Simply Jesus – A Christmas Reminder

13 Dec 2016

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Dear Friends,

Some of you will know that I have borrowed this title from the outstanding New Testament scholar N.T. Wright. In his wonderful book about Jesus he constantly reflects on Jesus as he opened the gospels with questions around ‘real life’. He comments on our potential perceptions of Jesus as follows:

“We want a ‘religious leader’, not a king! We want someone to save our souls, not rule our world! Or, if we want a king, someone to take care of our world, what we want is someone to implement the policies we already embrace, just as Jesus’s contemporaries did.” (Simply Jesus 2011 – Harper Collins)

Wright describes the coming of Jesus as a hurricane or storm into the midst of both the ancient Jewish and Roman worlds. “This is where the hurricane of divine love met the cold might of the empire and the overheated aspiration of Israel.” I love his language – God with us reflected as the wind of God. God once and for all, intervening into the affairs of history to assert His Sovereign loving imprimatur on the world. God ensuing that predominant cultural world views are significantly disturbed as He takes the stage to capture the heart and minds of men and women.

As we reflect upon the global events of 2016, there is undoubtedly some significant winds of change in politics, economics, international affairs, climate, migration and secularisation (to name a few). In more recent years, I cannot recall a time in history where so much change and potential turbulence seems to buffet our internal security and stability. Perhaps it is instant access from an incessant digital script that preoccupies our thoughts and minds – so much negativity, despair and a lack of hope.

I believe as humans, we are created in the image of God. I believe there is a God designed space that occupies our spirit, that transforms us from the inside out, to be agents of change and fresh hope. If I didn’t wholeheartedly and firmly believe this with conviction – I would abandon the cause immediately for self introspection, thereby living a life of despondency and despair.

Enter Jesus – the Messiah, the Hope of the World, the Alpha and Omega – the Wind of God, reflected in the Spirit (breath) of God. I can think of no other time in my lifetime where it compels us to Glorify God by lifting up Jesus as both the answer and example. He is not only worthy of our allegiance, but worthy of our adoration. He is also the only wind that will bring lives, communities and nations to change.  Come oh Jesus and breath your life afresh over our nation and world!

This Christmas may you utter the Word ever so gently as you contemplate your existence as the King of the Universe beckons.

O come, Let us worship and bow down, 
Let us kneel before Yahweh our Maker! 
For he is our God, 
And we are the people of his pasture, 
And the sheep of his hand (Ps 95:7)

Dr Andrew Ball
Executive Ministry Director