"This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel ..."
I was talking to someone the other day who told me he believed all religions are essentially one. Faith is faith, regardless of whether it is of the Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, or New Age variety, he said. In fact, everyone creates their own personal recipe for faith, he added, and all are equally nourishing.
If you think the same way, Jesus' words will offend you. Jesus bluntly states that his coming will slice the world in two. Simeon predicted the same (Luke 2:34-35). Jesus represents the fork in the road when it comes to your personal spiritual journey. Jesus is both a stone on which people will stumble and fall (Isaiah 8:14), and he will be the cornerstone on which believers will rise as building blocks into a spiritual temple (1 Peter 2:4-6).
How can Jesus be such a crucial marker on the road of religion? Simply because Jesus is God incarnate. And his Christmas identity forms the foundation for his future claims. Later in his ministry he bluntly states: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).
So much for thinking that all religious roads lead to God. Jesus' challenge draws a line in the sands of spirituality. What do you think of Jesus? What will you do with his claim upon your life?
Christmas demands an answer.
Lord Jesus, help us lay aside religious speculations and embrace you as the divine truth. Build us up on your firm foundation, teaching us to trust in you always. Amen.
See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!