Three Responses to Christ’s Coming
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” — Matthew 1:18
Our response to the coming of Jesus Christ will determine the direction of the course of our life, not only in this lifetime but for eternity as well. Many different characters are introduced to us in the first chapter of the New Testament. The shepherds, the wise men, Joseph, Mary, and Herod, name just a few. Their response to the first coming of Christ was as diverse as their backgrounds. The prophecies of the Old Testament concerning the appearance of a Messiah could have been easily forgotten because of hundreds of years of silence. But even in the silent times God is still at work! Like many rivers that run under the ground, and are not seen for a time, so is the work of God. Just as He came once, and paid a price for our sins, He has promised to come again, and redeem His pardoned people and receive His purchased church unto Himself.
How we respond to the promise of the promised return of Jesus Christ will have an impact on the course of our life and the level of commitment we have to God. Look at and learn from three different responses to Christ’s coming.
Joseph responded in Faith.
Joseph believed that Mary’s child was indeed conceived by the Holy Spirit. When the angel appeared unto him in a dream and announced this miraculous news, he accepted a very difficult assignment from the Lord. People were sure to doubt the reality of the privilege given him and Mary to raise and nurture the very Son of God. His response was one of faith and obedience, regardless of how incredible the task seemed. We have been told numerous times in the word of God that Jesus will come again, and most of us would not argue that point with our lips. However, our lips of agreement must be backed by a life of obedience to God. God’s providential plan for our lives can be forfeited if we refuse to obey His leadings. “When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). Will He meet you serving or sleeping?
Herod responded with Jealousy.
When news came that Jesus would be born, fulfilling the long-awaited prophecies concerning the Messiah, Herod felt threatened. He was worried that his throne would be taken over by this supposed king. Immediately after hearing the news, he commanded all children two years and under to be killed, hoping to murder the Son of God and prevent Him from taking the throne. Herod was right: Jesus was a king. In fact, Jesus still is a king! He’s the King of kings, and He rules in heaven and in earth. He is higher in authority than anyone in the kingdom of darkness, and He is sovereign in the kingdom of men. Yet this eternal King wants to rule on the throne in your heart more than in any other kingdom. Sadly though, many of us respond like Herod, refusing to give up the throne. Often people don’t properly respond to Christ because they don’t something in their life to be dethroned. Let’s enthrone Him this Christmas season!
The wise men responded by Seeking.
They discerned by the Scriptures the timing of the coming of Jesus Christ. They were seekers, and seekers always find God in His word. In Proverbs, Wisdom personified speaks this promise: “I love them that love me, and those that seek me early shall find me” (Proverbs 8:17). Diligent study led them to a discovery of the place where the Savior of the world would be born. We must follow their sterling example of seeking God in His word if we would find Him there. In each of the 66 books you will unveil Him if you seek Him. Once these wise men found what they were looking for, their seeking instantly turned to sacrifice. They offered Him expensive gifts as an expression of their worship and love to Him. Are you seeking Christ with your whole heart? Have you found Him yet? What sacrifice of worship has HE enjoyed after revealing Himself to you?