In Jesus’ day lepers were helpless, isolated, and hopeless. They faced shame, rejection, and ultimately death. Yet at the hand of Jesus they found cleansing and life. We, too, have a terminal disease far worse than leprosy called sin. Yet at the hand of Jesus we find cleansing and life through the Savior whose compassion on the cross knew no limit.
Matthew Levi’s dream job had become a nightmare. He had gotten rich, but at the expense of becoming an outcast from his own people. Worst of all, there was no way out. He was trapped in the snare his own hands had created. But into his world of merited misery came the unmerited love of Jesus Christ. The One who was born to die showed undeserved grace to a sinner in desperate need. Praise be to God, He continues to do so today!
As we move into the Advent season, we’ll look at Luke’s account of the heavenly host that appeared at Christ’s birth. The angel’s proclamation that the Messiah has been born presented the shepherds with the paradoxical picture of a conquering king who is a mere baby. This divine paradox of the victorious Christ, the Lamb of God, was first revealed partially in Genesis, and is finally revealed explicitly in Revelation, where Jesus is portrayed in all of His glory as the victorious Lion.
Refugees have a tough life. Driven from their homes by things like famine, persecution, and war, they face danger, deprivation, and despair. No one chooses to become a refugee, but our Lord Jesus willingly took on flesh, knowing that the very first stage of His earthly life would be lived as a refugee in Egypt. But it was all part of God’s grand plan of salvation. Jesus would become a refugee for us so that we might find our refuge in Him. He would shelter us through His blood so that we might help shelter others in His Name.
Theologian Charles Hodge teaches us that for an effective prayer life, we should have our minds focused and understand that prayer is a means of grace. He encourages us to build important fundamentals into our prayer life so that we might realize more of God’s power through prayer.
No amount of human ingenuity or effort can bring forth Reformation. Only God can bestow it by His grace as we appeal to His glory, mercy, and purposes. He shines His face upon us through the man at His right hand, the son of man whom He has raised up for Himself: the good Shepherd, the true Vine, the only Savior, Jesus Christ.
Christianity transforms not only our thinking and beliefs, but our lifestyle and actions. Once enough people in ancient Ephesus had become born again, the very fabric of the city began to change. Popular pagan industries began to falter, resulting in a backlash of tribulation against the Church. But God used even the tribulation for His glory. His reformation through the gospel of His Son is a glorious work that can never fail, and it is a work that He is still doing today.