Peace, Love, & Joy | Christ, the Real Thing, the Perfect Priest | Christmas Special | Devotional Series | Part 14 of 27 | December 13, 2019

Christmas is the replacement of shadows with the real thing.” – John Piper (pg. 27)

In the Old Covenant, the justification of our sin was carried over by ‘types of Christ’ that God ordained periodically, for our sake. But in the New Covenant, these types of Christ (shadows) were once and for all done away with the incarnation of Christ Himself (the real thing). Christ ministered, no longer in human sanctuary, but in a tent that God Himself pitched. (Heb 8:2) The scripture says, “For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.” (Heb 9:24, ESV) And unlike the Levites, the supplication that Christ presented for us, was not temporary, but an absolute one. “Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” (Heb 9:25-26, ESV) Therefore, the writer of Hebrews goes on to establish that Christ is the perfect priest – far greater than any priest that had been established on earth. What that means is that – whatever we ought to know of God and salvation, has been revealed through the personhood of Christ.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” (Col 1:15, ESV) YHWH did away with all previous ‘types of Christ’, and gave us Christ Himself for our salvation. The scripture says, “No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.” (Jn 1:18, NLT) I want to put an emphasis on that – “Christ has revealed God to us”.

But why are we emphasizing on the reality of God, and Christ’s priesthood this season? The point is this. In the complete revelation of Christ, we know the full extent of our depraved nature, and our need of a saviour. And secondly, we learn of His all sufficiency, and His unmatched competence as a perfect priest for us. But that is not all. Apart from all these amazing things we learn from His revelation, there is one more, that is of great importance. And that is – He alone is the mediator between God and men. The Apostle Paul writes, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.” (1Tim 2:5-6, ESV)

Christ is the great revelation of this season. He is the perfect priest, and the full extent of the glory of God. He is the absolute reality. And how amazing is that – this God chose to incarnate in the human form to bear our sin and die for us. Indeed, such revelation should urge us to seek His mercy evermore.    


Note: All of Piper’s quotations are from “Good News of Great Joy


Read previous entries in this Series:

(i) Introduction: What Christ wants this Christmas (ii) December 1: Prepare the Way (iii) December 2: Mary’s Magnificent God (iv) December 3: The Confidence of Redeeming Hope (v) December 4: A Big God for Little People (vi) December 5: What He Willed to do (vii) December 6: Peace to those with whom He is pleased (viii) December 7: Messiah of all (ix) December 8: Christ is Central in Christmas(x) December 9: Two Kinds of Oppositions (xi) December 10: Our Treasure (xii) December 11: Why Jesus came (xiii) December 12: Replacing the Shadows

Peace, Love, & Joy | Replacing the Shadows | Christmas Special | Devotional Series | Part 13 of 27 | December 12, 2019

Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man.” – Hebrews 8:1-2 (ESV)

The Old Testament had men riddled with a rigid legal system to attain holiness. It was ordained by God, and ministered by men. In other words, the priest who interceded for the masses was a human being. And so, he had limitations. He would first offer sacrifices for his sins, and then the sins of the others. Moreover, he would repeat this process every time he seeks the presence of the Holy God. The Book of Hebrews wonderfully emphasizes, how Christ (by His death and resurrection) has not only fulfilled these legal requirements, but He has also ended it. He is therefore, a priest not in the order of a flawed humanity, but in accordance to His own righteousness and holiness. Indeed, how hope inducing it is that the scripture says, “(He) is a minister… in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man” (Heb 8:2, ESV)

I am reminded of the joyful, hope-inducing conclusion the Apostle John drew. And I quote: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth… For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” (Jn 1:14, 16, ESV) How wonderful is that. The glory of God, in its fullness has been revealed to us through His son Jesus Christ. And the fullest extent of His grace for our complete salvation, in His death and resurrection. What Christian, born-again in the Holy Spirit will not rejoice over that? It is indeed impossible. Let us ponder upon the immaculate inception of Christ this season, through whom we could not just witness, but received the fullness of life.

As a way of concluding, I want to leave you with a wonderful illustration from Piper – this is the joy of seeing the fulness of Christ (that we associate with this season).

Here’s an Advent illustration for kids (and for those of us who used to be kids and remember what it was like). Suppose you and your mom get separated in the grocery store, and you start to get scared and panic and don’t know which way to go, and you run to the end of an aisle, and just before you start to cry, you see a shadow on the floor at the end of the aisle that looks just like your mom. It makes you really happy and you feel hope. But which is better? The happiness of seeing the shadow, or having your mom step around the corner and seeing that it’s really her? That’s the way it is when Jesus comes to be our High Priest. That’s what Christmas is. Christmas is the replacement of shadows with the real thing.” (pg. 26)


Note: All of Piper’s quotations are from “Good News of Great Joy


Read previous entries in this Series:

(i) Introduction: What Christ wants this Christmas (ii) December 1: Prepare the Way (iii) December 2: Mary’s Magnificent God (iv) December 3: The Confidence of Redeeming Hope (v) December 4: A Big God for Little People (vi) December 5: What He Willed to do (vii) December 6: Peace to those with whom He is pleased (viii) December 7: Messiah of all (ix) December 8: Christ is Central in Christmas(x) December 9: Two Kinds of Oppositions (xi) December 10: Our Treasure (xii) December 11: Why Jesus came

Peace, Love, & Joy | Why Jesus came | Christmas Special | Devotional Series | Part 12 of 27 | December 11, 2019

Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” – Hebrews 2:14-15 (ESV)

Why Jesus came? The answer to that question is perhaps, a little long to fit in a devotional format. But there are certain crucial points that we can make, without losing the essence of the whole answer. And those points will perhaps be beneficial to meditate upon, in this short devotional.

First, He came for His elect. “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood” (Heb 2:14, ESV) These are the elect of God. (Isa 8:18, Eph 1:4, Jn 15:16) The children here, means the elect. He came to gather His children, both from within the chosen race of Abraham (Jews) and from abroad (Gentiles).

Second, He came to die for His elect. “… he himself partook of the same things (flesh and blood), that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death” (Heb 2:14, ESV) Although the Children of God are an elect of God, they being born in flesh and blood are subject of sin. Christ came therefore, in flesh and blood, to lay His life in our stead. Because the wages of sin is death. Piper puts it this way, “The reason Jesus became man was to die. As God, he could not die for sinners. But as man he could. His aim was to die. Therefore, he had to be born human. He was born to die. Good Friday is the reason for Christmas. This is what needs to be said today about the meaning of Christmas.” (pg. 23)

Third, He came to redeem His elect. “and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” (Heb 12:15, ESV) Only Jesus could die in our stead. Because while being truly human, He was also truly God. (Jn 1:14) And through His crucifixion, He conquered death. And in us, He conquered the fear and slavery of death. “For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1Cor 15:21-22, (ESV) Piper notes, “in dying, Christ de-fanged the devil… by covering all our sins. This means Satan has no legitimate grounds to accuse us before God.” (pg. 24) Therefore, the Apostle Paul confidently says, “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.” (Rom 8:33, ESV)

Indeed, Good Friday is the reason for Christmas. How amazing is that. Jesus Christ really is, the beginning and the end. What a remarkable reality, we have been brought into. And how undeserving we are. It is truly, a wonder-inducing miracle. And as we ponder on the reason for His birth this season, I wonder how many of us can truly rejoice with Paul, saying “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1Cor 15:55) May God have mercy on us.


Further reading: What is the Doctrine of Election? (John MacArthur, GTY)


Note: All of Piper’s quotations are from “Good News of Great Joy


Read previous entries in this Series:

(i) Introduction: What Christ wants this Christmas (ii) December 1: Prepare the Way (iii) December 2: Mary’s Magnificent God (iv) December 3: The Confidence of Redeeming Hope (v) December 4: A Big God for Little People (vi) December 5: What He Willed to do (vii) December 6: Peace to those with whom He is pleased (viii) December 7: Messiah of all (ix) December 8: Christ is Central in Christmas (x) December 9: Two Kinds of Oppositions (xi) December 10: Our Treasure

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