Today we come to the concluding part of our 4-parts series on fulfillment of Christmas-related prophecies…
“As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. ‘Joseph, son of David,’ the angel said, ‘do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.'”
What’s in a name? Well everything…if the Almighty is the person who is naming you even before your birth! In fact, we do not have to go beyond the name of Jesus (meaning Saviour) to get the crux of the Christmas message. He was born to save sinners from their sin. Well, who is a Sinner? Let the Scripture answer…
“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” (Romans 3:23) …does the word “we” include even respectable people of the society…the Presidents, Prime-minters, the Kings and the Queens? Yes! For all of us inherit the fallen Adamic nature at birth (Romans 5:12). Does anyone at home or school teach us how to lie or steal in childhood? We do not pick-up those traits, rather the innate sinfulness manifests itself naturally in due time, once we are conceived in our mother’s womb. The propensity to sin is in our DNA, so to speak. Consider this humorous story…
A concerned father (a nominal Christian with no born again experience) whose full name was James John Peter Paul — they called him JJPP — admonished his crying son once who was at the receiving end of his teacher’s punishment in school for stealing the eraser of his benchmate, “Son, you have spoiled your family’s and your Papa’s image.” He reflected and went on: “What would they say, in Church, if they know of this? Where was the need for you to steal an eraser of your friend? You should have told me about your need and straightaway I would have brought a handful of them free…from my office.” So much for living up to your name! Instead of JJPP, his nickname ought to have been SFA (Son of Fallen Adam).
That is why the Saviour made the clarion call: “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” (John 3:3). How can we be born again? Let the following Scripture portions give a conclusive answer:
“…to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn–not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.” (John 1:12-13)
“For salvation that comes from trusting Christ–which is what we preach–is already within easy reach of each of us; in fact, it is as near as our own hearts and mouths. For if you tell others with your own mouth that Jesus Christ is your Lord and believe in your own heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in his heart that a man becomes right with God; and with his mouth he tells others of his faith, confirming his salvation.” (Romans 10:8-10)
He is the Saviour, not only because He saves us at the point of regeneration, but for sustaining our spiritual life by placing His joyous, empowering indwelling Holy Spirit within us (John 14:16-19 TLB) at all times (except at the time of our silly disobedience), so much so a Christian starts “enjoying Heaven right here on Earth.” That is why the Saviour at the beginning of His public ministry proclaimed, “Repent for the Kingdom of God is near.” (Matt 4:17). What is that Kingdom of God being alluded to here…Heaven…no for it would mean, we would have to die first to go there, since it cannot be “inherited in perishable bodies” (1 Cor 15:50) nor is it the Millennial rule which would be established only after Christ’s second advent (Rev 20), for in terms of time and space, it (Millennial rule) was anything but near when the Saviour uttered these words 2000 years ago. So what exactly is this Kingdom of God? Let the Scripture take over…
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). It is foremost righteousness (read right standing with God), which is imputed to us, once we repent of our sins and accept Christ, followed naturally by a foretaste of Heaven, which is: “peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”. We can have peace of God and His joy only we are at peace with God (Romans 5:1). After having tasted it, no Christian will settle for anything less, even as love for God and his fellowmen is overflowing in his/her heart now (Romans 5:5). A Christian (one with a born-again experience) would be willing to stake anything (not only the exciting enjoyment which sin affords but even his/her legitimate rights also) to have at all times “love, joy, peace… of the Holy Spirit” (Gal 5:22-23/Romans 8:9). That is why at the Almighty’s call, some Christians quit their lucrative jobs to minister for His Glory even at an obscure place and some are even willing to pay the final price…die as martyrs, for they are convinced (it is true) that they have “better place awaiting them” (Philippians 3:20-21). If the foretaste of Heaven itself is so fulfilling, how would real heaven be. I am not referring to “Pearly gates” or “Streets of Gold” (Rev 21:21) or other incidental benefits as an incentive here. But to the very presence of our triune God, whom we love dearly because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). Let the Saviour Himself have the last word on the subject of “Kingdom of God” which He has made accessible to mankind by virtue of His holy birth on the First Christmas, atoning death on the Cross of Calvary 33 years later and triumphant resurrection three days hence:
“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!” (Matt 13:45-46)
Well it took my breath away, as the enormity of the simple truth in that simple parable sank in some 31 years ago when Yours truly wallowing in a carnal, worldly life first heard it (Oct 16th, 1983 to be more precise). Say Reader, have you “bought” the Christmas story? Then, merry, merry, divine joy-filled Christmas to you! Rest assured at all times, the strings of all events related to your life is in the hands of promise keeping, Sovereign, Adonai, concerned, loving God (Joshua 21:45/1 Peter 5:7) who demonstrated His love for you by not even sparing His Son for your salvation sake (Romans 8:31-32).
Prayer: Father, We worship Thee for bringing Heaven itself to the proximity of human heart all because of the First Christmas. We glorify You once again in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
An Unprofitable Servant
J and SM Ministries
(To access the entire “Christmas Prophecies” mini-series, please click here.)