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Celebrating Jesus as Judge

December 24, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

When someone says to you, “Jesus will be your Judge.” what kind of image does it bring to mind?

I think the answer can depend on your religious background. If you grew up in a more legalistic environment, you probably see God pointing his finger down at you and pronouncing condemnation in one way or another. On the other hand, if you had a grace-filled home, you may see Him pardoning you. I think that if all you see is one of these two options then you are missing something deeper.

Before I get to the more profound meaning in Jesus being our Judge I first want to point out that while everyone knows and can quote John 3:16 rarely do they continue on to verse 17 which says, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
This truth that God does not want to condemn anyone is reiterated again in John 5:24 when Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”
If you are part of the group that sees Jesus as a finger-pointing, vindictive judge then I pray that you will read the rest of this post with an open mind and heart because what He has to offer us is so much better.

I think I have said this before but I want to say it again. “I love the Old Testament!”

I do. I love finding Old Testament principles and patterns that point to and are fulfilled by Jesus. It makes the Word come alive and gives me a hunger for more. A few weeks ago I found a pattern that I have been thinking about ever since, not sure how to convey it to people. I feel this attempt to do so will be wholly inadequate but I pray that God uses my weakness to speak life into your heart.

In the Old Testament, there is what I call the pattern or principle of the Judges. Here is how it works:

Judges 2:10-19
“After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals. They forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They provoked the LORD to anger because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. In his anger against Israel the LORD handed them over to raiders who plundered them. He sold them to their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist. Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the LORD was against them to defeat them, just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress.

Then the LORD raised up judges, who saved them out of the hands of these raiders. Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them. Unlike their fathers, they quickly turned from the way in which their fathers had walked, the way of obedience to the LORD’s commands. Whenever the LORD raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for the LORD had compassion on them as they groaned under those who oppressed and afflicted them. But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their fathers, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.”

This passage perfectly explains the idea but you can find this pattern related in the narrative time and time again.
Here is what God said to me as I read this:

“Doug, I have what I call the pattern of the Judges. Whenever my people distance themselves from me I do what is necessary to get them back. Sometimes that means letting them become captive and oppressed by their enemies and mine. But I wait and watch for the moment when they turn to me and cry out for help. When they do, I rescue them. I raise up a judge and I work through that person to bring them back to safety and prosperity. I had to do this time and time again because as soon as my judge died, my people would forget me again and worship other gods. I am faithful even whey they are not so again I wait and rescue them when they cry out to me.

Doug, understand this. I don’t have to raise up another to rescue my people because the pattern of the Judges has been fulfilled. Two Thousand years ago I raised up the last and perfect Judge. A Judge that will free my people from every type of bondage imaginable. This Judge will live for eternity so my people never have to fall back into wickedness and rebellion. He will forever stand as a sign of the patience, mercy, grace and love I have for my sons and daughters. He is the answer to all the cries for help and freedom.
Jesus is your Judge.”

All of this was spoken to my heart in a fraction of a second like only God can do and it only becomes more amazing as I write it down.

Today is December 24th or Christmas Eve. That means that tomorrow we celebrate the Birth of our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ. It is my hope and prayer that as we do so, this truth becomes part of the conversation. That Joy fills out hearts as it sinks in and God begins to expand our understanding of the significance of having Jesus be our Judge.

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