Christmas day has come and gone. You have shared and received countless “Merry Christmas” greetings. However, my question is: how well do you know this Jesus Christ whose birth we celebrated recently?
During his brief public ministry, Jesus was regarded as a rabbi, the Hebrew word for “teacher.” There was a distinctive quality in his teaching. Matthew reports, “the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law” (Matthew 7:28-29). Such authoritative teaching was appreciated by many; others considered it offensive, or at least, revolutionary.
Since you merrily celebrated Christmas, does this mean you also warmly accept the authoritative teachings of Jesus? Here is what Jesus has to say about certain issues that we face today:
- On the idea that truth is relative and that there are many ways to heaven, do you like this Jesus who said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6)?
- On the issue of divorce, do you like this Jesus who said, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery” (Luke 16:18)?
- On the issue of lust, do you like this Jesus who said, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28)?
- On the matter of soliciting credit for the help you give, do you like this Jesus who said, “When you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets [or stickers or banners], as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full” (Matthew 6:2)?
What do you think? Is Jesus being a bigot for teaching these things? Is he being intolerant for speaking in absolute terms? I am sure you have no problems with the idea of Jesus being a loving and forgiving Savior. However, are you also willing to acknowledge him as your Lord and King–and give him your unconditional allegiance and obedience? There will come a time when “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11).
This coming year, I encourage you to bow your knee to Jesus–purposefully, willingly and joyfully.
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