Greetings in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Praying for you, your family, your community, and the rest of the world. Right now, the whole world is suffering because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Let’s pray together to God, Our Ever-Loving Father, His mercy and protection on all, and God’s healing on those who are infected by the COVID-19. We all believe God’s grace and love rest on all who look upon Him every moment with faith in Him.
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. (2 Peter 3:8)
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. After His creation, God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good! Then God created Adam and Eve, placed them in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. One day, they heard Satan’s voice and followed their sinful desire against God. After sinning against God, they hid from God when God called them. They realized that they could not enjoy the blessed relationship with God due to their sin. They tasted the power of sin and avoided the light while attracted to the darkness.
So they no longer fit to live in the Garden, and God sent them out from the Garden to the world where we live now. Before sending them out, God, full of mercy and grace, gave them protection by making clothing from animal skins to live in this world. Then God gave them His solemn promise to restore the brokenness of human beings by declaring,
“And I will cause hostility between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring.
He will strike your head,
and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
God prophesized a battle between two offsprings – the woman’s and the serpent’s. The serpent’s offspring would severely hurt the woman’s offspring by striking the heel of the woman’s offspring, but the woman’s offspring would utterly destroy the serpent’s offspring by hitting the head of the serpent’s offspring. The serpent’s offspring is Satan, and the woman’s offspring is Jesus Christ, the Savior, the Messiah, and the LORD.
In other words, although Satan won by deceiving Adam and Eve, the first man and the first woman, Satan’s victory would not remain forever. Jesus Christ would come and destroy the power of the sin that Satan used to deceive and cause the first man and the first woman to sin. It was God’s solemn promise, and God fulfilled His promise. God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to this world 2,000 years ago, born in Bethlehem as a human baby on Christmas day.
It was a truly dynamic time in human history. Caesar Augustus became the first emperor and reigned the entire Roman Empire that covered as far as Egypt, northern Spain, and large parts of central Europe. On the other hand, in the land of Judea, Herod the Great consolidated the power and became the king. Although he was under the Roman Empire’s ruling, he projected his power to the people in Judea. He built the 2nd Temple in Jerusalem using his strong power. Caesar Augustus and Herod the Great truly believed that they ruled their kingdoms – the Roman Empire and the Judean nation. However, God sent His own Son, Jesus Christ, to establish God’s eternal kingdom through His mercy, grace, and love by forgiving all sins and transgressions of all, not just the people living at the time of Jesus Christ’s birth in Judea, but all which includes us too.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
The birth of Jesus Christ proclaimed God’s eternal salvation to all on Christmas day, which is the true meaning of Christmas. God indeed gave the best gift ever to each of us; whoever believes in Jesus Christ as one’s Savior will receive eternal life without being perished by sins of each. It is the Good News to all, given by God according to His goodness, mercy, grace, and love.
On Christmas day, Jesus Christ, the Savior, the Messiah, and the LORD, was born in a stable. He was laid in a manger after His birth. Then He lived His humble life as a son of a poor carpenter, Joseph. Jesus Christ experienced every aspect of our human lives, including pains, joys, sorrows, and all of the other human emotions. Jesus Christ was not like a silver-spooned prince who was isolated from reality by being protected in the palace, but Jesus Christ was always there with all ordinary people while experiencing all things happening in our lives – our pains, sorrows, joys, heartbreaks. Jesus Christ, Our Savior, is truly capable of sympathizing with us.
However, most people did not know who Jesus Christ was, but God revealed Jesus’ true identities to some. There was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,
“Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace,
as you have promised.
I have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared for all people.
He is a light to reveal God to the nations,
and he is the glory of your people Israel!” (Luke 2:29-32)
Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about Him. Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose Him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”
It was not all. Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.
When Jesus grew up to be ready for His ministry on earth, Satan came back to Him to tempt Jesus as Satan did to Adam and Eve. Satan tempted three times, but Jesus won over the three temptations with the power of God’s Word. Satan defeated and left Jesus until the next opportunity came. After all, Jesus was completely different from the first man and the first woman who were easily tempted at first sight of what they wanted to have, and they gave in to their own desire to have what they wanted, which was the beginning of sin in us. We are still experiencing the same temptation that Adam and Eve experienced and gave in. Thus, as temptation comes, we sin by falling into it. Who can dear to say, “I am different and immune to temptations”? It is why we need our Savior who can rescue us from the sinful nature of easily falling into our temptations and sinning.
Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? (Romans 7:24)
As Jesus started His ministry on earth, He called twelve disciples and traveled many places with them to preach God’s Word and to heal people. Many were not only physically healed but also spiritually healed by Jesus. Jesus especially loved to reach out to the poor in heart with His mercy and compassion. Jesus did His ministry on earth with His twelve disciples for three years, and at the third year’s Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to His Father as He would complete His ministry on earth. And Jesus had loved His disciples to the very end.
What was the goal of Jesus’ ministry on earth? It was to fulfill God’s promise that was given to Adam and Eve – destroying the power of sin and restoring the perfect beauty of the original creation of God as God said, “It was good.”
However, fulfilling God’s promise was not cheap but truly costly.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Roman 6:23)
Why? Because the wages of sin is death. Precisely speaking, to forgive our sins, somebody had to pay the wages of our sin, which is death. In other words, somebody has to die for our sins. Wait. There is one more requirement that the person has to be sinless. If not, a person’s death is useless because the person died for the person’s sin, not for others.
Can we find a single person without sin? No. None is without sin. Only is Jesus Christ sinless. Jesus Christ, who has no sin, dies for our sins. Through His death, our sins are forgiven because the wages of our sins are paid full. Yes, Jesus Christ is the lamb of God for all, who took away sins from us and died for our sins on the cross.
Indeed, Jesus voluntarily gave up Himself to Romans to fulfill God’s promise, and He did it willingly and even joyfully while looking forward to seeing our eternal salvation. Although Jesus Christ had no sin at all, He was crucified, bled, and died — not for His own sin, but for our sins.
Jesus Christ was tortured, whipped, and crucified, but He was silent like sheep before its shearers. Jesus instead endured the cross, scorning its shame because of the joy awaiting Him by looking forward to seeing our salvation through His sacrifice on the cross. Jesus finally proclaimed on the cross, “It is finished.” It was the moment that God’s salvation plan was completed as promised to Adam and Eve. However, the sky was dark, and the earth quaked because it was a truly painful moment for God who sacrificed His own Son to forgive our sins. To us, it was the most blessed time that we received God’s eternal salvation.
When Jesus had tasted it, He said, “It is finished!” Then He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. (John 19:30)
At the instance, the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The barrier between God and us was no longer, and the broken relationship between God and us was restored. Since then, we can come to God without fear. At the moment, the earth shook, rocks split apart. The Roman officer and his soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said,
“This man truly was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:45b)
It was the confession of the one who witnessed countlessly many deaths on crosses as his soldiers crucified the condemned people. The Roman Officer had never seen one like Jesus who did not curse nor shout in pain, but He loved all, including him and his soldiers who pierced Him by nailing Him on a cross and silently endured. Indeed, the excruciating pains were because of our sins, and Jesus Christ took all pains and agonies silently to forgive our sins and mend the broken relationship with God. Jesus Christ then restored God’s original creation for us to live in His Kingdom forever.
Satan struck Jesus by nailing Him on a cross and made Him die as prophesized. However, it was not the true victory to Satan. The victorious moment of Satan became the perpetual defeat of Satan. The original curse of death from the sin caused by Satan’s temptation was utterly destroyed by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross because Jesus Christ paid all – the wages of sins of all of us. In turn, Satan’s victory on the cross became eternal defeat of Satan. Because of Satan’s victory on the cross by crucifying Jesus Christ, Our Savior, all of us are released from the wages of sin — death.
What a wisdom of God! God opened up our eternal salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. Therefore, whoever believes this Good News and accepts Jesus Christ as one’s own Savior receives God’s most precious gift of all – eternal life by being His eternal children. We, His eternal children, will live forever with God in His kingdom to come.
We are in the age of grace. Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world and extended His mercy and grace to whoever will receive Him as Lord and Savior. God’s offer of forgiveness and a new eternal life still stands. But this period of grace will not go on indefinitely and someday it will be too late for men and women to repent and turn to the Lord Jesus Christ as He comes back again to judge the world as the King of kings and the Lord of lords.
Yes, God’s grace is infinite, and his compassionate love is fathomless. God’s mercy always trumps all our sins as long as we come to God and confess our sins in the name of Jesus Christ, who is our Savior, our Messiah, and our Lord. It is why we can always have hope in Him no matter what we have done in our lives. Again and again, we can come back to God although we are shameful before Him, and His wide-open arm never fails as we come back to Him. It is God’s love, and it was undoubtedly demonstrated on the cross. However, we also remember that the time of grace of God offering His salvation will end as the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Here is what Jesus said in a parable:
“Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
“At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’
“All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’
“But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’
“But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’
“But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’
“So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.” (Matthew 25:1-13)
We are praying for God’s grace, mercy, and love on each of you from now and forever. Like the wise bridesmaids, let’s be always ready for the second coming of Jesus Christ, who will restore everything to the original creation. There will be no more pain, sorrow, crying, death because the first creation is gone.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” (Revelation 21:4)
It is also true that there will be someone who denies this truth. Please beware of those people. Peter, one of Jesus’ twelve disciples, already said that
Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.” (2 Peter 3:3-4)
We are not like those who deny the truth. We all are eagerly waiting for the second coming of Jesus Christ. May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you, God’s holy people, and God’s eternal children in the rest of 2021 and 2022, the newly dawning year that God will bless richly all His children throughout the world.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (Revelation 21:1-2)