Even people who don’t know much about the Bible have heard of the wise men who visited Jesus after His birth. A lot of what we think we know about them is not in Scripture. But beyond the facts, their quest to find the Messiah can teach us a couple valuable lessons.
The narrative of the angel Gabriel appearing to Mary is beautiful in its simplicity. But we would be remiss to not see the wonderful truths in their meeting.
When Jesus came to earth, His plan was more than just to live among us. He wanted to live within us.
God is spirit. He is not constrained by space or time. He can be everywhere at the same time. But that doesn’t mean that God necessarily makes His presence known everywhere equally. The fact is, God shows Himself where He’s honored and worshiped.
Our finite nature tends to make us want to localize our worship of God. Many think that He can only be worshiped in certain places. But Jesus makes it very clear that God can be worshiped anywhere, anytime. In God’s eyes there are no places more sacred than any others.
God has been so graceful with us. Yet it can be easy to withhold grace to others, especially if they’re not like us. This was the trap into which Jonah fell. He was ready to die before he’d go preach repentance to the people of Nineveh. Can we fall victim to stingy grace today?
Would we be surprised if God wanted to do something completely different? It’s easy to get in a spiritual rut, personally or in the church. That’s never the work of God. Not only is He creative, He created creativity. But we can become very comfortable in our daily walk. Too comfortable. We begin to work God into our agenda, instead of the other way around. But Jesus stands ready to blow up our staid orthodoxy and to breathe His freshness…
God never promised that the Christian life would be easy. Jesus certainly experienced this, as did the apostle Paul. But regardless of the circumstances, we need to keep our eyes on why we’re here. It also helps to realize that God’s mission is bigger than any one person.
When asked to give the greatest commandment, Jesus answered with a first and second. His simple message was that we are called to love God and love others. We’re to love God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength. This means our love and devotion for God will encompass all that we are. Our human relationships should also exhibit a “no holds barred” care and concern.
God originally commanded Israel to observe the Day of Atonement every year. But with Jesus’ coming and His sacrifice, the Day of Atonement has been rendered obsolete. It is obsolete because Jesus, our High Priest, gave Himself on the cross of Calvary. He alone atoned for the sin of the world. This ushered in a new way of relating with God. No longer would worship only be “skin deep.” Now God would inhabit the hearts of those who put their…