December 16, 2018
It comes as a surprise to many people that the New Testament affirms Jesus Christ not only as Savior, but also as Judge. For example, in Matthew 25, where we find Jesus distinguishing between the ‘sheep’ and the ‘goats’ on the basis of how we have treated ‘the least of these’ in our midst, He is very clear that He is the one who will be doing the separating. It is the Son of Man (meaning Jesus) who, when He comes in glory, will sit upon the throne and send some to His right and some to His left, some to a blessed inheritance and some to fire of judgment, some to eternal life and some to eternal punishment. We don’t take kindly to this idea. We would rather have Jesus as the One who saves, not as the One who judges. And yet that is exactly how He is described in the Bible. Acts 10:42 gives Jesus the responsibility for judging the living and the dead. Acts 17:31 says that “God has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the man He has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising Him from the dead.” Paul echoes the same theme when he warns of “the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ” (Romans 2:16).
When we worship the Child who was born in Bethlehem, it’s important that we see Him not only as God’s rescue mission to a weary, sin-laden world, but also as God’s chosen means of judgment. If we are to sing “Hallelujah” with the angels at His coming, we must also be prepared to bow down before Him in reverence and awe. Jesus, the “shoot… from the stump of Jesse” will judge “with righteousness”. Are we ready for that?