The very instant that Jesus Christ yielded up the ghost (Mt. 27:50) the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom (Mt. 27:51), to mark the fulfilment and dissolution of the ceremonial law and theocratic constitution of Israel. Thus, with his own blood (Acts 20:28) the inter-national church of the final and great high priest (Heb 4:14) was founded. In this light, the world’s bitter and bloodthirsty disputes over territory, landmarks, buildings and boundaries are utterly useless; if one does not have a saving interest in the spiritual kingdom of God, one has nothing.
However, this is not to say that the Old Testament does not speak to us who are living in this New Testament age. In terms of the moral law, he is a Jew, which is one inwardly (Rom 2:29), and blessed are they that do his commandments (Rev 22:14). In terms of daily living, believers seek principles from both Old and New testaments in order to honour God as much as is humanly possible, secure in the faith that they are dead, their true life hid with Christ in God (Col 3:3).
As we approach the death of 2014 and anticipate the dawn of 2015, let us lay aside any thoughts of Christ which are not worthy of Him. Yes, He is the blessed baby lying in a manger, in his human capacity as Substitute, Scapegoat, and Saviour. But yes, in his capacity as God He has commanded you, whoever you are, whatever you have done, wherever you live, to Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way (Ps 2:12). All those who, by faith, put their trust in him (Ps 2:12) are described as blessed, not through the putting of the trust but through the One in whom the trust is put.
you both are wrong, neither is right,
your holy land was ripped in two
the veil was rent, let God be true.
you can have peace today, tonight,
but faith alone is not enough
it’s faith in Christ, alone enough.
you all are sinners in God’s sight,
you need a Saviour from each other
turn to Christ, more than your brother.
you war, but against God’s your fight
there’s only one result from this,
Judgement, if you the Son don’t kiss.
It is a humbling spiritual application which we can draw from the shepherds; they abiding where we so often are distracted from our spiritual mission; they keeping watch where we so often take our eyes off the bigger picture, and all of this by night (Lk 2:8), a time when we are tempted to slacken off and become spiritually unfruitful, lounge around, not arising early as our Lord often did.
And then there were the wise men; so sober, thoughtful, meditative in their questing thirst and hunger for the deep, the true, the profound… here described as having rejoiced with exceeding great joy (Mt 2:10), all their outward-looking and inward-looking finally satisfied. How similar to our first experience of knowing God.
Meanwhile, the call to reach out, to make known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child (Luke 2:17) reminds us of when the Lord first tuned our ears into perceiving those glorious doctrines of incarnation, substitution, reconciliation, and ultimate glorification. How amazing that we are not more often amazed and moved to express, to convey, to communicate something of the majesty and awe which we have tasted.
Perhaps the thing at which all they that heard it wondered (Lk. 2:18) and at which Mary pondered (v.19), was that the Word was God (Jn 1:1); that that which has always existed, and through Whom all things were made, had been looked upon and handled (1 Jn 1:1) by such unworthy beings as themselves. When you and I pick up and handle our Bibles today, will we appreciate that the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever (1 Pe 1:23) is speaking to our very souls? May our eternally good Shepherd be pleased to open our hearts and incline our wills today.
Wondrous that the heavens burst
to tell those lowly shepherds first,
their lowly hearts being valued most
by God who sent His heavenly host.
Wondrous that those Magi moved
to see their theories fully proved,
their roving minds encountering God
in humble house, not near Herod.
Wondrous that those shepherds burst
to spread the word to souls athirst,
their loyal lives ever rewarded,
blessed by Spirit, Word recorded.
Wondrous that their star had proved
to lead them where their hearts were moved,
to show their minds their strength was naught,
in person Word outstripping thought.