A response to Then Came Jesus by Lara Williams :: Week 2, Day 2
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ ” Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.” When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way. (Matthew 2:1-12 NKJV)
“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’ ” (Revelation 3:14-22 NKJV)
Why was King Herod and all of Jerusalem troubled at the news of the birth of Jesus? Well, probably because they had some idea that He would upset their way of living; that their reliance on self and riches would no longer do… not that it really ever did.
So in Israel we see here a group of very cold people who want nothing to do with Christ. Sure they believed in God and, if they knew their religion, a coming Christ; however, they didn’t want to submit to Him. They didn’t want to rely on Him for salvation. Heck, they probably didn’t even want to admit they needed salvation. They didn’t want to admit that they weren’t just fine. They didn’t want to admit they were living a life of hypocrisy. We see they same attitude in the church of the Laodiceans.
In Then Came Jesus, Ms. Williams points out two types of hypocrisy: actions-based and motives-based (p. 26). Actions-based being when we say we believe one thing but behave in a controdictory manner. Motives-based being behaving in the “right” way but for the wrong reasons; wrong reasons being anything other than for the love of Jesus. Ms. Williams then asks her readers, “Do you see any hypocrisy in your own life?”
Scripture tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). It also warns us against living for the praise of man (John 12:43). If we are living either way then perhaps our faith is lukewarm, perhaps our faith is a bit hypocritical.
To be honest, I don’t want to answer Ms. Williams question. I don’t want to look for or see the hypocrisy in my own life. My initial thought, my knee-jerk reaction is to respond with “I’m just fine.” I don’t want to spend time praying about this and asking asking Jesus to reveal the dirty places of my heart. Do you feel the same way? I think that, dispite what we want (or don’t want), we need to pray!
Jesus, be a light of revelation to my heart. Even though I won’t like it, uncover the fithly hypocrisy that hides there. As I go about my day/week/month/year please show me where I am a hypocrite. Please reveal the actions-based and motives-based hypocrisy that I practice. Save me from being a hypocrite and a lukewarm Christian. In Your name I pray, amen.
Are you reading Then Came Jesus or another advent study? What is God revealing to you? Please let me know by leaving a comment. You can also find out more about Lara Williams and her book Then Came Jesus here.