READ: Song of Solomon 2, John 9, James 3
The advent season affords us the opportunity to look back at the incarnation and tremble. There is something horrible about God becoming man. The soft lights and gentle music of Christmas alternate with the jolly and festive side of the holidays and lead us to excise the terror of God coming to tabernacle on earth. Missing the terror of Christmas we miss its deeper peace. God coming near is both wonderful and terrible: wonderful for it leads to our salvation and terrible for it leads to our judgment. Jesus Himself said, “For judgment I have come into this world” (John 9:39). Jesus came to earth to divide out sin and crush it. Christmas starts a war that ends with peace, but only to those of good will, to those under the prevailing blood. Jesus’ ongoing judgment (dividing out the evil from the good that He might destroy the evil and preserve the good) cleanses our hearts by particularly affecting our sight, words, and minds.
Jesus Judges Our Sight. John 9:41 warns us that if we think we see, we sin. It took a blind uneducated man with the spunk to stand up to the religious leaders of his day and to point out that for all their intelligence they were stupid. Increase in knowledge should lead to humility, and if it doesn’t, it is merely an increase of information. If we think we understand all things, we have been blinded by pride. The only one who clearly sees is the one who recognizes his limited knowledge and his great dependence on Jesus. To not recognize your limitations of understanding and your increasing need for the insight of the Spirit is to be double blind: you don’t know that you don’t know. That is the most tragic blindness of all and most often found in the intelligent.
Jesus Judges Our Tongue. James reminds us that we all stumble in many things (3:2). If we had any doubt about our frequent failings, our tongues remind us daily. James bluntly reminds us that even Christian tongues can be set on fire by hell, untamable, an unruly evil, and full of deadly poison (vv. 5-12). Jesus comes to judge our words. He wants to eradicate the envy and self-seeking that leads to boasting and lying (v. 14). We all boast or lie in little clever ways. It is this envious, self-seeking, insecure revelation of our hearts through speech that lead to confusion and every evil thing (v. 16). Jesus comes to this earth to put an end to the wicked words of man, including wicked words in redeemed mouths. If only we would give Jesus our tongues for Christmas, how happy He would be.
Jesus Judges Our Minds. There is an earthly, sensual, demonic form of wisdom (James 3:15). This twisted wisdom winds it way into our thinking and decisions, often without us realizing it. Jesus came to this world to destroy evil-wisdom and to replace it with what is pure, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy, without partiality or hypocrisy. This is His Christmas gift to us if we will open it.