Do you rulers indeed speak justly?
Do you judge people with equity?
Psalm 58:1, GNT
It may seem an odd verse for the Christmas season, but when held up to the truth of who Jesus is and why He came, it becomes very appropriate. Some often quoted verses this time of the year provide insight to He purpose.
“Well then, the Lord himself will give you a sign: a young woman who is pregnant will have a son and will name him ‘Immanuel’ (God with us).”
Isaiah 7:14, GNT
“A child is born to us! A son is given to us!
And he will be our ruler. He will be called, “Wonderful Counselor,”
“Mighty God,” “Eternal Father,” “Prince of Peace.”
His royal power will continue to grow; his kingdom will always be at peace.
He will rule as King David’s successor, basing his power on right and justice,
from now until the end of time.
The Lord Almighty is determined to do all this.”
Isaiah 9:6-7, GNT
When teaching in the synagogue, Jesus, Himself, announced His purpose.
He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it is written,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has chosen me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed and announce that the time has come when the Lord will save his people.”
Jesus rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. All the people in the synagogue had their eyes fixed on him, as he said to them, “This passage of scripture has come true today, as you heard it being read.”
Jesus came to bring His presence among us, to rule justly, and to set things right in a gone wrong world. As we celebrate His coming at Christmas, we may wonder, question, or dispute the fact as to whether it has made any difference.
After all, we still live in a world where children starve, where wars are fought, where young girls are trafficked and sold into slavery, where people live in hopeless poverty, where many die of horrible diseases, where greed and the lust for power prevails more often than not. We see places in our world where there is no peace, no justice, where healing does not take place, where people are not free. When we look around us, at the injustice and suffering, we may doubt what it’s really all about.
Remember, in Luke 11:2, Jesus himself told his disciples to pray for God’s Kingdom to come. If he came to bring God’s kingdom, than why are we praying for it to come?
Later in his ministry, Jesus also told his disciples that He would go away, and when He did, He would send the “Helper,” the Holy Spirit, who will lead and guide us in the truth. (John 16) The truth of his kingdom. A kingdom counter to the world’s kingdom. (see Matthew 5&6, Matthew 19:30, John 18:36).
One day, Jesus will return again (Acts 1:11) and we hold to the promise that He will, indeed, establish His eternal kingdom.
Until then, what?
We, like the disciples, should pray for God’s kingdom to come. And we, like the disciples, should get busy, doing what He’s called us to do, to be a part of making His kingdom come.
What does that involve?
The Psalmist tells us in Psalm 82:3-4, “Defend the cause of the poor and the fatherless! Vindicate the oppressed and suffering! Rescue the poor and needy! Deliver them from the power of the wicked!”
Isaiah said in chapter 58:6-7 “Remove the chains of oppression and the yoke of injustice, and let the oppressed go free. Share your food with the hungry and open your homes to the homeless poor. Give clothes to those who have nothing to wear, and do not refuse to help your own relatives.” Then goes on to say in 9-10 “If you put an end to oppression, to every gesture of contempt, and to every evil word; if you give food to the hungry and satisfy those who are in need, then the darkness around you will turn to the brightness of noon.”
If that’s not enough, numerous times throughout his letters, Paul exhorts us to:
– be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another just as God has forgiven you in the Messiah (Ephesians 4:32)
– do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others (Philippians 2:4)
– do not grow weary in doing what is right (2 Thessalonians 3:13)
– Bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 5:2)
– If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink (Romans 12:20)
Just to name a few.
Jesus, Himself, tells us in Matthew 25, how what we do for others is the same as doing it for Him. “I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me a drink; I was a stranger and you received me in your homes, naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me, in prison and you visited me…” “whenever you did this for one of the least important of these followers of mine, you did it for me!”
As we wait His return, we are to be about the business of His kingdom come. There is much to do, and Christmas gives us the opportunity to pause, to assess, and to realign our priorities with our Heavenly Father’s.
Christmas. Not a season. But a way of life.
Heavenly Father, this Christmas, help us remember that we are part of your plan to bring about a glimpse of your kingdom, on earth as it is in heaven.