Peace, Love, & Joy | Two Kinds of Oppositions | Christmas Special | Devotional Series | Part 10 of 27 | December 9, 2019

The (Jewish) Chief Priest and the Scribes were aware of Christ’s birth. But that was it. They only quoted the scripture to Herod the King, and went back to their old lives. They were completely indifferent to the situation at hand. They could have followed up, (why) the birth of Christ was being inquired. I mean, isn’t that the whole scripture was leading up to – the coming of Messiah? But when the time was ripe, and they had the opportunity to be a part of a historical moment – they didn’t care. They could have followed the wise-men from the East. But they didn’t. Herod the King, on the other hand was petrified. He felt threatened. He schemed much, and even got many murdered just to get rid of the new born King.

According to Piper (pg. 18), the narration of the birth of Christ, demonstrated two kinds of opposition that will always rise against Christ and His people. First, these are the indifferent. (Rom 1:22) Example: the priests and the scribes. These are people who know about Christ, but they don’t care about Him. Christ, to them is a non-entity. These are people comfortable in their sin. And they want nothing to do with who Christ is, or why they would need Him. Second, these are the hostile. (Rom 2:5-6) Example: Herod the King. These are people who enjoy a dominion over their own lives, and in the lives of people who love them or serve them. These are people who feel threatened that Christ will alter their dominion, by His new system of Righteousness and Holiness. These are people who are stubborn in their sin. Hence, the first lot of people create passive obstruction, thereby being an opposition to Christ and His people. While the second lot of people, create aggressive obstruction – trying their best that the Truth may never be established.

Now, I will not tell you – introspect and see whether you belong in any of these group. Because chances are, both you and I are most likely to be guilty of not one, but maybe of both indifference and stubbornness. It can be in-part, at a certain moment of our lives. It can be, a present condition. But whatever the case may be. To some extent, and to some measure, we are all guilty. Because no one is righteous. (Rom 3:10) But there is one thing I want to add, as I conclude this devotional, and that is – we don’t have to be that way. Christ came for sinners, to call them to repentance. (Lk 5:32) God is faithful, so let us seek Him. (1 Cor 10:13) Because it is the promise of the scriptures, that “while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” (Rom 5:10, 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 (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

Peace, Love, & Joy | Christ is central in Christmas | Christmas Special | Devotional Series | Part 9 of 27 | December 8, 2019

In the account of the Apostle Luke, we find YHWH influencing the entire Roman Empire to situate Joseph and Mary in Bethlehem. So that, the Old Testament prophesy could be fulfilled. In the account of the Apostle Matthew, we find YHWH influencing the entire solar system, to bring foreigners to Christ, so that they could worship Him. And in such narrations, it is easy to be lost among the questions of little significance – as to the ‘how, when, and where’ of these incidents. Piper therefore encourages, we ought to focus on the central subject of these narrations. We ought to focus on the Christ of Christmas, the central subject of the gospel. And message behind, i.e. “the holiness of God, the ugliness of sin, the helplessness of man, the death of Christ, justification by faith alone, the sanctifying work of the Spirit, the glory of Christ’s return and the final judgment.” (pg. 16)

The Samaritan Woman (Jn 4:4-26), also struggled due to similar reasons. Her focus was not on the centrality of the gospel. She was more preoccupied with custom, culture, rituals, place of worship et cetera. To which Jesus replied, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father… But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (Jn 21-24, ESV) And only, then, when Jesus shift her focus from the less significant, to the One, who alone is significant – she could grasp who Christ was.

This Christmas, let us focus on the One who is significant. Yes. It is true, God moved the Roman Empire, and He moved the Solar System because that is His design. It is His will that the chosen ones from the whole mankind, of all nation to come and worship Him. So, if God is moving your environment, your situation, and the people around you – let that be. And let it not be the focus of your life. Let your focus solely be on Christ. Because such people, are the kind of worshipers that the Father seeks. (Jn 4:23)


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

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)


[1] https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/matthew-2-11.html

[2] https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/matthew/2.html


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