I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war.
We don’t often think of Christ as judge, and certainly not at Christmas time when our image of Jesus is as a little baby. Many people are uncomfortable with the image portrayed in Revelation of Christ waging war and enacting justice.
While many people do not want to think about judgment, Christians should not fear it. Jesus has paid the price for our sins and we are not at war with God.
Instead we should take heart in the justice of Christ. Justice is something that we seek but do not always find in the world today. Many countries have no real justice for their citizens. Even in the best democratic countries it is often said that justice favors the rich and powerful.
Christ’s justice is just however. It is handed out evenly without showing favor to anyone or incorrectly punishing the righteous. Jesus knows who is with Him and who is against Him.
As Christians, we should not take vengeance on our enemies but God is able to and it is right for Him to do so. It is because His justice will be handed out properly and without sin. It will be fair for all, even those who are punished because God will righteously punish the wicked and reward the just. This is Christ’s right as judge.
“For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
There is a lot of controversy over whether it is appropriate or required to rest on the Sabbath day. Indeed, there is even controversy over what day should celebrated as the Sabbath as most Christians celebrate on the first day of the week in honor of Christ’s resurrection instead of the seventh day as the Jews were instructed.
Jesus was criticized for healing on the Sabbath and for not following the man made rules that the Jewish leaders had constructed – well meaning but often foolish laws.
Jesus did not break any law that God had given to man. He also doesn’t supersede any law – that is to decide that He is above it and it doesn’t apply to Him. Instead He offers clarification to the legalistic ways that the law had been incorrectly interpreted.
The Sabbath was intended for man to rest. The example given was that God rested on the seventh day, so should man. God obviously did not need to rest because He was tired but He did so as an example for us.
Jesus is the Lord of rest. We jam too many activities into our day and are exhausted at night. Then we reschedule more into the next day because we missed something the day before. Instead of a day of rest, Sunday has become a day to catch up on things we didn’t have time to do the rest of the week.
Jesus is the Lord of rest. Take a day off to follow that example. It will be of benefit both physically and spiritually.
For to which of the angels did God ever say,
“You are my Son;
today I have become your Father”? Or again,
“I will be his Father,
and he will be my Son”? And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says,
“Let all God’s angels worship him.”
Jesus’ lowly birth in a stable surrounded by animals is a great human interest story. If it occurred today it would at least catch the interest of the local news. Politicians may chime in about the poor conditions in which the child was born in. Others may denounce the capitalist innkeeper who was unwilling to find a better place to stay for a pregnant woman to spend the night.
The birth of Jesus is not merely human drama however. While we hear the story year after year and see it reenacted in Christmas plays, the divine drama is every bit as important as the human side of the story.
Jesus is the fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14. He is Immanuel, God with us. Jesus’ birth is not just the birth of another great man in history. He is not just another in a long line of kings or descendants of David.
Jesus is worshipped as an infant. Shepherds came from their fields to bow down to the King of Kings in baby form. Magi traveled from far off to present great gifts to a king that they knew was more special than any other.
Perhaps greatest of all is that the angels themselves worship Jesus as a baby. Jesus didn’t come into the world for the angels and yet they too must worship Him. We too should follow the example of so many before us and worship Jesus.
For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
We don’t often think of Christ before He is introduced to the world as a little baby. However, He is God and has been around eternally. Jesus was there at creation and had an active part in the process.
We often struggle to understand the trinity with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit all being one God but separate beings. This isn’t something that we will fully be able to grasp here on earth.
The three persons of the trinity have separate functions. Jesus has a very different mission than that of the Father and the Holy Spirit. But there are other times, like during creation, that we see all three present and doing the same thing together.
Even if our understanding is limited, we should remember that Jesus is God. Even as we celebrate Christ’s humanity at Christmas, we should remember this. It puts things in even greater perspective for us. The baby in a manger is not just the savior of the world; He is the creator of that same world that He arrived in as a baby!
He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.
The idea of animal sacrifice seems ancient and even barbaric to most people today. The idea of killing something to appease a god is something that we think of happening in pagan tribes thousands of years ago. But blood is central to Christianity as well.
Blood sacrifice was instituted at the very first sin. When Adam and Eve sinned and realized that they were naked, God sacrificed an animal and covered their nakedness with the skin. The leaves that they hid behind were not adequate.
The problem with animal sacrifice was that it was only a covering. The sins were covered over but not actually erased. Old Testament saints were still saved by virtue of following the sacrifices because of their faith however.
Every sacrifice that was made – year after year – pointed toward Jesus. Undoubtedly, the Israelites didn’t understand all of it but they did what God asked regardless.
On the Day of Atonement, once a year, the high priest could enter the Most Holy Place and make a sacrifice for the nation of Israel. When Jesus died and His blood was shed, the curtain that separated the Most Holy Place was torn in two. Jesus’ blood literally tore down the barrier between God and man.
Jesus was the once for all sacrifice. No more sacrifice is needed now. Just like the Old Testament saints, we are saved by faith in Jesus. We have the benefit of a much better understanding than they did however.