The Wake-Up Herald
And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof. Romans 13:11-14
Robert McCurry, Editor & Publisher
November 22, 2010
Christmas and the Controversial Jesus
by Robert McCurry
What emotions surround Christmas! Christmas cards call out to us, “Happy Holidays!” and “Best wishes for the Festive Season!” Cards sent from Christians express similar sentiments: “Peace on earth!” “Merry Christmas!” “Joy to the World!”
A ‘little baby Jesus’ born in Bethlehem two thousand years ago is purported to be ‘the reason for the Christmas season.’ Don’t be fooled by the pictures of ‘baby Jesus.’ A tiny baby in a manger or in his mother’s arms seems no threat to anyone. Everyone loves a baby. But this ‘little baby’ is not just a ‘little baby.’ This ‘little baby’ is the sovereign, holy, Jehovah God with us! “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against” (Luke 2:34). From the beginning this Jesus is controversial.
It was prophesied that the Lord Jesus would be controversial--that He would be rejected of men (Ps 22; Isa 53).
His birth produced controversy and hatred (Matt 2:8, 13, 16).
He came to His own, and they received Him not (John 1:11).
His ministry so angered the people in His home town of Nazareth that they sought to kill Him (Luke 4:18-30).
He preached a sermon that called for unreserved discipleship and commitment to Christ that offended and caused 5000 men to forsake Him saying, “This is a hard saying, who can hear it?” (John 6:60).
He caused division among the people (John 7:43).
His ministry caused division in the synagogue (John 9).
He cleansed the temple by taking a whip and driving out those who had defiled the temple with their sin (Matt 21:12; John 2:14-16).
He called King Herod a fox (Luke 13:32).
He was accused of being in league with Satan (Mark 3:22).
He was accused of being demon possessed (John 7:20; 8:48).
He was accused of blasphemy (Matt 9:3).
He was hated (John 15:18, 24, 25).
He was misunderstood, unpopular, and rejected by the majority (John 6:66).
The religionists sought to stone Him and eventually killed Him (John 8:59; 10:31; Mark 12:1-12).
Christ said He came to bring “division” and to “send a sword.” Not that the ultimate and final purpose of His coming is to stir up strife and cause conflict, but that when the Gospel is preached to a sinful, pseudo-religious world the first reaction is one of strife and conflict with the opposing sinful world. This opposition often disrupts even the most intimate family ties (Luke 12:49-53; Matt 10:34-36).
Why the Lord Jesus Christ is Controversial
First, the Lord Jesus is controversial because of who He is. Jesus Christ is God! Jesus Christ is Lord! Jesus Christ is King! Jesus Christ is sovereign!
It is who He is that caused all the controversy. It was “King Jesus” that Herod sought to destroy. He was accused of blasphemy because He forgave sin. It was when Christ said “I AM”--which declared He was God--that the people would have stoned Him (Matt 2:13; Mk 2:7; John 8:58, 59).
It has been two thousand years since the Lord Jesus lived on this earth, but people have not changed. Because the Lord Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever, the controversy concerning Him continues to rage to this very day.
Second, the Lord Jesus Christ is controversial because of what He is.
He is the light of the world. But sinful men love darkness because their deeds are evil. Therefore, they hate the Light (John 8:12; 3:19, 20).
He is the way, the truth, and the life and no man can come to the Father but by Christ. This makes Christianity restricted and exclusive.
Third, the Lord Jesus Christ is controversial because of the message He preached. His message was repentance. He began His ministry by preaching repentance. And “repent” was the Lord’s last message to five out of seven churches in Asia (Rev 2 and 3).
The Lord Jesus Christ was also a preacher of judgment. He pronounced judgment on His own generation (Matt 12:41, 42). He pronounced judgment on the Pharisees (Matt 23), and He pronounced judgment on Jerusalem (Matt 24). And what of Capernaum, the place our Lord made His home when He began His public ministry? In it was fulfilled the prophecy: “The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death is light sprung up (Matt 4:16).
But Capernaum rejected the Light. They repented not and our Lord declared that it would “be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment” than for the city where He lived (Matt 11:23, 24).
A message of judgment is never popular and seldom believed, but it is a message that needs to be recovered today.
It is evident that today’s popular ‘Jesus’ and the Lord Jesus Christ of the Bible are not one and the same. Todays popular ‘Jesus’ is ‘another Jesus’ that the Apostle Paul warned about in Second Corinthians 11:3, 4. Therefore, since the Christ of the Scriptures is the only true Christ--then every other ‘Jesus’ is a false Christ and antichrist.
Proclaiming the Controversial Jesus
Those who preach the true Jesus and the message He preached will be as controversial, misunderstood, despised, and rejected as was the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
Search the Scriptures and the pages of history and see how many of the Lord’s preachers were understood or accepted in the age in which they preached. They have always been misunderstood and unappreciated by the majority and accused of being narrow-minded, critical, negative, dogmatic, overbearing, harsh, and controversial.
Preaching repentance is the loneliest and most thankless business in the world. Joseph Parker said, “The man whose sermon is ‘Repent’ sets himself against this age and will for the time being be battered mercilessly by the age whose morals he challenges. There is but one end for such a man--‘off with his head.’ You had better not preach repentance until you have pledged your head to heaven.”
Although the ‘day’ of Christ’s birth is unknown, His birth is an irrefutable biblical truth and historical fact. “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim 1:15). And Jesus promised: “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).
Let those who know Christ as personal Lord and Savior exclaim, “O LORD, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth” (Isa 25:1). Christ is altogether lovely! He is the Rose of Sharon! He is the Lily of the Valley! He is the Bright and Morning Star! His name is Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, and The Prince of Peace.
Let us adore and worship the ever living Christ 365 days of the year!
Wake-up, Pastors! Wake-up, Christians!
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The Wake-Up Herald is published by Robert McCurry. The publication is designed to exalt the true God of the Bible, the Lord Jesus Christ, and inform, inspire, and challenge its readers regarding biblical truth and real-life issues. The contents are the sole responsibility of Robert McCurry and do not represent or speak for or on behalf of any other person or group. There is no subscription charge. The publication is a ministry of faith dependent on the contributions of its readers. Contributions are not tax-deductible. Send all correspondence to: Robert McCurry,605 Moore Rd, Newnan, GA 30263 or firstname.lastname@example.org Remove? Send reply with “remove” in Subject line.