"From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer."
-2 Cor 5:16
I want to tread lightly this time of year. Christians have liberty to do what they will about days and seasons. I only object when people require it of others or when it becomes a form of false humility or trying to please God in the flesh (Col 2). But there are two other issues which raise their heads this time of year.
The first is the issue of the resurrection. I have covered this repeatedly and suffice it to say, the resurrection of the Lord is EVERYTHING. That is, every freedom. forgiveness, hope, calling, blessing is linked to that glorious event. Since I've been there before, I'll move on to the other issue.
This time of year we see a lot of movies about the life of Christ. I'll refrain concerning whether we should be depicting Christ in an image of our creation and concentrate on the error of focusing our eyes on the earthly Christ. The so-called "red letter Christians" make this paramount in their theology (although, as we have noted, they really don't read ALL the red letters). But should they or we?
Let's look at just some of what the earthly Christ said:
"I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
"It is not fitting to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs [Gentiles]."
"Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not..."
His ministry on earth was to Israel, through whom God had promised the whole world would be blessed. She has earthly promises. She will have a kingdom and serve as priests for the nations (Ex 19; Zech 8; Heb 8; etc.). Paul teaches us in Romans that he came "to confirm the promises made to the fathers [of Israel]" (15:8). He took upon himself the sins of the whole world. But in the resurrection, his earthly ministry was complete. Israel looks to her glorified King and we look to a glorified Savior.
The precious Son of God is to be understood as the one in heavenly places today. He was seen in visions by Ezekiel and John. This is who we worship!
"And there came a voice from above the expanse over their heads. When they stood still, they let down their wings.And above the expanse over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire;[g] and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance. And upward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were gleaming metal, like the appearance of fire enclosed all around. And downward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around him. Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain [rainbow], so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face..."
"In the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters."
"At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald."
"Then I saw another mighty [messenger] coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire. He had a little scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land, and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded."
This is the Lord we serve. This is the resurrected Lord, returned to his full glory as setting it aside to become a man [Phil 2] for our sakes. We now know him no longer after the flesh. We need to see him with clear eyes. He was in his full glory in Ezekiel and he is returned to his full glory today.
"I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed."
He is now the glorified, risen Lord. Let us worship him as our Great God and Savior as we look for his glorious appearing!!
"Renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works."