Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Day 11: Luke 2:11

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. -Luke 2:11

There was an 11 year streak in my life where every Christmas I sang in some sort of performance of Handel's Messiah.  And now that it has been 9 years since the end of that streak, one of the few pieces that still rings through my ears at Christmas time is "For Unto Us a Child is Born".  The text is from Isaiah 9:6:

 "For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

The Jews had been prophesying the coming of a Messiah for a long time, Isaiah 9:6 above being one of those prophecies.  The Jews had been persecuted and enslaved, yet they knew they were God's chosen people and they awaited this great Messiah who would free their people.  Those who were still faithful waited in eager anticipation for the one promised to them and the declaration of the angel in the verse from Luke 2:11 tells us through the details given that, yes, this is the Messiah that they've been waiting for.

What is sad is that most of these Jews missed the signs pointing to Jesus being the One sent by God to save them.  They had so many preconceived notions about who it would be and what He should look like that they missed who He actually was.  Even though they may not have had angels showing up to them in their fields, they have volumes of scripture that should have made it obvious.

We still do that same thing today, and I believe the description of our Lord from Isaiah 9:6 can still reveal characteristics of Jesus that we would miss.  How do we see a "wonderful counselor" show up in a line of Christians standing outside of a strip club, spewing hatred at the girls who work there?  Would the "wonderful counselor" instead want to sit down and build a relationship with them?  Care for them?  Listen to them?  Love them?  And when they finally want a way out, point them in the direction of Jesus?

How do we see a "mighty God" among Christians who are terrified at the thought of a supernatural God showing up and performing some unexplained miracle?  Where is "mighty God" in a church too afraid of God not being who He says He is to never trust Him to do anything bigger than what the church can do on its own?  Would mighty God instead be mighty and do things that require supernatural strength and effort?

Is the Lord we worship really THE Lord if instead of trusting Him to be an "everlasting Father", we envision Him to be a taskmaster, waiting to whip us the minute we step out of line, or to be finite and run out of time, patience or energy in loving us and drawing us near to Him?

Is the spirit that leads Christians to blow up an abortion clinic really the "Prince of Peace"?

Don't let our preconceived notions of who Jesus should be cause us to miss the Jesus that is described in scripture.  He is coming again and we want to be sure we recognize Him.

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