In 2006, Dig A Little Deeper Into The Mind Of Christ.
This post will, at first, sound like another Christmas post. But bear with me, and you will see that this is headed toward the new, coming year.
“That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them. They were terribly frightened, but the angel reassured them. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! The Savior — yes, the Messiah, the Lord — has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David!” Luke 2:8-11 NLT
I highlighted the word that stood out to me as I read this text – Messiah.
When modern-day Christians read this passage, or discuss the meaning of Christmas, the emphasis is usually on Jesus as Lord, or king, or the baby who would one day rescue us, yes, deliver us from our sins.
That seems correct within the context of this passage in the New Testament. But let’s broaden the scope of the text and include how Christ’s birth is forecast in the Old Testament.
Even as early as the account of Adam and Eve, the Bible looked to the future to the time when a Savior would deliver us from our sins. Additionally, the Old Testament contains many references that prophecy the coming of the Christ, the King of the Jews.
The people of the Old Testament had all their hopes and dreams pinned on the coming of Christ. They looked forward to His coming. But the Jews did not expect a baby who came to live among us, to ultimately build a victorious, everlasting spiritual kingdom. No, they expected an earthly king to immediately exercise authority over the physical kingdoms of the world.
So the tragic truth is, the Jews missed the boat when Jesus came to rescue them. Just as the people of the world missed the boat when only Noah and his family were prepared for, and rescued from, the great flood.
The Jews looked forward to a Messiah. But they wanted an earthly ruler to place them in positions of prestige, or at least provide great comfort, peace, and freedom from oppression. Through this nearsightedness and fascination with physical kingdoms, they forfeited the long-term, spiritual kingdom they could have inherited as Sons of God.
The Jews wanted peace on earth. Naturally, with them as the favored nation. But does the Bible actually say "Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men"? That phrase states that “peace” should be given to everyone. And “good will” should also be given to everyone.
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." Luke 2:14 NIV
According to the NIV translation, the Bible does say that good will should be given to men, but ONLY to those men (people) who are Christians. (Unless this means his favor rests on all men.)
However, the KJV translation seems more open-ended.
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." Luke 2:14 KJV
Dave offers these thoughts. "I've always viewed those passages and that general theme as not peace between men but a will towards peace between men and God as directed by God to men. His ultimate gesture of restoration of peace between men and God being the His Son. There is also the peace that comes from that surrender but I believe the peace between men and God is what is refered to."
Now let's consider some other verses about peace.
"Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division." Luke 12:55 NIV
So peace comes when opposing parties cease hostilities.
"Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." Ephesians 4:3 NIV
A deeper level of peace can be found when parties are bonded and unified. (You don't just stop fighting, you also get along and work together.)
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7 NIV
And there is also an internal, spiritual peace.
So, as we ring in the New Year, are you looking for peace on earth?
Are you looking for peace when opposing parties cease hostilities? Do you long for a deeper level of peace found when parties are bonded and unified? And, lastly, will your mission in the coming year be to seek out and discover the greatest peace of all? Will your quest bring you to an internal, spiritual peace in Christ?
Repeating, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7 NIV
Do you know the mind of Christ? Will you recognize Christ in your heart and mind? The Jews looked forward to the coming of Christ, but they did not recognize the true Christ and missed the boat. People today should be looking forward to the second coming of Christ. But is your attention in the wrong place, searching for a shallow level of peace? Will you miss the boat because you have never recognized the true Christ as your Lord and Savior?
In 2006, dig a little deeper into the mind of Christ.
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