Christ in Greek society

The coming of Christ turned the world upside down. As the fourth-century Christian bishop and writer Athanasius (296 – 373AD) points out, the impact of Christ upon early Greek society showed clearly that this was no ordinary person.


Athanasius 2

“When did people begin to abandon the worship of idols, unless it were since the very Word of God came among men?

When have oracles ceased and become void of meaning, among the Greeks and everywhere, except since the Savior has revealed Himself on earth?

When did those whom the poets call gods and heroes begin to be adjudged as mere mortals, except when the Lord took the spoils of death and preserved incorruptible the body He had taken, raising it from among the dead?

Or when did the deceitfulness and madness of demons fall under contempt, save when the Word, the Power of God, the Master of all these as well, condescended on account of the weakness of mankind and appeared on earth?

When did the practice and theory of magic begin to be spurned under foot, if not at the manifestation of the Divine Word to men?

In a word, when did the wisdom of the Greeks become foolish, save when the true Wisdom of God revealed Himself on earth? In old times the whole world and every place in it was led astray by the worship of idols, and men thought the idols were the only gods that were. But now all over the world men are forsaking the fear of idols and taking refuge with Christ; and by worshipping Him as God they come through Him to know the Father also, Whom formerly they did not know.”


From The Incarnation of the Word of God by Athanasius of Alexandria (296 – 373AD). Available at <http://www.ccel.org/ccel/athanasius/incarnation.ix.html>

 

Christ our Mediator

A photo by Sujan Sundareswaran. unsplash.com/photos/TBQXwj3DEOY

 

Who is a Mediator?

A mediator is one who stands between two aggrieved parties. He works to reconcile them and establish peace.

 

Why do we need a mediator? Why can’t we just relate with God directly?

Well, the scriptures reveal that relating with God directly is actually the state in which God made us. After man was created, and the woman formed, God related directly with them.

There was no need for a mediator then because there was no rift between them. Humanity was exactly the way God had made them. Our first parents’ disobedience, however, disrupted this harmony. Humanity became estranged from their Maker[1]. And for this relationship to be restored, someone had to step in. According to scripture, this Person, Jesus Christ, is no other than God taking on human nature.

 

And how does Christ fulfil this task?

He does so by occupying 3 different but important roles. He acts as a Prophet, a Priest, and a King. The Westminster Shorter Catechism[2], a very popular teaching manual, highlights what each role involves. And we follow its basic outline below.

 

Christ our Prophet

As Prophet, Jesus reveals to us by his word and his spirit the will of God for our salvation. Like the Old Testament prophets who lived before him, Jesus communicates what God desires from humanity. This role is indicated in bible passages like Luke 4:18-19, 21; John 15:26-27;  Acts 1:1-2,8;   Hebrews 2:3; 1 Peter 1:11

 

Christ our Priest

As Priest, Jesus offered himself to God as a sacrifice in order to satisfy divine justice and reconcile us to God, and he continues to intercede for believers before God. Through his death, Christ fulfilled what the Old Testament sacrifices pointed to. He became the ‘Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29). Other passages which speak of this aspect of Christ’s work include Isaiah 53:1-12; Acts 8:32-35; Romans 5:10-11; Hebrews 9:26-28; and Hebrews 10:12.

 

Christ our King

Jesus is not only our prophet and priest; he is also our king. He stands as the fulfilment of the great defenders of God’s people in earlier ages such as King David. And what does he do as a king? He makes us his willing subjects, he rules and defends us, and he restrains and conquers his and our enemies. So under him, believers are safe for they know he will defend and protect them from any harm. We find this role in passages like Psalm 2:6-9; Matthew 28:18-20;   John 17:2; and Colossians 1:13.

God’s plan tends toward re-establishing the kind of relationship which existed between God and humanity at the beginning. Just as humanity fellowshipped with God in the garden, God will dwell with us forever in a renewed universe (John 14:23; Revelation 22:3-5). And Christ’s role as mediator will be concluded after the resurrection when he submits his kingdom to God the Father. As Paul wrote,

 

“Then comes the end, when he [Christ] delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:24-28).

Through the work of Christ as Mediator, therefore, God restores the harmony which existed between Him and humanity. Praise be to God for His wisdom and grace!


[1] The account of humanity’s fall into sin is found in the third chapter of the book of Genesis

[2] You can find this document online at http://www.ccel.org

‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus

Rock by the sea

Faith in Christ is an anchor for the soul. To rest on Christ for salvation, through trials, and for promises, is a privilege beyond words. May we receive grace to wholly trust in Him.


  1. ’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
    Just to take Him at His Word;
    Just to rest upon His promise,
    And to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”

 Refrain:
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

  1. Oh, how sweet to trust in Jesus,
    Just to trust His cleansing blood;
    And in simple faith to plunge me
    ’Neath the healing, cleansing flood!
  1. Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
    Just from sin and self to cease;
    Just from Jesus simply taking
    Life and rest, and joy and peace.
  1. I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
    Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
    And I know that Thou art with me,
    Wilt be with me to the end.

 Louisa M.R. Stead

Christ, Race, and Gender

When we lose our root in God and deny our obligation to Him, we turn our differences into our identity, rather than our joint likeness to God. The black man glories in his Black-ness, the white man boasts in his white skin. The gentleman boasts of his masculinity, and the lady takes pride in her feminine attributes. Instead of deriving our significance from the truth that we are humans created in God’s image and likeness, we find it in our colour or our gender. And then we oppose those who are different from us. Proceeding from the same Creator, our distinctions should spur collaboration and cooperation. However, we turn them into platforms for hate and strife.

We should recall the words of the 7th century Jewish prophet, Jeremiah:

Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,

Let not the mighty man glory in his might,

Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;

But let him who glories glory in this,

That he understands and knows Me,

That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.

For in these I delight,” says the Lord.

(Jer. 9:23-24)

Our identity lies in the God who made us and redeemed us.