By Pastor Sean Ward
The Apostolic Way
While sitting in the coffee room some months ago, looking over the stacks of newspapers which had accumulated throughout the week, a cloud of misery seemed to drift over me as I took in report after report of evil intent, broken hearts, and resulting injustices.
I was reminded of a similar time in the nation of Israel, where the prophet Isaiah stated that “judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street and equity cannot enter.” (Isa 59:14)
Then as sunlight pierces dark clouds, I recalled the promises that God gave during Israel’s darkest days. One of them is of particular interest to us in this season and is as follows:
“Therefore, the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isa 7:14)
Only one virgin has ever given birth and her name was Mary. She called her son Jesus and by virtue of the nature of His Father that dwelt in His flesh, He became, and still is, truly, God with us!
This December, while we are rejoicing Bethlehem’s King, it is important to reflect on the real purpose for this miraculous conception. It is impossible to know the true meaning of Christmas without knowing the true purpose of the cross because it was the entire reason for His birth.
An innocent man, Jesus took our every sin upon Himself at the cross and was executed as a common criminal. And at His lowest moment in life, He cried out, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
At no other time in history was forgiveness so powerfully demonstrated.
Jesus was buried in a tomb and rose again of His own power after three days. His resurrection was witnessed by more than 500 people and impacted the entire Roman Empire in less than 100 years.
Peter preached a message to the first-century church in Acts 2:38 that told them how to apply the good news to their lives, and it’s still relevant and changing lives today.
As Jesus took up His cross, so we must take up our crosses, trust Him with our whole heart and change our minds about sin, forgive one another and follow righteousness.
As Jesus was buried in the tomb, so we must be buried by baptism in water, where by faith we take His name into our lives and believe His blood washes away our sins. Then as Jesus was resurrected, so we will be resurrected when we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
When the first-century Christians received the Holy Spirit, they spoke in other tongues and produced good works that were witnessed by the masses and changed their world.
This is good news!
Jesus saves, He keeps and He satisfies, and He is still alive in Borderland in 2012 seeking all who will come to Him and be filled!