Daily Reflections

Jim and I began a new devotional book this morning:  Through the Bible Through the Year by John Stott.

This first week is quite thought-provoking…as he looks at the different responses to the birth of Christ.  In his introduction to the week:

“…responses were varied, ranging from acceptance to rejection, from the Magi’s desire to worship Jesus to Herod’s determination to destroy him.  One might even say that the whole New Testament consists of responses to God’s mighty act in Jesus Christ.”

He writes about the visit of the Magi:

“The Magi seem to have been astrologer-priests from the ancient Persian Empire.  Their visit to Jesus is beautifully complementary to that of the shepherds.  The two groups could not have been more different from each other than they were.  Racially the shepherds were Jews, while the Magi were Gentiles.  Intellectually the shepherds were simple and untutored, while the Magi were scholars, wise men from the East.  Socially the shepherds belong to the world’s have-nots, whereas the Magi (judging from the expensive gifts they brought) were wealthy.

“Yet despite these barriers (racial, intellectual, and social), which normally separate people from one another, the Magi were united with the shepherds in their worship of the Lord Jesus, forerunners of millions of other Gentiles who have come to worship him.

“As pluralism spreads, it becomes increasingly evident that other religions are ethnic, limited to a particular people and culture, while only Christianity is not.  Nearly 80% of the world’s Christians today are non-white and non-Western.  Christianity is emphatically not a white man’s religion.  I have myself had the privilege of worshiping with African students on their campuses, with Inuit in the Arctic tundra, with thousands of Koreans in their mega-churches, and with South Americans with their Latin temperament and their Spanish guitars.

“This is the universal appeal of Jesus, irrespective of ethnicity.  It brought the shepherds from their fields and the Magi from the East.  It still acts like a magnet.  It attracts people of all cultures.  It is one of the most convincing evidences that Jesus is the Savior of the world.”

It is our great pleasure and privilege to serve Christ in Ukraine.  We pray that this new year will present all of us (including you!) with multiple opportunities to share the good news — whether it be in our adopted country of Ukraine or wherever you currently reside.

Join us along with the shepherds and Magi as we worship the King.

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