Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | December 29, 2014

December 29, 2014 “Ruler Or Rival?”

“And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” (Luke 1:33)

“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”              (Luke 11:23)

Good Morning Dear Friends!

Just above me, atop our television cabinet, we have displayed one of our many Nativity sets that we have collected over the years. When we first acquired it, one important piece was missing…there was no Baby Jesus! The central figure of the entire scene was nowhere to be found! My creative wife soon remedied this dilemma by creating a very suitable “baby” for Mary to hold and for shepherds, kings, and all creatures great and small to behold. I am so blessed to have such a creative bride. I am a bit of a sentimentalist, and a Nativity without Christ is truly not a Nativity at all.

But there is something else I thought about as I gazed up at that scene this morning. Sentimentality gives way to stark reality when you consider the implications of there being no Jesus in the scene. No Jesus means no Christmas celebration…no Easter…no Pentecost…no eternal life…no life at all! The apostle John said it well…”“In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” Certainly Jesus was born and present in that first Nativity. He is, as Gabriel announced to Mary…“great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”

Jesus is more than a sentimental necessity to complete a Nativity scene. Canadian author John G. Stackhouse said it like this:

“The babe in the manger is far more than an object for sentimental sighs. He is the Son of God who must be accepted as ruler – or confronted as rival.”  

He is Lord, and must be acknowledged as such, or, as Stackhouse said, “confronted as rival.” Gabriel announced his Lordship to Mary. Jesus himself made it clear when he said “Whoever is not with me is against me”. It’s ok to gaze in awe and wonder at the Babe in the manger…God incarnate. But make no mistake…he did not remain an infant. He “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” (Luke 2:52) He is your ruler, or he is your rival. Which is He in your life? Let’s pray!

Lord God, awesome in power and glory; I kneel before You today, for You are my Lord and my God. You are my Savior and Sovereign. Praise be Your Holy Name forever. Amen!

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