Peace, Love, & Joy | Abundant Life | Christmas Special | Devotional Series | Part 16 of 27 | December 15, 2019

I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” – John 10:10 (ESV)

How ironic for Christ to say – He came to give life. Considering how, He is also the one who says, lose your life. (Lk 9:23-24) Let me explain. The life He is talking about in the first context, is well documented in its preceding verse. “Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures.” (Jn 10:9, NLT) The life Christ is talking about (here) is eternal, and the context here is of salvation. Whereas, the life we ought to lose is one of worldliness. This is a life marked with the vain-glorious pursuit of mortal desires. “People who are ruled by their desires think only of themselves” (Rom 8:5, CEV) “(and then) we are tempted by our own desires (Js 1:14, CEV) … then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (Js 1:15, ESV)” Therefore, when Christ says, lose you life, He is saying, lose worldliness which is being deadinsin. It is the same reason why we also find Him addressing worldly people as dead. “And Jesus said to him, ‘Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’” (Lk 9:60, ESV)

The reason why Christ calls for losing worldliness is not only because it leads to spiritual death. It is also because it leads to self-idolatry. Because worldliness prioritizes self-interest, and our self-centred desires above God. What YHWH demands from us, is an undivided devotion. Hence, the first commandment: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Ex 20:3-5, KJV) The Psalmist, likewise, wisely pleads “Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.” (Ps 86:11, ESV) But more than that, the reason why we should lose our life is because Christ offered His. The reason why we should lose our worldliness is because, Christ offers an eternal life; and not just that – He offers an abundance of it.

Albert Barnes writes: “Literally, that they may have abundance, or that which abounds. The word denotes that which is not absolutely essential to life, but which is superadded to make life happy. They shall not merely have life – simple, bare existence – but they shall have all those superadded things which are needful to make that life eminently blessed and happy. It would be vast mercy to keep men merely from annihilation or hell; but Jesus will give them eternal joy, peace, the society of the blessed, and all those exalted means of felicity which are prepared for them in the world of glory.”[1]       

But one common hindrance to losing worldliness is worldly care. It is not only the pursuit of worldly interests that stumbles us, but it is also the matter of survival. What will I eat, drink, and wear? Where will I live? How do I take care of my loved ones? Et cetera. And these are all honest concerns. It is true, not everything is about conceit. But Christ says, “‘Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore, do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. ‘Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Mat 6:25-34, ESV)

Christ came to grant us an abundant life. It would be a shame to lose such matchless offering. It is a life that we cannot afford by our own. Let us celebrate this offering. And meditate on it. Isn’t that why we celebrate Christmas? Let us pray and seek His face, that He would lead us from worldliness to godliness


[1] https://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/cmt/barnes/joh010.htm


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

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 | 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

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