Pastor's Corner

The holiday crowds were gathering in the city of Jerusalem from everywhere. It was close to Passover time. Pilgrims were coming to Jerusalem for its highest holy day. All indications were that a king was coming. The city was swelling with heavy crowds, heavy with expectancy. They were expecting the Messiah. The Jews were tired of being bossed around and occupied by the Roman government and its soldiers. The prophets of old had long prophesied that God would send a Savior. This expectation among the Jews grew stronger and stronger each year of the Passover celebration during their Roman occupation (Isaiah 51:1-3). Their hopes were that the Messiah would throw out the Roman government and establish His own (Isaiah 9:6-7).

On one occasion of the Passover celebration, Jesus came to Jerusalem. Prior to entering the city, Jesus looked out over the city, pondered her future and cried (Luke 19:41-42). As Jesus entered the city, the people put down palm leaves before Him as He rode toward the temple complex on a virgin donkey. Jesus was bringing the gift of life to all men, for soon He would be on the cross bringing redemption to all people. The people shouted, “Hosanna, Hosanna” as Jesus rode pass them. A portion of the crowd believed Jesus was the Promised Messiah. The people lost all hope in Jesus, as the Messiah, when He was crucified. This is the Easter scene, but it is also Christ-mass. Our Lord was born to die. There can be no death unless one is born first. Christ-Mass and the Easter Passion are connected and is one season. The emphasis on Christ’s birth is to celebrate God’s fulfillment of promise to Adam and Eve. Christ-mass is celebrating the beginning of God’s promised redemption plan for man (Genesis 3:15).

The return of Christ to Jerusalem annually is an occasion which is celebrated by the Roman Catholic church. It is the celebration of the “Christ Mass”, which is the birth and coming of the expected Messiah -Jesus Christ. In a spiritual sense, Christ returns each year to look over the city. This is consistent with His promise to never forsake us, as believers (Hebrews 13:5). Christ returns to look into our hearts to take note as to whether or not we continue to value His teachings and crucifixion. The Christ-Mass is in light of what He commanded us to do, “Do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19). This determines if Christ will weep or rejoice with us during the Christmas celebration.

It appears that today’s modern commercialism has “crucified” the spirit and expectations of the coming of the Messiah into our hearts during the Advent season (Isaiah 9:6-7). This same verse of prophecy applies to all churches today. The celebration of Christmas (Christ-Mass) is an annual celebration for all believers to remember Christ and His redemptive work for sinful man.

Jesus is still returning to His birth place, in a spiritual sense, our hearts, when we prepare ourselves to meet Him in praise, thanks, spirit and in truth during Advent (John 4:23). Today it is more likely true that when Jesus returns to His people to be a part of His own birthday celebration He sees what is going on and cares not to enter into our hopes, joys, blessings and extend our prosperity, simply because we have rejected Him. But instead, He comes to us anyway, and looks into our hearts to see if we truly love Him. If not, He cries, just as He did years ago over His people. Jesus invites all to His birthday celebration. For God, the Father sent Him to be born of a virgin, become a man, who will create new men and women for the Father’s kingdom (2 Cor 5:17). But instead He finds the people celebrating a little fat man in a red suit, driving flying reindeer pulling a sled, which has enough gifts and toys for everybody in the world and at the same time delivers them all in less than six hours - between 12 midnight and 6 AM in the next morning. This beats the UPS and Federal Express delivery records. This makes this little fat man out to be omnipresent just like Jesus -everywhere at all times. Could it be the reason some Christians are choosing the little fat man in red over Jesus is because the fat man brings presents one can see, and then leaves, as opposed to Jesus’ spiritual gifts, such as joy, peace and eternal life, which you cannot see, but feel it and live it! And Jesus wishes to stay with us on His birthday. For some, Jesus’ stay will “crowd” their schedules.

Jesus cries over our cities (hearts) not because He is jealous of the little fat man in red, He cries because of the hopelessness and spiritual ignorance of the people He came to restore them to be like Himself. He gave Himself as a gift to the people as He died on the cross. For they had rejected the greatest gift man may ever receive. I sometimes wonder if our Lord feels His dying on the Cross for us was worth it all! (John 3:16). We don’t celebrate Him as we should. Come! Let us Adore Him!

Celebrating the Christ-mass is liken to the celebration of the Jewish Passover. It is to be done annually with the expectation of being set free from all bondage, which holds all men and women captive (Luke 4:18). This has all to do with Jesus’ command: “Do this in remembrance of Me”. We remember Christ when we celebrate Him (1 Cor 11:23-24). God required the Passover celebration which still goes on to date. Our Lord requires a similar celebration, “Do this in remembrance of Me.” Are we doing as good a job with the Christ-Mass, as the Jews are doing with the Passover?

And when He (Jesus) was come near, He beheld the city (our homes), and wept over it (Luke 19:41). How much will you make Jesus cry this Christ-Mass? O come let us adore Him, Jesus Christ, our Lord!