All posts in Christmas

Jesus, The King

Let’s review the Christmas story…Angels announce to a young virgin that she will bear a Son miraculously. Her husband-to-be receives an angel appearance also who tells him that he should marry this girl even though she is pregnant because her child is of the Holy Spirit. Joseph obeys. They travel to Bethlehem for a census, and Jesus is born. Shepherds hear of his birth through angelic announcement and they come.

It is the wise men I’d like us to think about. They were actual kings. They sought for a king at great inconvenience to themselves. They studied the stars, followed them and showed up to find out this special child.

In essence, the kings sought the King. Shouldn’t we follow suit?

Next, they worshiped. Not even understanding the entire story, they knelt before this peculiar child and worshiped. I know I can’t begin to understand the incarnation, but isn’t that just like God? He does the unimaginable–the impossible, and expects His creation to believe and trust and wonder.

That is how the incarnation affects me. How about you?

Third, they obeyed. God told them to leave Herod out-of-the-loop and go. And they did. They went away with belief, and trust, and wonder.

Because Jesus is The King.

Jesus claimed to be a lot of things while on this earth…the bread of life, the gate, the Good Shepherd, the way, the truth and the life, the door, the vine, even the light of the world. But did you know He claimed to be a King?

Take a look at John 18:36-37. This is what Jesus said while being questioned by Pilate before His crucifixion:

“My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.

“Therefore PIlate said to Him, ‘So You are a king?’

“Jesus answered, You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.’”

Not only did Jesus claim to be The King while on earth, at His death, The King of the Jews was inscribed at the cross. (Matthew 27:37)

In Revelation 19:16 states, “And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

This baby in a manger is much more than a cute story and an intriguing narrative.

He is The King.

Is He yours?

Here is a link to the most majestic song written about the Kingship of  Christ”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUZEtVbJT5c

 

The Baby in the Manger is Our Great High Priest

My father was an officer in The Salvation Army—a sort of pastor. So, I’ve had plenty of exposure to clergy, but I have never met a priest on this earth.

But I am personally aquainted with one in heaven—Jesus.

Not only did God become man Who was born in a manger, but that same baby we celebrate at Christmas is also Our Great High Priest.

Follow me on this. In the Old Testament, priests served as “go betweens” with God. They offered sacrifices to God in order to cover the sins of the people. In fact, once a year, the High Priest went into the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement to offer sacrifices for the sins of the people. Besides his ornate, custom-designed outfit, he also wore a rope attached around his ankle equipped with a bell in case God struck him dead because, he too was a sinner who had to sacrifice a bull for a sin offering for himself and his family. The rest is kind of complicated, but let’s just say God made a specific way that had to be followed in order to atone for sin. (Leviticus 16)

It’s the same today. God is Holy. We are not. Sin stands between us and God. First, a payment, or sacrifice had to be made. That’s where Easter comes in. Secondly, we continue to need a High Priest to make intercession for us.

Hebrews 7:23-28 states:

“The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing, but Jesus on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever.”

Here is my point…Jesus is much more than a baby in the manger we give sentimental homage as we view our store-bought nativity scenes. Jesus is the perfect, Great High Priest.

Is He yours?

 

It’s Not Just a Hallmark Event

I love Christmas as much as the next middle-aged, menopausal, woman. But perhaps I don’t love it for the same reasons as most.

Christmas isn’t just about Hallmark, or gifts, or Black Friday, or Cyber Monday.

You know what I am going to say next…

It’s about Jesus.

But I am not even sure, when I mention His name, we are thinking about the same person. Yes, Jesus was born in a manger and it makes a terrific story, and a great nativity scene with cute little lambs, staffed shepherds, and mysterious wise men.

Here is what I celebrate. Jesus came as a baby yes, but He came to die.

That is the real story.

Humor me a bit with a long Scripture passage from the New Living Translation:

Christ Is Supreme

15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
    He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation
16 for through him God created everything
    in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
    and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
    Everything was created through him and for him.
17 He existed before anything else,
    and he holds all creation together.
18 Christ is also the head of the church,
    which is his body.
He is the beginning,
    supreme over all who rise from the dead
    So he is first in everything.
19 For God in all his fullness
    was pleased to live in Christ,
20 and through him God reconciled
    everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
    by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

All those inspired words are great, but I would like you to pay special attention to the last verse. God reconciled and made peace with us by means of Christs’ death on the cross. That is great news.

Why?

I’d like to give you an example from a sermon I heard from J D Greer. He asked the listener to imagine themselves with binoculars on a hill observing a terrorist camp. You knew their plan was to devastate thousands of innocent people. You watched them practice use of their guns, and even may have seen a form of torture, but when they all sat down to have lunch. One of the terrorists noticed his buddy didn’t have anything to eat. This generous terrorist cut his sandwich in half and shared it with his buddy.

In any other circumstance his act of sacrifice would be considered good.

But not in this situation. The over-arching-evil somehow negates the good.

The human race is that generous terrorist. The Bible states we are born in sin. Enemies of God. And He is just and right to condemn us because compared to Him, our meager good is like filthy rags.

And then God Himself comes as a baby to die on a cross.

That is the Christmas I celebrate.

I hope you do, too.

Over the next few weeks, on Fridays, I’d like to talk with you more about Jesus as a Prophet, Priest, and King. I hope you will join me in celebrating Christmas that is much more than trees or ornaments or presents.

Let us celebrate the real reason for the season.

A Little Christmas After Christmas

Oops about the Chicken Soup link. Here is an online piece that ran in the Salvation Army War Cry this year….

https://magazine.thewarcry.org/stories/christmas-at-our-house

Where Does the Light Come From? Christmas Meditation, Day 6

This is the newest member of our family. Kratos, a large, wolf-like animal with razor-sharp teeth, and a mammoth head. I think he loves my husband, Tom.

This morning, as the rising sun filtered through my window while all three beasts lounged on the floor, Kratos sat straight up and stared at the ceiling, transfixed. A bright light shone erratically. Kratos began to chase it not knowing the sun reflected off of his chain and projected onto the ceiling.

When he moved, the light moved.

Charming.

I’d like to continue my Christmas meditation on light. The light of the Christ child coming into a dark world shining the light of good news. Or, as others put it, the Gospel.

When Jesus began His ministry, people questioned His authority, authenticity, and heritage.

The book of John says people held varying opinions of Him. Just like today. Many thought Jesus a prophet. The Jewish leaders swore to kill Him since they believed Him a blasphemer. Others looked to Jesus for His great works and a possible free meal. Some were undecided.

John 7:41b states, “Surely the Christ is not going to come from Galilee, is He?”

What they didn’t know was Jesus was born in the ancient city of Bethlehem, just as the prophecy foretold, but spent most of His time in Galilee.

Yet, in Isaiah there is talk of Galilee in Isaiah 9:1;

“But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles.”

The following verse gets better.

“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them.”

Jesus is the light of the world.

He shines in my heart. How about yours?

Here is a beautiful verse from the Apostle Paul found in 1 Corinthians 4:6;

“For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”

The dog had no idea where the light came from–we have the Gospel written down for us in the story of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Just thinking about it warms my heart.

Jesus–the perfect, innocent Savior came as a baby to pay the penalty of our sins. The wrong things we do.

He loved us that much. But we must admit we need a Savior. Admit we are a sinner and accept this free gift.

I’m pleading with you today. Bow the knee to the baby in the manger who is our Redeemer and King. I’m praying you will.

Here is a link for today:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsH_V6i0N0o