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Archive for the ‘Messiah’ Category

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As we prepare to celebrate Christmas amid the rampant commercialism, hectic shopping, decorating, wrapping, cooking, and frayed nerves, may we pause to reflect on the significance of John. 1:14 to our celebration.

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. — John 1:14, NRSV

Here in this text, the Apostle John distils the entire message of the Bible and declares that the Word—the eternal God who existed before time and history, who spoke into existence the universe and all living things—became flesh and appeared among us as a human baby! The invisible, infinite, supernatural Creator became the visible, finite, flesh-and-blood Jesus of Nazareth! In one sentence, John covers the 33-year life span of Jesus and reminds us that we actually saw the glory of God in Jesus.

Just as the Shechinah—the glory and presence of God—appeared among the Israelites in the wilderness (Ex. 16:10; 24:16; 40:34), so was God’s glory revealed in Jesus at his birth (Lk. 2:14, 30-32), transfiguration (Mt. 17:2; Mk. 9:3), death, resurrection, and ascension (Jn. 7:39; 12:16, 23, 28; 13:31,32).

The glory seen in Jesus came from the unique Father-Son relationship that he had with God before the universe was created (Jn. 17:5), and permeated his earthly life and ministry. We not only saw the glory of God in Jesus, but also the fullness of God’s grace—the limitless mercy, kindness, and love of God for sinners—and the embodiment of the truth of God’s nature and characteristics.

And as Jesus prepared to return to his Father, he promised that he would not leave us alone, but that his Holy Spirit of truth would be with us to teach, guide, comfort, and help us.

So as we gather with our families and friends this Christmas, may we find time to give thanks to God that he did not stay remote and aloof from us in his heavenly realm, but, through Jesus, identified with our humanity, loved us, suffered for us, and ultimately died for our sins in order to redeem us and give us fullness of life—now and for all eternity.

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As a Jamaican-born and British Commonwealth expatriate, I watched with the rest of the world the media frenzy over the birth of Will and Kate’s baby, George Alexander Louis, who became “His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge,” third in line to the British throne.

During this royal hubbub, I thought of another royal birth, that of Jesus of Nazareth.

While Prince George’s birth was announced and anticipated less that a year ago, the coming of a divine king who would save his people from their sin was prophesied over 300 times throughout the Old Testament and over 1,000 years before Jesus was born. And there are at least 50 New Testament verses that show how Jesus’ birth and life fulfilled these Old Testament prophecies.

Yet, despite over 1,000 years of advanced announcements, very few people were aware of Jesus when he finally arrived. There was no royal palace, no resplendently clad and beaming parents of worldly importance, no colorful military honor guard, no booming 21-cannon-salute, and no worldwide media gathering to capture the moment of this future king’s arrival in Bethlehem.

There was only the sudden and frightening appearance of a choir of angels to announce his birth to a few shepherds who then left their flock of sheep and ran to find this newborn king in—of all places—a stable.

Apart from three wise foreign dignitaries, few people recognized the royalty of this child or suspected the impact that he would have on his country over the next thirty years or how his life, death, resurrection, and teachings would influence and change peoples and cultures over the next two thousand years and beyond.

Today, many people do not recognize Jesus as their lord and king, but the Bible proclaims:

“God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.” (2 Cor. 5:19)

And the Bible ascribes the title of king not only to God, but to Jesus when he returns to set up his new Kingdom on a new earth:

“Glory and honor to God forever. He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God.” (1 Tim. 1:17)

“For at the right time Christ will be revealed from heaven by the blessed and almighty God, the King of kings and Lord of lords.” (1 Tim. 6:15)

“Together they [an alliance of evil world powers] will wage war against the Lamb [Jesus], but the Lamb will defeat them because he is Lord over all lords and King over all kings, and his people are the called and chosen and faithful ones . . . On his robe and thigh was written this title: King of kings and Lord of lords.” (Rev. 17:14; 19: 16)

If and when Prince George ascends the throne of England as king, he will also become the ceremonial head of the Church of England with the title, “Supreme Governor of the Church of England.”

It is my prayer that, far from being a ceremonial head, he will have a genuine faith in Jesus Christ and be numbered among the faithful ones of Christ’s people.

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All the above Bible references are from the New Living Translation, 1996.

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