This Sunday, I was excited to share with our churches. Last week we looked at Jesus as the long expected Christ, God's anointed deliverer (that's what Christ means). This week, in considering the carol Away In a Manger, I was led to ask us all to consider how we saw Jesus, as only a baby in a nursery rhyme, believable only to children, or as our Lord.
I hear and see many people "grow out of believing" in Jesus. They simply seem to move beyond seeing Jesus as Lord; but in reality, I think Jesus as Lord makes them uncomfortable. Many people choose to believe in a different Jesus than he the Bible says he is. The danger is that if we have an improper understanding of Jesus then our response, our obedience, to him will also be askew. So, it's important to consider how we think of f Jesus.
I wanted us to consider if we saw him as a helpless baby in a manger, becoming vulnerable by setting aside his divinity?
Do we see him as a wise teacher explaining how to live?
Do we see him as a radical missionary reaching the lost?
Do we see him as your savior, the Christ, giving himself away for you?
or Do we see him as the Lord?
The answer isn't if one of these is correct. The reality is Jesus is all of these and more. Jesus did take on flesh and vulnerability of a baby, he was a wise teacher, he did radically reach out to the lost, he did sacrifice himself for us as The Christ so that we might be experience redemption. He was is also to be seen as our Lord. Jesus was acknowledged as the Lord by the Angles before his birth. He fulfilled God's promise reign in the Old Testament. He was God's agent in creation. He was God in the flesh on earth. He conquered death. Everything about him pointed to the reality that Jesus is Lord.
This idea of Lordship brings with it a reality that we consider him in that place. The question we must consider is, will we allow him to be the Lord of our life? Will we all him control over our living? He is to be our Lord, controller; otherwise we don't know him as he desires to be known.
Lets get to know Jesus this Christmas as more than a baby in the manger, he is the Lord. So, ask yourself:
I just have to tell somebody today. Our churches have the best volunteers. Think of the folks who teach our children's Sunday school classes or serve in the nursery for instance. These are the very people who make God real to our kids. Next to their parents, these people are the most important connection for our kids to to faith.
I don't mind bragging about them (they wouldn't do it for themselves) but our Sunday school teachers spend hours planning for their kids. They shop for just the right snacks, they plan just how they are going to say what they want to say, they shop for the right props and toys that make their lessons powerful. They do all this because they love their kids...and they love Jesus.
Come see them this weekend, I'm confident you will be amazed as I am by their commitment to their kids and their love for Jesus.
We spend time together as most family's do on Christmas. Now that our kids are older, one thing we try to do is go to the movie together a few times during their Christmas break. This year we have the opportunity to see the final of the Hobbit movies. As I've read about it, it has caused me to think of how far apart our generations are and how these generational differences have always been a struggle.
The writer of the book on which the movies is based was a staunch anti-capitalist, anti-technology believer. How would he feel about his tale being told on 50 foot screens in digital 3D? I hope he would be impressed. I'm sure that will be my response when I get to see it this weekend. Yes the story is good, but we have the ability to tell it in a very powerful way today. It just takes a lot more work.
Same when I try to connect with my kids. It takes a bit more work than I would normally exert. I never wanted to go black Friday shopping if it weren't for my daughter. I wouldn't get my banged up knees strapped on a snowboard if it weren't for my son. In fact there are many things I simply wouldn't go through the trouble of doing if it weren't for my kids.... Just imagine what I would have missed.
What do you see when you look inside you?
I'm talking about when you reflect on your life. I don't know about you, but I am always dealing with the temptation to justify myself. I want my actions to be understood as I intended them. I want my arguments sound persuasive. I want my life to be significant. I want to be a part of doing good things. So the temptation is that when I look at myself, I see the good things I do and the intentions I have. Usually the bad things I do are overshadowed by my good intentions. Simply, I have a hard time being honest with myself.
But occasionally I get a glimpse at myself without pretense. There are moments when I see myself as God sees me...a struggling, striving, follower. In moments like these, I realize I need help. More help than I normally admit. I need help being a dad, being a husband, being a son, brother, pastor, farmer, etc. You get the point, there are times when I realize that I need something I can't provide. That's where Jesus comes in.
What is Jesus' last name. No it's not Christ. Christ refers to the role he served for us. Christ, the English for the Greek - Christos, and Hebrew - Messiah, means God's annointed. We read about Jesus being proclaimed as sent by God in his baptism and prophesied in the Old Testament.
Jesus comes in and gives me the faith to be faithful. He gives me the purpose that brings joy to my life. He helps me to stand up victorious when I feel defeated.
So I sing, O come all ye faithful, joyful, and triumphant...
How about you?
What's robbing you of your joy? What steps do you need to take to regain your joy through Christ?
Think of a time when your faith seemed weak. How did Christ help restore your faith?
What can you do this week to focus your Christmas preparations more on Jesus?
Let's talk about it, call, email, or message me and let me know your thoughts.
6/2014-2/2017 Pastor Gary Priddy