2017 | Week of December 18 | #1234
Politician involved in scandal. Prominent citizen caught in prostitution ring. Innocent man killed in deadly fight. Infant left to die in the cold. Mother sells daughter for drugs. Man embezzles money to pay for gambling debts.
Do those headlines sound familiar to you? They’d fit the first page of any major newspaper today. That’s true, but I’m actually describing life in the Roman Empire at the time of Christ’s birth. This was the setting of corruption and evil in which the Lord of the world chose to incarnate Himself.
Why? Because, Jesus said, “…I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Mark 2:17, NKJV) That time of horrible evil and debauchery was the “fullness of time,” the exact right time for the Lord of the universe to come to Earth in the humble, vulnerable form of the infant of peasant folk.
We’ve heard a lot about change in the past year—but what kind of change did Christ come to work on Earth? “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17, NKJV). Romans 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind….”
Now that‘s change that can truly make America great again! A new creation! The renewing of our mind! That is the message of Christ’s birth—the new Adam, the new creation, the new covenant between God and redeemed man, a new person. “Old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new.” It’s a dangerous, revolutionary message.
Christ set the example for us, through His humble but radical birth, life, death and glorious resurrection. The first-century Christians followed in His steps—they were radicals. They took the message of Truth to society, government and politics and turned them all upside down. It was the ultimate counterculture movement. They overcame, by the Blood of the Lamb.
What does that mean for us during this week of Christmas? How can the birth of Christ, over two thousand years ago, affect our world, and more specifically, our own lives? Quite honestly, it means the same thing for us that it did for the first-century Christians living in the midst of a world in turmoil.
This is our message: God came to Earth in the form of a humble infant—entirely God yet also entirely man. Divinity wrapped in mortality. Infinity confined to the finite. Ultimate power trapped in ultimate helplessness. The Almighty God, born in a shed and welcomed by lowly shepherds, kingly magi and angelic host.
Why did He come? Listen to Jesus Christ, at the moment of His impending death, reveal why He was born into the world. “…You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth….” (John 18:37, NKJV)
Then Pilot asks the ultimate question, and commits the ultimate sin. Sneering at Christ’s response, he asks, “What is truth?” and turns and walks away from Truth incarnate. In John 14:6, “Jesus said…’I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”
For believers in Christ, that same Truth lives in us. It was the Truth that drove the first-century Church to change their world for Christ. It was the Truth that fanned the flames of zeal in those early Christians, inspiring them to take a life-giving, life-changing message to a lost world, and then gave them the courage to face the lions in the arena, and to face all the power and evil of the Roman Empire!
What is Truth? It is not really a what. It is a Who. Truth is Jesus Christ come to Earth, born of a virgin, fully God and fully man. We celebrate His birth this Christmas. Each spring, we celebrate the Truth’s sacrificial death and victorious resurrection. One day, we will welcome His return!
May we burn with the same zeal and passion of the first-century Christians—to take the message of Truth to our communities, state and nation, to revolutionize our world for the Truth—Jesus Christ.
For Wisconsin Family Council, this is Julaine Appling, wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and reminding you the Prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”