Jesus Christ Is “The Way” of Peace and Good Will
December 11, 2020Christmas, God's presence, Salvation
During this season we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. This is clearly the happiest time of the year for most people of all faith persuasions. Despite some misgivings over time and the way we celebrate, it is important to recognize nearly the whole world joins in on this time. Together, we share in rejoicing over God’s expression of peace and good will unto all people. Jesus Christ is “The Way” of peace and goodwill, but how do we experience it in our own lives?
The birth and life of Jesus helps us focus on the most important truth: God is a forgiver. He forgives all who turn to Him in this life and in the next. (a) [see endnotes for Scriptures] This is a wonderful truth in itself, and yet there is an even deeper purpose for his life. God invites us to personally know Him during this natural life and to interact with His insightful presence, as Jesus did. (c)
Creation of the Man Jesus
When God spoke, His word – the expression of His will – came into this world to live as a son of man. Jesus illustrated God’s greater purpose for each of us. (b) The human beginning of the man Jesus was in the womb of Mary. Here is where the processes of conception and the formation of a baby took place. Following his birth, the boy, Jesus grew and developed as a child of God and of man. From childhood, Jesus “kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” (d)
Think about it: Jesus “grew” in wisdom and favor “with” God. He realized early in life that the Spirit of God was real and spent time communing with his heavenly Father. His early interaction with the presence of God enhanced his ability to understand, so his perceptions and expressions conveyed wisdom beyond his age. As a result of his intimate fellowship with God, at the young age of 12, his insight amazed the elders of that day. (e)
A deposit of God’s Spirit gives life to every person. (f) While each person is obviously a child of man, we are also offspring of our heavenly Father. (g) While the conception of Jesus was a bit different, he was formed in the womb of a mother, and grew and developed as a natural and spiritual person. More than you may realize, Jesus was just like us, a child of God and of man.
Jesus was just like us, a child of God and of man.
Offspring of God
This insight probably raises the question, “how much like us”? Many today assume Jesus ‘knew’ everything, as God knows the end from the beginning. This overlooks the fact that he ‘grew’ in understanding and wisdom. Jesus is recorded to have prayed often to his eternal heavenly Father, seeking guidance from the One who knows all. (h) He even prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” (i)
Scripture even tells us Jesus was tempted in all things as a man. (j) While God cannot be tempted, (k) Jesus was, so he could have erred. Even after his anointing by the Spirit of God, he was tempted to act independent of Him. (l) His fellowship with God enabled him to cope with the issues of the day. More than we want to admit, the man Jesus was just like us.
Paul told the gathering in Athens; “We are all offspring of God.” (m) The Spirit of God gives every person life; we call this, ‘the spirit of life’. When the spirit leaves our body, our life in this natural body ceases. We are all God’s offspring, even when we do not know or act like it. Our status as offspring is not dependent on our choices but our choices contribute to the quality of our life.
Yes, we often live as a Prodigal Son: offspring doing our own thing. (n) When we turn to God, we receive “the right to be taught and trained as children,” who willingly submit to our Father’s guidance. (o) More than offspring, we become: “Those who are ‘led’ by the Spirit of God ‘are’ children of God.” (p) This is God’s desire for us: to seek and follow His guidance as children.
God desires us to seek and follow His guidance as children.
Children of “The Way”
Jesus lived as the clearest example of what God created us to be: unique “images and likenesses” of our heavenly Father. (q) His life as a man demonstrated what a maturing “image and likeness” (Hebrew – reflection and resemblance) of our heavenly Father looks like. As a mirror reflects the image it is viewing, we ‘reflect’ the God we focus on. (r) Additionally, as a child resembles the character, attitude, and personality (CAP) of a parent, we ‘resemble’ the God we observe and worship.
The life of Jesus visually illustrated the heart of God–His CAP. When Jesus was baptized and anointed for ministry, God called him “My beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.” (s) Jesus became “the first-born among many brethren” (the chief and foremost son) of all who follow his lead and closely interact with God! (t)
Our salvation includes an intimate interaction with God. The ‘way of salvation’ was commonly referenced in the book of Acts as “The Way.” (u) Salvation is more than a one-time conversion event or a future reality. The first century believers learned to respond to the presence of God-in-Christ, to live and walk in the ways of God. They experienced; “God with us,” just as we can.
Our salvation includes an intimate interaction with God.
Living As Jesus Did
The babe we celebrate today grew, developed and demonstrated how we can be in close fellowship with God. Jesus even said that we are to be in this world as he was; “That where I am, there you may be also.” (v) Jesus, as a son, showed us the (CAP) of God and confirmed God’s desire for you and me when he said; “I am the way, the truth and the life.” (w) Hebrew linguists verify this verse can easily translate to simply: “I am the truthful way to live.”
How do you and I best experience God’s peace and good will? With all Jesus taught, he brought a simplification to “The Way” when he said; “I repeat what I hear my Father say, and do what I sense my Father is doing.” (x) We want to learn how to agree with God’s way of life.
What is the greater purpose of the babe we celebrate? Jesus lived to illustrate how each of us, yes absolutely everyone, can experience the same intimate fellowship with God-in-Christ. Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace.” (y)
Our personal fellowship with God is the foundation for experiencing true peace–day by day. More than ever, during this season, may each of us be more attuned to our heavenly Father’s guidance and His insightful presence with us! With God’s help, let’s follow His lead in the various circumstances of life, as Jesus did!
Our personal fellowship with God is the foundation for experiencing true peace–day by day.
a) 1 John 2:2; John 6:51; b) John 1:1-4; 8:13; Romans 8:14; 9:15-16; c) Jeremiah 9:24; John 17:3; d) Luke 2:52; e) Luke 2:41-47; f) Ecclesiastes 12:7; Job 32:8; 33:4; Proverbs 20:27; g) Acts 17:22-29; h) Luke 5:16; i) Matthew 26:39; j) Hebrews 4:15; k) James 1:13; l) Luke 4:1-13; m) Acts 17:29; n) Luke 15:1-24; o) John 1:12; p) Romans 8:14; q) Genesis 1:26; r) 2 Corinthians 3:18, 1 Corinthians 13:12 ; s) Matthew 3:16-17; t) Romans 8:29; u) Acts 16:17; 9:2; 18:25, 26; 22:4; 24:14, 22; v) John 14:4; w) John 14:5-6; x) John 5:19; y) John 16:33