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Christmas Devotions Goodnews

JESUS, THE ULTIMATE COMBINATION CHAMPION!

Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj

K. L. Rahul, one of the stars of the recently concluded IPL has an explosive combination of “speed” and “style”. He bats in a classy style yet he scores so briskly. Arjen Robben’s 2014 World Cup Goal versus Spain for the Netherlands wedded two rare qualities that hardly come together: speed and skill (watch it on Youtube). But no one has the out-of-the-world unique combination of diametrically opposite characters which Jesus alone has. I call Jesus the “The Combination Champion”!

The Christmas season provides us with yet another occasion to proclaim, defend the uniqueness of Christ and present him as the Ultimate Combination Champion.

Jesus Is PURE as much as He is POWERFUL

While there are so-called god-men – many of who are hit by sex scandals – in our planet who claim to do miracles, only Jesus has this unique combination: he is pure as well as powerful.  

We live in an impure world. We hear of scandals every day. The Bible says every one of us have sinned. In the Old Testament the wise King Solomon his prayer this way: “When they sin against you…” (I Kings 8:46). Notice he did not say, “If they sin against you…” He takes it for granted that the human race – every one – sins. Apostle Paul declares in the New Testament, “all have sinned” (Rom. 3:23).

Only God-in-flesh Jesus is sinless while the rest of the human-race are sinners. The Christmas angel called Jesus, “the holy one” (Luke 1:35). John wrote this about Jesus: “There is no sin in him, and sin is not part of his program” (I John 3:5 MSG).

Jesus has done miracles for me. As a 20-year old student of B. Tech. Agricultural Engineering of Allahabad Agricultural Institute, I was admitted in a hospital for wheezing (in 1996). I prayed, “Jesus heal me of wheezing!” I have not had another wheezing attack till now (2020). Jesus healed me! My daughter was declared dead when she was in her mother’s womb after a medical scan. The doctor said that her dead cells will be evicted from wife’s body through a natural process. But we knelt down and prayed to the Lord Jesus. He did a miracle. He gave her life back. The next time we went for a scan, the scan report said that my daughter’s heart-beat was normal. Today, she is a normal 13-year old who give us all so much alloyed joy.

Even the miracles of Jesus have a stamp of uniqueness. While he multiplied bread for the hungry who came to hear him preach, he did not do the same when he was hungry after fasting for 40 straight days in the wilderness. His pure character of unselfishness was reflected in his power demonstration! Yes, no one has had this combination of “purity” and “power” like Jesus! No one has this combination of “flawlessness” in character as well as the “prowess” in miracle-working power like Jesus has!

Jesus is DIVINE, yet MINE

Surely there is a God! One thousand monkeys cannot produce a book if they randomly and furiously typed on one different computers. But a Shashi Tharoor or a Barack Obama could come-up with page-turning books with ease if you just gave them a mere week to write it! What is the lesson here? It is this: greater the design, the greater the designer! The breath-taking mountains, the beautiful flowers, the vivid valleys – all these point to the ultimate master designer. And that Master Designer is God.

Jesus is the only who with this rare, rocking combination: humanity and divinity. He is the only who is 100% human even as he is 100% God.

That fact that Jesus became thirsty, angry, excited – all pointed to the fact that he was human (as he was God). When I observe from my reading of the Gospel narratives that Jesus enjoyed his sleep amidst the splashing waves, it reminds me that Jesus was human (as he was God).  The fact that Jesus knew what was in a human (John 2:24-25), underlines his identity as God who by definition knows everything. When Jesus mouthed, “Before Abraham (who lived long before Jesus’ incarnation) was, I am”, he was claiming to be God, for God by definition has Eternal existence! When the resurrected Jesus accepted Thomas’ worship, he was claiming to be God who alone is worthy of our worship!

The details the Bible provides about Jesus’ birth tells us he has this out-of-the-world combination of divinity and humanity. Yes, Jesus is both divine and mine (part of my human tribe!). Paul wrote thus: “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law” (Galatians 4:4). Every human is born of a woman – even Jesus was. Every human is conceived post a sexual relationship between a man and a woman. But Jesus was not. Matthew narrates this about Jesus’ birth: “This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit” (Mathew 1:18). So, Jesus was as much God as he was Human!

Jesus travelled the last mile to show he was human when he chose to die on the Cross. Yet when he bowed his head and died (John 19:30) he showed he was God (as he got to choose the exact second he would die – something no human could).

As members of the human race, we look for a true friend. The Airtel Advertisement of yesteryears went this way: “Har ek friend, zaroori hota hai (every friend is important – Hindi)… chat room friend….koi classroom friend….shopping mall wala friend….shopping friend….koi exam hall wala friend….copying friend….movie buddy…groovy buddy…hi buddy…bye buddy….joke buddy…poke buddy…every body…sab body…ovvaru friendum theva machan (every kind of friend is needed, friend – Tamil).” To the friend-seeking generation Jesus who is 100% divine yet 100% human is the perfect friend: a friend who sticks closer than a brother (as the book of Proverbs presents Jesus as).

Jesus LOVED AND LASHED-OUT!

We live in a world without love. One tragic day, Devan Kalathat (an Indian living in the USA), shot his 34-year-old wife, their son, Akhil Dev, 11 years, daughter (just 4 years of age), his wife’s brother and his wife, and their 11 month baby girl. He did when they were all in the kitchen. The police later found served food on the dining table. Then Devan walked up the stairs of his duplex house and shot himself dead. He was so empty that he emptied bullets onto others and onto himself. ‘Silk’ Smitha, who was known in Kollywood and Tollywood for her erotic dance performances in movies, had a lot of fans. But the number of fans did not stop her from hanging herself from a fan! The emptiness of our loveless human existence is almost palpable.

The words and actions of Jesus comes as a healing-balm to our loveless world. He touched lepers during his earthly ministry, lepers who are shunted out of the residences they lived in, lepers who now lived in ear-marked colonies outside the city limits. When others would shout, ‘unclean, unclean’, at the sight of lepers, and run away, Jesus buried lepers onto his bosom in love! He demonstrated his love for us in this while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8, Paul’s words).

Yet the same Jesus also lashed-out. He preached: “Unless you repent, you too will perish” (Luke 13:1-5). Perish is the Bible-word for eternal hell – a place of ever on-going torment. “Stop sinning so that something worse doesn’t happen to you” – so said Jesus to a paralytic, whom he healed (John 5:14, GWT). When he spoke to a woman who was caught in adultery, Jesus said, “Neither do I throw stones at you (words of love), but leave your live of sin (words of lashing out).”

This Christmas will you use every opportunity you get to talk about Jesus, the Ultimate combination champion? For the rest of your life, will you commit to talking about Jesus’ uniqueness by talking about divergently opposite qualities he brought together like no one else?

(This article was published by Aim Magazine – Dec 2020 issue. Aim is published by the Evangelical Fellowship of India. The author of this article Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, G4 Mission. This is a reader-supported ministry. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org and http://www.dukewords.com).

Categories
Youth Bible Studies

POPULAR LIES WHICH YOU(TH) BELIEVE WHICH THE CHRISTMAS STORY BUSTS / Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj

Blue Beach Plain Collage Facebook Post

Young people tend to believe the lies of the Devil. I believe Jesus the truth is the answer for each of the Devil’s lies. Even in the narrative of Christ’s entrance into this world, there are truths come against the popular lies which young people believe in, thanks to the deceptive work of the Devil. I bust three such lies young people believe starting from portions of the much-read Christmas narratives.

Lie 1: “God can’t forgive my sin that is UNPRINTABLE”

Young people say (with Satan rousing them to do it), “My sin is unprintable. I cannot even mention the sins I have committed even to my best friend. Will God forgive me?”

I believe God’s Word to such youth comes from the Christmas Genealogy Passages. In that passage we meet some super notorious people who became the ancestors of  the ultimate Holy One, Jesus. It is as if Jesus was saying by such inclusion, “I came to this earth to seek and to save those kinds of people!” (See Luke 19:10).

There are three women whose sexual sins are of progressive darker shades in the genealogy of Jesus that Matthew recorded under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. One woman in that list was Uriah’s wife (Matt. 1:7). We are talking about the Bathsheba who perhaps did not utter one word of protest when the King of the Land called for adultery (She could have been the one among the thousand women who refused the advances of the King – See Eccl. 7:28)! I call her the silent adulterer. Another woman in that genealogy dressed up as a prostitute in disguise and went about seducing her own father in law in a desperate attempt to become a mom (Tamar) (Matt. 1:3). I call her the secret adulterer. Yet another woman in that list was a professional prostitute. Her name? Rahab the spy who helped the spies from Israel scouting the Promised Land (Matt. 1:5). I call her the shameless adulterer!!! By including these sin-colored folks in His own genealogy by moving Matthew to do through the Holy Spirit’s promptings, Jesus is saying to the youth of today, “You may have been sexually immoral. But I still love you. I came from heaven to seek and save you. That’s why I entered Mary’s womb during the first Christmas! And you must repent and come to me to receive a cleansing of your sin from the blood I shed just for you!”

The God of the Bible says, “Come now let us reason together. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow!” (Isa. 1:18). Would you come to Jesus now?

Lie 2: “Living a Holy Life is next to IMPOSSIBLE”

Young people tend to say (encouraged by the lies of the Devil), “I guess I will never be able to consistently beat the porn-watching temptation! I believe, I will never be able to quit smoking and drinking! Can I really get full freedom from the compulsive desire I have to gossip and use foul language?” Some young people confess: “I went forward when the preacher gave the altar call. I committed my life to Jesus. For two days I am fine. I say ‘no’ to sin. But in the third day, I yield to temptation. Now, I am worse than I was before I gave my life to Jesus! Is it really possible to be pure in this impure world that pulls you into sin?”

I believe, the message to such folks from the Bible Christmas narratives is this: “Nothing is impossible to God!” (Luke 1:37). What was told to Mary in response to her question, “How can I have a baby when I have not slept with a man?” is what would be told to youth who ask the question, “How I can life a holy life in an extremely sin-toxic world?” I believe that! Yes, living a holy life is difficult when you want to do that with your own strength. But with God’s strength, you can live holy! That is why the Bible talks about the grace of God empowering us to say no to ungodliness and world passions (see Titus 2:11-14). The Spirit of God, when we actively cooperate with Him, energizes us to “put to death” the “misdeeds of the body” (Rom. 8:13)! Joseph of Genesis 39 did just that – put to death the misdeeds of the body – by constantly celebrating the purity-enabling presence of God (Gen. 39:2-3,9-10). Shall we ape his celebration of God’s presence to tame temptation?

Lie 3: “Understanding God’s Will is INCOMPREHENSIBLE”

Young people complain (moved by the lying Devil): “I can’t ever figure out God’s Will for my life. What career should I choose? Medicine or Sports Broadcasting? Information Technology or Psychology? Whom should I get married to? I know I should marry a believer. But then there are many believers out there. How do I know which one of them to marry?”

I believe the Christmas narrative passages of the Bible have a solution to these questions. We see how God guided Joseph through dreams repeatedly in the Christmas story.

Five times we read of guiding dreams in the Christmas story (1. Matt. 1:20 – But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit; 2. Matt. 2:12 – And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route; 3. Matt. 2:13 – When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”; 4. Matt. 2:19 – After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt; 5. Matt. 2:22 – But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee).

All these passages tells us that God is not simply sitting in heaven, totally disinterested in our lives. He wants to get intricately involved in our lives. And He is more than willing to communicate with us, if only we are willing to listen to Him.

How do we receive God’s directions for our life.? Nicky Gumbel put it in five memorable steps: 1. Commanding Scripture. What does the Bible say about choices I am about to make? For example, if I am in love with an unbeliever, we will know from Commanding Scripture that is against God’s Will for us (2 Cor. 6:14; I Cor. 7:39)! In such a case we do NOT have to even pray for God’s Will. We just have to fall in line with God’s written word by breaking away from such relationships. 2. Controlling Spirit – We must spend seasons in supplication till God writes His will in our hearts. Even the all-knowing Jesus spent the entire night in prayer before he chose the Twelve (Luke 6:12-13). We too must spend time in God’s presence in an unhurried manner, till an ‘implanted Word’ (James 1:21) settles within us, directing us to a decision especially in cases where all options seem okay. 3. Common Sense – God is not against common sense. By ‘renewing your mind’ (not removing your mind), we can discover and execute His ‘good, perfect, pleasing’ will for us (Rom. 12:1-3). My decision to come to full-time ministry was not devoid of common-sense: It was getting too much for me to manage a fulltime job with a corporate company, manage a young family and travel during my leaves to preach in Christian meetings (that’s what I did in the year 2008). I had to give up either my job or my ministry. So, I decided to quit my log-in at 5:30 pm and log-out at 3:30 am job (where at times, I would doze off). Now, the Lord takes better care of me than my Corporate Company!!!! To be at the centre of His God’s Will is the happiest and most blessed place to be (even though there may be challenges and problems, there is great satisfaction)! 4. Counsel of Saints – The Bible teaches in Proverbs 15:22 this: ‘Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.’ Consulting with senior spiritual leaders who have known us all our lives will help us to confirm what God is saying to us in Steps one through three. I remember meeting with my Bible College professor, Dr. Ivan Satyavrata, who counselled me to choose Youth Ministry over Full Time Bible College teaching without ever forcing my choice. 4. Circumstances – At times, when we stubbornly head towards one direction in our life, oblivious to God’s Warnings, God may choose to do what it takes to stop us. That is what is happening in Hosea 2:6 where we read: “Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.” So, when we see a door getting shut, we must use our discernment to figure out if God was behind it all graciously blocking us from heading towards dangerous paths. A girl I was crazily in love with while I was in secular college wrote to me (while I was studying in Bible College), “I will not marry you. It will not happen even over my dead body!” That slammed shut door eventually opened my heart to Evan (my wife), for whom I cannot thank God enough. We pair up to work to grab the Google Generation from going to Gehenna (Hell) complementing each other. This would not have happened but for that rudely shut door!

So, young people, God will guide you, if only you take time to tune into what He is trying to say using these five steps!

Do not believe the lies of the Devil. Let the truths from the Christmas Narratives and the Christmas Babe bust those silly, senseless, unscriptural lies!!!!!

(Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of the Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission.  He has preached in over 20 Indian states, five countries and authored three books, with Straight Talk (on Sex, Love, Marriage) being his most well-known book now available in Amazon via Kindle. He lives in Hyderabad with his wife and two children. This article was first published by Evangelical Fellowship of India in their magazine, Aim (Dec 2018). Find out more about Duke’s reader supported ministry at www.dukev.org)