This is the concluding part of the season for glad tidings in which people are thanking God for mercies received by way of benefitting the less privileged people in the society. The annunciation and advent of our Lord Jesus Christ continue to constitute glad tidings because HE came to redeem mankind from sin and death. In Isaiah 7:14 and in Micah 5: 2 Christ’s birth had earlier been prophesied by the Prophets. The birth of Christ was given to us as 25th of December of every year. It gives all christians cause for joy. The date we hold on to had created controversies in christendom.What influenced the choice of December 25th and not any date in October should be left to theologians and ecclesiastical unending debate. the good thing is that Jesus was born in a manger and the three wise men by divine wisdom got guided by the star on the horizon to where Jesus was in a manger. While searching for the place, they contacted King Herod, who from human angle they thought could be of help in locating the place.
In spite of all controversies surrounding ‘date’, it is heart-warming that all christians agreed it was a period of good tidings. Most christian denominations do celebrate the birth of Christ with pump and extravagance. Invariably, the spiritual significance gets overshadowed by commercial consideration. in effect some sect placed greater recognition on Easter. In simplifying the trend, those who celebrate birth of Christ preferred to favor the reality of God choosing to manifest in human in human with a view to carrying out his mission on earth because fellowshipping with God failed in Adam. One would therefore surmise that His coming calls for celebration though in solemn mood. The protagonists of higher valued Easter argued that without Christ’s passion, death and resurrection salvation might not have ben possible. Jesus who came as a propitiating Lamb of God deserves double praise not just for his coming but loving mankind to the point of dying for mortals who are ever so prone to sinning. John 3: 16-17
In all, one can look at both Christmas and Easter seasons as a divine veritable two sides of the same coin. The purpose of HIS coming is summarized in Isaiah 61: 1-3. At birth there is ecstasy and joy but death is associated with sorrow for losing loved one. However, all that Jesus went through to achieve salvation for mankind required special perpetual spiritual joy and not physicFrom Human angle, it is disrespectful not to honor a preponderant visitor in the caliber of our Lord Jesus who is God incarnate. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” Hebrew 13: 8
Be blindfolded and miss the coming glory of God
One has to get an in-depth meaning of what Jesus was teaching his listeners in the parable of talents. It is possible to start insinuating on why the master did not give equal talents to the servants. One shouldn’t apportion blame to whoever gives in accordance with his will or what point the owner was trying to prove based on the relational knowledge of the master concerning each of the three servants Matthew 25: 14-30. In verse 15, we see that the master knew their personal abilities and gave “investable fund” to each of them accordingly : “And to one he gave five talents, another two, and to another one; to each according to his ability; and immediately he went on a journey”. By the post distribution action, it is clear God does not peep over the shoulders of His children while expressing their free will. Man was made in the image of God and equipped him with the knowledge of good and bad, all things being equal.
From human angle, it is part of sound management criteria for promotion. Can the candidate work without supervision? Is he always pouting? How well is he able to manage resources? Can he combine efficiency with effectiveness for the best result? We see that the servant with one talent showed the negative side of anger, even though, to be angry is natural. The difference lies in whether the angered person’s reaction is positive or otherwise. The trigger for his anger included laziness, covetousness and many more. In verse 24 the servant gave account of his stewardship thus “I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not sown seed”. Verse 25 goes further, “And I am afraid and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Look there you have what is yours”. He was angry for not giving him as much as the others but then he failed to trade with the little as others did. To further analyse why he did vent his anger, he might have gotten unresolved anger against his boss for favoring the servant given five talents. In the end he lost the reward and commendation the others got as a result of the negative effect of his anger.
Manifestation of “Fig Tree Syndrome” is discernible in anyone with an attitude of let people see me doing while the action amounts to nothing. When men of substance are gathered together you find such empty persons positioning themselves to be photographed along with them. Such people then turn round to claim closeness to the powers-that-be. They use the circumstance to massage their ego or use such to extort money from those who needed their help Matthew 16: 16-20. Peter by divine prompting recognized Jesus as the Christ. He gained eternal prize unlike any one who just spoke for speaking sake.
While Ahimaz son of Zadok did not worth being sent to deliver the crucial message, Cushite qualified to run the errand and delivered the it with wisdom and integrity that really matched the King’s intellect, II Samuel 18: 31-33. In John 13: 21-30 Jesus by divine intelligence discerned the role Judas was going to play in Jesus’ betrayal and crucifixion in the hands of the High Priest and the Jewish leaders. Judas apparently qualified to be the financial controller for Jesus and His disciples (Good News Inc.). He betrayed the Executive Chairman of the Corporation – A fig tree syndrome – and failed woefully in the ministry.
A believer needs to test and sift array of friends with prayers before choosing those to trust whole-heartedly and thereby avoid deep relationship with those that chase shadow instead of substance.
Simon was his name before Jesus Christ re-named him Peter (meaning Cephas or Stone). He was a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee. He wasn’t a city dweller neither was he as educated as the Pharisees or did ever belong to the Priestly lineage. No doubt he was a Jew and was expecting the prophesied Messiah. Matthew 4:18-20; Mark 1:16-18; John 1:35-41 The moment his brother Andrew introduced him to Jesus, he caught the intense fire of divine love for God, the Son and the Holy Spirit. He was bold to the extent that what others cannot say he would boldly say it. He was able to identify Jesus as the Son of God. He belonged to the inner circle of Jesus’ disciples. Jesus was the spiritual leader or Rabbi, Peter was the undisputed human leader of the disciples. He had periods of showing the human angle in his life as a disciple. For instance, while walking on the sea fear gripped him and forgot that he was under the anointing of Jesus but quickly asked for the master’s help.
At another time, he became belligerent and drew his sword in defense of Jesus when the High Priest asked soldiers to go and arrest him at the beginning of the passion of Christ. Jesus prevailed on him. Faced with the trial of Jesus he denied him. Immediately he realised that he has been untrue to his savior, he wept bitterly to atone for his failure. No wonder he emerged the leader of the first Church of Christ. In conclusion, divine love dictated his boldness to accept leadership of the fledging church in spite of severe persecution. Matt 26: 69-120; Mark 14: 66-72; Luke 22: 54-62. Peter possessed divine love that most human being do not have.
In Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son, we learnt about the immeasurable love of father to his son. What makes the love stand out as unique and inimitable is the way the prodigal second son depleted his father’s prosperity while still alive. Rather than investing it for higher returns to his investment, he squandered it all. By the way, only dead person’s property is subject to being inherited. For the father to release part of his wealth is always in the sense of drawing up the will to prevent dying intestate. By implication, the father has limitless resources. On the part of the love the son had for the father, it was just the riches or a non-divine love of the father for who he was.
Let us substitute the “certain man” being the father of the two sons with the Almighty God and see how we have been enjoying His benefits without genuine love for our benefactor. Taking back the lost and found son is God’s act of forgiveness once we show evidence of a broken and contrite heart. In other words, a sinner must show a sense of remorse. However sinful we are, HE (God) is ready to accept us just as we are. Luke 15: 11 – 32.
Life of Apostle Paul gave us an insight into how God extends his love to cover even the wicked ones. Paul, as Saul, had one sterling quality of intense dedication to duty. Man sees only the face but God sees the heart or that which is intrinsic and can always tap on man’s hidden resources to edify HIS holy name. In his fervor at rounding up Jesus’ disciples for imprisonment. Paul received High Priest’s mandate to hunt down Jesus’ disciples with their so-called “new doctrine”. It was on his way to Damascus that he met the risen Christ who commissioned him – Saul – (later Paul) and literally enlisted him as soldier in the gospel army. Acts 9: 1-16
Through thick and thin, pain and pang, along with trial and tribulation, his tenacious faith in Christ Jesus saw him through all the fall out arising from his missionary journeys among Jews and gentiles. He expectantly rose to the rank of “five-star general” meaning, he ran the gospel race to win the crown of glory.
A deserter in any national Armed Forces that are justly defending the territorial integrity of his country is anti-Paul the Apostle. A quitter in any tough assignment is apparently a total failure, God has a sacred duty to bless us but it is our duty to use our talent responsibly to his honor and glory. Apostle Paul really did.