As we approach Christmas, it is the season that church has, historically, called Advent. I thought I would re-share some old thoughts about Christmas in this time. Hymn numbers are from the 2008 Baptist Hymnal (which the Apostle Paul would not have used, since he didn’t speak English), but it was the hymnal I had when I wrote this. Apart from Scripture quotes (next time, I’ll probably use CSB all through…just kidding) the copyright on this completely mine.
“For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself a ransom for all—this was attested at the right time.” 1 Timothy 2:5-6 (NRSV)
Now we come to the crux of the matter. Jesus is certainly the Priest above all religion, practices, problems, and divisions. Yet what about you? Do you recognize that Jesus is alive to be your High Priest?
It is not enough to say that He is greater than all else. Doing so would be true, but it remains a distant truth. I readily recognize that I could not go three rounds with George Foreman. What of it? The question is irrelevant: no one expects me to box and everyone knows Foreman can.
Recognizing Jesus as the High Priest above me is bringing this entire discussion home. Sure, Jesus has the answer for the world’s problems. Do I admit He has the solution to my problem? Do I admit that He is the answer to the divisions I have with others?
More even than that: do I recognize that I cannot, on my own, make my way back to God? God is holy, righteous, and perfect. He is fundamentally different than I am. I am in one place at one time, limited in ability, knowledge, and judgment. God is not limited to locations and times, His abilities exceed my comprehension---and He understands Himself. He never makes a mistake, while I hope to avoid making fatal mistakes.
That a mere human cannot come to God without help should not surprise anyone. It should astound us that there is anyway made possible. Jesus makes that possible. The manger makes it possible. The manger is that moment when God opened the door. He put the mediator in place that could bring us back to Him.
Is that personal for you? No other mediator will work: your pastor, your friend, your parent or your child cannot stand between you and God to bring you to Him. There is one mediator. God closed the whole gap that night in Bethlehem.
Where do stand at the manger? Do you stand near or behind another? The grace of God is this: there is room enough in the front row for everyone. You do not have to take that back seat. It works, really, the other way. There is only a front row. Those who are one row back are outside, and will stay there unless they come themselves into the presence. The way is open for all who would take it. He is the High Priest above all things, and that includes individual people.
Scripture passage for the day: Revelation 19:1 (NIV)
“After this I heard what sounded
like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting:
“Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,”
Hymn for the day: Good Christian Men, Rejoice #183
Prayer: Lord God, help me see Jesus as the only one between You and me. I ask for your help to move up to the front row, where nothing and no one stands between us. The only thing that should matter is You. Help me to live that truth. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.