Read His Words Before Ours!
I know, most people start at the beginning of the story.
Advent is really about “leading up to” the birth of Christ, right?
The word “advent” means “coming.”
But, here we are on December 6th, already at the fulfillment.
Jesus is here!
Angels are singing!
Mary holds a shivering infant’s divine skin next to her fallen flesh.
Here, as mama suckles Jesus, tears flowing for both of them, and a terrified Joseph stands in flushed awe, we see the gospel laid out.
This Jesus, this GOD, here with us.
Immanuel, God with us.
The Holy Righteous and Divine in the middle of our biggest mess.
When else has Love looked like this?!
In love, God ordained Jesus, truly man and truly God, to be born like any other person.
“Instead He emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant,
Taking on the likeness of humanity.” (Philippians 2:7)
Although His conception was a miracle by the Holy Spirit, Jesus grew in His mother’s womb and was born a helpless babe, the same as you and me.
God works in the fullness of time (Galatians 4:4-5), and so Jesus was born in the days of Herod, a king who guarded his throne with jealousy and violence. As we will see later in this Journey Theme, Jesus’ coming was foretold by Old Testament prophets, and when Herod learned of those prophecies, he sought to kill Jesus as a potential rival king. (Matthew 2)
Yet, King Jesus didn’t come in splendor and glorious robes.
He came in humility, in a stable, wearing swaddling clothes.
This was the beginning of Jesus’ purpose to serve.
“[J]ust as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)
From the beginning, Jesus confounded expectations for the long-awaited King of the World. Much of Jesus’ ministry on earth revealed a new, “upside-down” Kingdom understanding of knowledge, wisdom, service, and culture. He came to bring judgement on those who were right in their own eyes.
“I came into this world for judgement,
in order that those who do not see will see,
and those who do see will become blind.” (John 9:39)
Often, such judgement was addressed to the religious scholars of the day, the Pharisees and Sadducees. These self-righteous, self-aggrandizing men added their own religious laws and heaped legalistic burdens on the Jews. In reality, they were blind and deaf to the Truth when He stood before them. (John 14:6) They thought they were going to heaven because they were ethnic Jews, God’s chosen people. But Jesus came to usher in a new covenant, available to anyone, Jew or Gentile, who would turn from sin and trust in Him.
“When Jesus heard this, He told them, ‘It is not those who are well who need a doctor, but those who are sick. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.’” (Mark 2:17)
Jesus Himself declared, “I was born for this, and I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” (John 18:37b) And the angel told Joseph, “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)
Jesus came to bear witness to the truth and to save his people from their sins. Nothing would stop Him from accomplishing His ministry. Before the foundation of the world, God set His plan of redemption in motion. Jesus was born to die, to speak the truth in love so those who listened to His voice and repented of their sin would be saved and bring glory to God.
Against the backdrop of our inky rebellion, God’s beautiful, holy love shines brilliantly, ready to rescue us from the brokenness of our sin.
Jesus came into a dark world as a bright shining light. (John 8:12) We are all born blinded by sin (Ephesians 2:3), but by His grace, He opens our eyes to see the light. Then it is our duty and delight to shine this light before others that they may see God’s glory for themselves. (Matthew 5:14-16)
Tragically, just as Jesus’ light was not welcomed by all, neither will His light in us be embraced by all. And just as Jesus was mocked, ridiculed, and ultimately murdered on a cross, we too will face persecution for carrying His light.
“Remember the word I spoke to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.” (John 15:20)
With the confidence of Christ, let us go forth boldly this Christmas season, shining His light and proclaiming His gospel, and not letting anything stop us from this ministry. Let us pray God would open the eyes of the unbelieving around us that they may have eyes to see the truth and light in Christ. Amen!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!