“His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.” Revelation 19:12 (NIV)
When we examine Jesus’ life, we come to what has been called the “defining moment” in His life, simply the cross (David Mathis). But it should be apparent that if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, we would never hear about the cross. And why should we! Thousands of Jews were crucified, and their names remain unknown to us. But this humble carpenter’s birthday divides our calendar, for He returned from the grave to show that life doesn’t end at death. The resurrection of Jesus changed everything…forever!
The resurrection of Christ is the fundamental belief of Christianity, for if it is false, Christians are to be most pitied for believing in a hoax (1 Corinthians 15:12-19). But it is the “best-attested fact in human history” (Thomas Arnold of Rugby): Christ is the resurrection and the life (John 11:25). We can begin with Christ’s birth and draw a straight line through His life, death, resurrection, ascension and beyond. He is returning and we long for His triumphant return so that we may enjoy our eternal reign with Him.
The crown of kingship is what the message of Christmas points to:
“As a crown is the fitting symbol of authority, pre-eminence and distinction, the Lord Jesus Christ, once crowned with thorns and now crowned with glory and honor will then hold every crown of authority by right and title. He will have won every crown of pre-eminence and distinction that can ever be in heaven above or earth beneath. It will be our unspeakable joy to cast our crowns at His feet and to join with the angelic host in the coronation hymn” (Lewis S. Chafer).
The resurrection proves that Jesus is the Son of God (Romans 1:4), our sins are forgiven, (2 Corinthians 5:21), Jesus lives forever (Revelation 1:17-18), we will live forever (1 Corinthians 15:20-23), and all things will be made new (Revelation 21:1-4). We needed our God to come in the flesh, in order to die on the cross, so He could rise from the dead in anticipation of His return and reign with a crown on His head (Matthew 24:30-31; Revelation 14:14). This is the whole story of Christmas. Praise be to God!
The question for you is, “Who will I be after Advent?” Will I return to seeing Advent season as a special time of fellowship and celebration only to be compartmentalized until next year? Or will it be a catalyst for turning the meaning of Christmas into a permanent lifestyle and not simply a cheerful attitude reserved for December? The infant Jesus was recognized by the Wisemen as a King (Matthew 2). Will our witness and actions do likewise?
Prayer: O Lord of Lords and King of Kings, may our lives reflect your grace all year round and may one and all “Bring forth the royal diadem and crown Him Lord of all.”
In Jesus’ Name, amen.
submitted by Dr. Rich Menninger, retired Andrew B. Martin Professor of Religion