Last week, I wrote about how God gave the only perfect gift the world has ever known -- Jesus. Let's start unwrapping the gift. Jesus is such a big deal that people were talking about Him centuries before His conception.
For example, in Isaiah 9:6, there is a prophecy about His coming birth: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given. And the government will be upon His shoulder." Before you doze off, let me unveil how cool this verse is.
Hundreds of years before there was a virgin birth, this verse tells how unique He will be. The beginning (a child is born, a Son is given), is a proclamation of both the humanity and divinity of Jesus. While Mary gave birth to Him (a child is born), God gave His Son (a Son is given). Jesus is 100 percent man and 100 percent God. This verse is the first indicator of the dual citizenship of the coming Messiah. Clearly, this would be no ordinary child.
This child was to have authority because the "government will be upon His shoulder." Now if that meant our world systems, Jesus would get a terrible performance review. Our world governments are hot messes! No, the government this is referencing is God's government, aka, the kingdom of Heaven. Jesus was born in Roman-occupied Judea, which was arguably one of the worst political climates in history. But He did not speak of the Roman government or re-establishing Jewish rule. He spoke of His kingdom, the kingdom of Heaven. His kingdom operated on the one thing the world is still in desperate need of -- love of the Father.
What rests on Jesus's shoulder is the kingdom of Heaven, and the currency of that kingdom is love. The purpose of the gift was to bring love and establish the kingdom of Heaven on earth. How do I know that? It's in the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:10). "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven."
For centuries, Christians have believed the primary purpose of God's greatest gift to humanity was to get us into Heaven. But, according to the word of God, that's only part of it. Jesus didn't tell us to ask the Father to get us into Heaven, but to pray the kingdom of Heaven is established here on earth. Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful to gain heaven and miss hell, but "if the sole purpose of Jesus were to get us into Heaven, we would have been born there." (Jason Forby, SRCC)
He desires to put so much of the kingdom into you, that you infect this world with that kingdom's currency -- love.
Wow! Talk about a gift that keeps on giving! Way better than an Xbox, huh? And we haven't even taken the bow off! Next week, we will unwrap a little more. Until then, put away your credit cards and spend kingdom currency (love, love and more love). That's what the world needs for Christmas.
• CRIS CORZINE-MCCLOSKEY is director of Caring Counseling Ministries in Marion, which provides counseling from a Biblical perspective; (618) 997-2129.