Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Gift We Needed

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

When I read or listen to news reports from around the world, it’s easy for me to think the world has never been as divided as it is now. How do we deal with the troubling wars in the Middle East? How do we help struggling refugees? It seems that every day, we are inching our way to the Valley of Megiddo — Armageddon.

But as I read the New Testament, it seems to me that it was the same in Jesus’ day. When Christ came, people were divided on just how to deal with the iron fist of Rome. Some thought becoming allies with Rome was the best way to go. We saw that with the Sadducees and Herod the Great. They became friends of Rome to secure power. Then you have those who fought fiercely to end Rome’s rule. They were the militaristic zealots. Let’s not forget the Essenes. They disassociated themselves from society, fleeing to the Dead Sea, to live in isolation while waiting for the Deliverer to come.  

There was a longing for the Messiah to come and defeat Rome. And people prepared differently for that event. The Pharisees prepared by demanding purity. Zealots stowed weapons and sharpened their knives. Essenes prayed earnestly and stowed away sacred writings (The Dead Sea Scrolls). Herod, well, he removed any potential candidate for the coming King. 

That was the world into which the gift we needed came. Immanuel, God with us, the One who would bring peace and hope. 

You see, our problem is not “Rome,” “Herod,” or “Religiosity.” Our problem is not the religious indifference or the intolerance we are facing today. Our problem is we are sinners, dead in our trespasses and sin (Ephesians 2.1). And that is where we would continue to walk were it not that Jesus came to “save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1.21).

God not only made a way to end our sinful past, but He also made a way for our glorious future. He did that by giving us the gift we needed — Immanuel, God with us! 

Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated,God with us.” Matthew 1.23

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