LUKE’S CHRISTMAS GOSPEL OF JESUS: A 30-Day Christmas-Time Devotional.
Our God of Great Contrast.
Luke 1: 50-51 (MsgB)
 “His mercy flows in wave after wave on those who are in awe before Him.  He bared His arm and showed His strength, scattered the bluffing braggarts.”
Luke’s Christmas story is so intriguing because it presents our God in such a way that we’re caused to marvel at this Supreme Being of great contrast.
On one hand, Luke paints a powerful story of an omnipotent, heavenly King, ushering in a whole new age of revelation on planet earth through the advent of His Messiah, Jesus. A powerful, world-shaking, life-altering act, indeed!
Yet, in performing this radical world-changing event, this same powerful God chooses to unleash this massive in-breaking of His Kingdom in an amazingly quiet and hidden way! Rather than birthing His Son, for example, through the rich blood lines of the important people of society, this God of great contrasts chooses to bring His Deliverer into our world by quietly touching the lives of two humble and hidden teenagers from the remote village of Nazareth.
Stark contrast, don’t you think?
Later on in Luke’s story, we see the announcement of this Messiah’s birth being sent first to the lowliest segment of society (shepherds) instead of ringing out this world-changing news to the rich and famous in Jerusalem. Now come on, God! What royal kingdom on earth would send out birth announcements in such a way?
So, in today’s text, we shouldn’t be surprised at all when we find Mary speaking of the amazing contrast found within God’s nature.
On one hand, Mary speaks of God as being a Lord of great judgment and power, stepping in on human events, scattering those whose pride and arrogance rule the day. As confirmed throughout the Bible, God’s ultimate judgments are severe on those who insist on tearing through life, ignoring both God and people, as they make everything be about them and their selfish little world. Eugene Peterson calls these prideful and self-centered egotists “bluffing braggarts.” Apparently, from what Mary says here, God has little time for such nonsense.
Yet, on the other hand, Mary speaks of our God as being a God of great mercy, sending wave after wave of His amazing grace, or unmerited favor, toward any and all who know their own need. It’s those who choose to humble themselves before God, kneeling, like Mary, in adoration before our awesomely powerful, yet amazingly merciful God, who receive wave after wave of His mercy throughout our lives.
Isn’t it wonderful to know that the Ruler of the Universe is not only strong and mighty, as we would expect, but that His heart and nature is one of great mercy, kindness and grace toward His creation?
Let’s ponder on this stark contrast today, as we draw near to Him in awe and wonder.
Oh, come, let us adore Him. Christ, the Lord.
My prayer: Thank You, Lord that You are powerful enough to overcome the bluffing braggarts of the world, yet You are also loving and tender in Your mercy toward those who humbly know their own need. May Your Spirit send wave after wave of mercy over us as we turn away from our prideful arrogance, humbly submitting ourselves to Your hand of grace. May I not only be a recipient of Your mercy today but may I also give it freely toward others. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: So, how do I generally position myself toward God? Do I come off more in life as a bluffing braggart, full of self, oozing prideful self-righteousness toward God and others? Or, am I more life Mary, who willingly humbled herself under the waves of God’s mercy, looking to be a follower of Jesus who gives mercy as freely toward others as the Lord gives toward me?
So what is God speaking to you today? Are you practicing the Kingdom presence of God?
We hope you’ll enjoy these 30 blogs that walk you through 30 days of Advent (Nov 26 – Dec 25). Here’s the homepage for the entire series.
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