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Peace, Love, & Joy | Conclusion | Christmas Special | Devotional Series | Part 27 of 27 | December 26, 2019

On Christmas every year, we meditate on scriptures that particularly focuses on the birth of Christ. And when the season is over, we seldom re-visit those scriptures again. But truth be told, the birth of Christ is the basic reality that should govern our everyday life. If we believe, Christ was born for us, we ought to live that believe for the rest of our lives – irrespective of date, year, and season. In other period of the year, we often focus on ‘Christian living’ without investing much thought on why we should live as a Christian – one who follows Christ. Isn’t it because He came on earth to die for our sins? If that is so, it should reflect on our everyday life as well.

If we believe, Christ came to secure peace, love, and joy. We should also believe that post-Christmas, that peace, love, and joy should persist in us. We should make sure, that which is true during a season, should remain true throughout our lives. Else, it only means, we do not consider it as true.

As the celebration ends this year, and as we move towards a new year: let us focus on bearing good fruits. Let us remind ourselves, ‘Am I living in peace with God?’ Let us remind ourselves, ‘Am I loving God above all else?’ Let us remind ourselves, ‘Am I rejoicing in divine fellowship with Christ?’ As this season ends, and as we move towards a new year, let us focus on bearing the Fruit of the Spirit. Let us live like blessed people. Let us live the new life, not because we can – but because we believe in Him, who enables us towards godliness.    

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 (xiv) December 13: Christ, the Real Thing, the Perfect Priest (xv) December 14: Making Transformation Real (xvi) December 15: Abundant Life (xvii) December 16: An Unlikely Route to Victory (xviii) December 17: Freedom & Joy Secured in Him (xix) December 18: Pass Me Not (xx) December 19: Overcoming the Power of Death (xxi) December 20: Salvation Unites Us (xxii) December 21: LOGOS (xxiii) December 22: The Importance of Awe (xxiv) December 23: Secured from False Preachers (xxv) December 24: Why the Son Appeared (xxvi) December 25: God with us

Peace, Love, & Joy | Messiah of all | Christmas Special | Devotional Series | Part 8 of 27 | December 7, 2019

The visitation from the east, at the manger, highlights two important points: one of Christ, and the other of men. Firstly, it highlights Christ’s universal Messiah-hood. In the account of the Apostle Matthew, it was the Wise-men from the East, who first acknowledge Him as King. (pg. 23) Clearly, pointing out the message to us – later generations that Christ is for both Jews and Gentiles alike. Secondly, and most interestingly, the visitation highlights our limitation in grasping God’s glory without divine help. I want to make two further remarks here:

  1. So, the last shall be first, and the first last. (Mat 20:16, KJV) The Wise-men were chiefs of foreign courts. They were culturally, ethically, and religiously different from the Jews. Apart from that, they were people of different geography. And interestingly, these were also the people that the Jews considered unclean. (Henry, 2) Yet, it was in the divine will of God to choose them first in the adoration of the King. Piper notes, it was in Matthew’s divinely inspired desire – to establish that Jesus was/is Messiah and King of all nation. (pg. 13) And so, the wise-men came and “presented unto him gifts” (Mat 2:11, KJV) as was customary in the East, to honour and respect a King with gifts[1]. (John Gill) Interestingly, Matthew Henry here notes: this was their way of saying that they have admitted His Kingship. And I quote: “We are come to worship him. They conclude he will, in process of time, be their king, and therefore they will be times ingratiate themselves with him and with those about him.”[2]
  2. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” (Mat 16:3, KJV) The Jews were a chosen lot of people. They were granted prophesies for the coming Messiah. But it is interesting how, at the time of birth the Jews had already settled comfortably with their sins. And they were no longer, (really) looking forward to any miraculous conception of a Saviour in the human form. Yet, at the same time. Their eastern counterparts, whom they considered unclean, learned and discern, not just the coming, but the birth of the Messiah. (Mat 2:1-12) How ironic it is that the Jews who pride themselves as learned, clean, and chosen could not discern the signs of the times. And yet, how easily, its unclean counterpart did. Indeed, this is grace extended to humanity that we witness through the birth of Christ – the last became first.

Yes. Christ is King. He is a Messiah to all men alike. But won’t it be a great loss, if we who are born in a Christian community would miss Christmas like the Jews? Let us pray that Christ would grant us, the same Grace that He granted the Eastern wise-men, the wisdom to understand the scriptures, and the strength to obey His lead. May we, never be the people whom the Apostle John wrote of as: He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. (Jn 1:11, NKJV)



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

Peace, Love, & Joy | The Confidence of Redeeming Hope | Christmas Special | Devotional Series | Part 4 of 27 | December 3, 2019

For the mind of faith, a promised act of God is as good as done.” – John Piper (pg. 5)

The confidence of redeeming hope, is a beautiful wellspring of eternal courage. This is a unique brand of courage that only the faithful possess, after drinking from the fountain of life (Jn 4:14). Zechariah much like everyone else showed evidence of a disbelieving heart, upon the visitation of the angel Gabriel. (Lk 1:20) But only when he had witnessed the full proof divine work in his life, words of thanksgiving and prophesy flowed from his mouth. (Lk 1:68-71)

There is an interesting thing about Zechariah’s speech that Piper has pointed out. He notes, “filled with the Holy Spirit, he is so confident of God’s redeeming work in the coming of the Messiah that he puts it in the past tense.” (pg. 5)

This is the nature of divine hope – that the believer believes that it has already been granted, even before it has been done. And how apt it is, that the Apostle Paul further clarifies this: “For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding ‘Yes!’ And through Christ, our ‘Amen’ (which means ‘Yes’) ascends to God for his glory.” (2 Cor 1:20, NLT) This is a hope that is not peculiar to Zachariah alone. This is a hope that is evident in everyone, whose lives God has touched. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Heb 11:1, ESV)

The birth of Christ, our Messiah, was a confidence building – hope securing visitation for the Patriarchs of our faith. If we profess to believe, yet are unable to live the reality of this hope in the past tense, how unfortunate that would be. Perhaps, it is unfortunate. Let us pray, and seek this divine visitation personally in our lives. For Christ has open the door for us to plead for such mercy. Let us not weary another day. Let us seek and ask, to receive this life affirming hope in us. “Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mk 11:24, ESV)

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