouting from the heavenlies, “BEHOLD! Come and see, come and meet the King.”

In the pastures, the angels announced, “BEHOLD!  Unto you this day a Savior, your Messiah has been born.”

They all BEHELD and when they had beheld, they left proclaiming the good news of what they saw and how it impacted their life.

How is it that we can behold the Lord and Savior of the world, the Creator of the Universe and not be so changed in our life that we cannot relay that message to others in such a way as to convince them to at least consider the change in their lives?

With the Christmas season upon us, we hear everybody saying, “Merry Christmas”, but do you hear anybody saying, “Behold, the Messiah is come.  The Lord and Savior has come to redeem the soul of man.  Let me tell you about my Savior.”

Is our ‘behold’ a reminder or an exclamation?

Let your “beholder” proclaim the beholding of what your heart has experienced and is experiencing!  Let the emotion of ‘BEHOLD” be new and fresh every time we even suggest a relationship with Christ with others as if it were brand new to you right now.

Something has been removed from our services that is of utmost importance.  We assume that everybody is saved and has accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior.  That is not true.

A Methodist minister resigned his church one Sunday morning after he preached a message on salvation.  He had thought about it for years but had never done it until this morning.  He made an altar call and fell on his knees before the entire congregation and accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior for the very first time in his life after years of ministry.He BEHELD the glory of God just like the shepherds and the wise men did and it moved his heart to the core.


Don’t put off what you know in your heart to be the right thing to do right now.

Don’t let your pride get in your way… Why, Brother Prentice, they will think that I am a horrible heathen!  No, they won’t… they probably already know it, you have just been hiding it from yourself.

It might be a the very first time that your beholder finally allowed the truth to sunk in and you need to do it right now.

It might have been that you did it years ago and have allowed your life to go stagnant.


Submitted: December 04, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Gail-D-Prentice. All rights reserved.

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