A Revolutionary Christmas

TEXT: (Luke 1:46-55)[1]

INTRODUCTION

Christmas has become heavily commercialized nowadays. But we learn from Mary’s Hymn of Praise that Christmas is revolutionary. The Kingdom of God has invaded the kindgoms of this world. The king has landed in the person of Jesus Christ to redeem and reclaim this world. And that entails a reversal of this world’s standards, priorities and values. Jesus Christ has come to stage a revolution. He has come to upset and overturn the way we see and judge things. He has come to set us free from our bondage to worldliness and sin.

I. SPIRITUAL REVOLUTION: “He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.” (1:51b)

In other words, he has destroyed the thinking of the proud. The proud are those who have put their confidence in themselves rather than in God. And this is true even in spiritual matters, especially in the matter of salvation. We find an example of this in Luke 18:9-14, where the Pharisee thanked God that he was not like other people: they were sinners, he was righteous. His confidence was in his spiritual achievements; he was proud of his self-righteousness and probably thought that he would be saved because he was so much better than others. The tax collector, on the other hand, could not even look up to heaven. All he could do was ask for mercy because he was a sinner. Yet the Lord Jesus says it was the latter who was justified, i.e., forgiven and saved!

So Christmas is about the spiritual revolution staged by God wherein he thwarts and confounds man’s pride in his self-righteousness, and instead exalts those who, being humbled for their sins, have put their faith in Christ alone (Phil. 3:9).

II. POLITICAL REVOLUTION: “He has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate.” (1:52)

Christmas is also about how God has revolutionized our understanding of greatness and power. We consider great those who wield great political power and who occupy high political positions. But the most powerful person of all, the King of kings and Lord of lords, was born in a lowly manger to an ordinary family, lived and worked as a lowly carpenter, became an itinerant preacher who did not even have a pillow whereon to lay his head, and died an ignominous death on a cross! (Phil. 2:5-11)

So in Luke 22:24-27 our Lord teaches us that true greatness is not about lording it over others but about serving others. And he himself is our example in that regard.

In Matt. 18:1-4 our Lord teaches us that the greatest in the kingdom of heaven is the one who humbles himself like a little child. And in Luke 9:48b our Lord says, “He who is least among all of you is the one who is great.”

And in Matt. 5:3, 5 we learn that it is to the poor in spirit that the kingdom of heaven belongs, and it is the meek who will inherit the earth. Not the proud and the great but the meek and the humble (cf., I Cor. 1: 26ff.)

III. ECONOMIC REVOLUTION: “He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent empty away.” (1:53)

Finally, Christmas is about God reversing the roles of the rich and the poor, just like what Abraham said to Dives in Luke 16:25. This is not to say that just because one is poor he is automatically saintly and holy and that if one is rich he must therefore be wicked and ungodly. Certainly it is not as simple as that. But the fact remains that riches can be a hindrance to spirituality and salvation. So says our Lord in Luke 18:24-25. Note that in this incident in our Lord’s life the rich young ruler went away spiritually empty precisely because he could not let go of his wealth. Actually what the Lord was asking from him was his heart, but the rich young ruler could not give it to him because his heart was in his riches (Luke 12:34).

So riches can pose a danger to our spiritual lives. In Mark 4:18 we learn that the deceitfulness of riches can choke the Word of God in our hearts and make it unfruitful. And in I Tim. 6:10 the Holy Spirit warns us that “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”

But in opposition to this craving for riches Christmas is about God filling the hungry with good things. In other words, Christmas teaches us that God will surely provide for all our needs. In fact, he has provided for us a Savior who meets our greatest need – the need for salvation. And if he could give us his only Son, the greatest gift of all, surely he will give us everything else (cf., Rom. 8:32). That’s why we should not put our confidence in riches, nor should we crave wealth. And above all we should not worry about material possessions. Instead we should hunger and thirst after righteousness and then we shall certainly be filled and satisfied (Matt. 5:6). Or as Matt. 6:33 puts it, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.”

CONCLUSION:

To recap: Christmas is a revolutionary event. It is about God reversing the values of this world through the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1. Christmas is a spiritual revolution. God thwarts the self-righteousness of the proud and instead saves and exalts humble sinners who have placed their trust in Christ’s righteousness alone.

2. Christmas is a political revolution. The truly great are not those who wield worldly power and occupy high positions but those who humbly serve just like the Lord Jesus Christ.

3. Christmas is an economic revolution where the roles of the rich and the poor are reversed. Those who trust in their wealth will be sent away spiritually empty, but those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will not only be provided for materially, but also filled and satisfied spiritually.

Lord, help us to see Christmas for the revolution that it is. Help us in our personal lives to revolt against the values of this world. Instead of being proud and self-righteous help us to be humble and penitent. Instead of seeking greatness for ourselves help us to humbly serve, just like our Lord. And instead of craving for riches, help us to hunger and thirst after righteousness. In Jesus’ name, amen.

[1] Outline inspired by William Barclay’s Commentary.

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