Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas special: Are you sure you really want to celebrate Christmas?

Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed. So you are witnesses and you consent to the deeds of your fathers, for they killed them, and you build their tombs. Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, "I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute, so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation. (Lk. 11:47-51) (Bold added)

Before I forget, Merry Christmas to one and all. In this holiday season, I would like to ask ourselves one important question: Are you sure you really want to celebrate Christmas?

Christmas as a festival is meant to celebrate the incarnational birth of Jesus Christ, the God-man; 100% God and 100% Man, who came down to Earth to die as a propitiation for our sins, so that we can have fellowship with God once again. During His ministry, Jesus did various extraordinary things, and in this post, I would like us to concentrate on the above-mentioned passage, specifically the part in bold.

In the context of this passage, Jesus was pronouncing woes on the Pharisees and the scribes, because of their hypocrisy; for neglecting the weightier issues of the Law while focusing on the minor outward aspects of it. In the middle of all these woes, Jesus mentioned the following statement:

Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed. So you are witnesses and you consent to the deeds of your fathers, for they killed them, and you build their tombs.

Notice what Jesus said. Jesus said that the Pharisees are on the surface honoring the prophets of old (by building their tombs, and also especially in treating their writings as Scripture — the OT), but that they are actually consenting to the killing of God's prophets. In other words, the Pharisees are accused of consenting to the persecuting and killing of God's prophets (Acts 7:51-52), and after they are dead, to mourn and honor them. Such hypocrisy! For them, the saying holds true: A good prophet is a dead prophet.

What does this have to do with Christmas, you may ask. Well, do we treat Jesus the same way the Pharisees of old treat the prophets? As we celebrate Christmas; to celebrate the incarnational birth of our Savior and Lord 2000+ years ago, do we treat Him like how the Pharisees treated the ancient prophets — to say with our lips that we honor Him, to sing praises to His name, to even witness for Him, but NOT to obey His commands and teachings? Will we embrace Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord as how He has shown Himself in the Bible, including all the so-called 'offensive' parts? Have we 'sanitized' Jesus of all the rough-edges, such that He is so nice and comforting to us — a friend of sinners, instead of the friend of sinners who is the Truth who will call us to holiness in Him and thus more than likely offend us by telling us what parts of our lives are not pleasing to Him? If Jesus were to be among us now, do you think that we would still embrace Him even though He may rebuke us and chatise us for our sinfullness, and definitely offend all our sensibilities, like what he did to the Pharisees? Or are we going to be just like the Pharisees, who pay lip service to the prophets of God who came before them, since these prophets are now dead and thus cannot directly rebuke their waywardness?

Therefore, as we come together this holiday season to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, let us ponder in our hearts whether we really want to celebrate this festival. Duruing His time on this earth, He offended the sensibilites of all the religious people and even some of the common folk, which precipitated His death by the way (No one gets hated and crucified for no good reason). Are we sure we want such a man to rule over us, one who is not politically-correct, one who calls people to holiness and rebuke the hypocrisy of the religious leaders, one who is loving and is in fact Love, yet one who condemns the religious leaders to hell for blaspheming the Holy Spirit (Mt. 12:31-32)? Think and meditate on these things, and may we submit ourselves to the Lordship of Christ in every aspects of our lives this Christmas.

Prayer: Lord, even as we celebrate the incarnational birth of our Lord Jesus Christ this Christmas, may you open our eyes to see Your Truth, and to see Your light. May we not try to tame Your Son Jesus Christ and reimagine Him according to our whims and fancy; our likes and dislikes, but to accept and honor Him as He truly is. Let us learn to accept Him as He is portrayed in the Bible, and let us remove all false perceptions of Him that we have ever embraced in our lives, so that He will once again have the preeminent position in our lives.

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