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

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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