This post was originally published December 22, 2017 on Christ Chapel Bible Church -Ology Blog.
Scripture: 1 Peter 3:15
“… but in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.”1 Peter 3:15
“Christ” (Christos) in Greek means “the anointed one” or “chosen one.” In Hebrew it is translated “Messiah” (Mashiach). In addition, “Christ” is not a name, but a title. “Jesus Christ” renders Jesus the chosen one/anointed one.
1 Peter 3:15 is not typically considered a Christmas verse per se. We find it in the context of suffering for Christ and leading up to Peter’s apologetic (apologia) for our faith in Jesus Christ. However, I think we can view this short passage through the lens of preparation for the incarnation of our Savior-King and Lord.
A few nights ago my daughter (6 years old) was frightened and could not fall asleep. She was scared and I know what that feels like. So, I joined her in her fear to validate her feelings and try to help her find a way out. I started talking about Jesus and His protection in times when I’ve been scared.
The conversation went something like this:
Me: Did you know that the Bible calls Jesus “the Lion of Judah”?
Me: He is. Jesus is like a mighty lion. Nobody messes with a lion, right?
Me: We are His children and He protects us like a lion. Did you know that Jesus has other nicknames?
Lilly: Yes, mommy plays a song called “The Lion And The Lamb.” What are His other nicknames?
Me: Yes, Jesus is also the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords!”
Suddenly, fear left the room, the tears subsided and she began to relax and even smile a little.
We began to softly sing together the “King of kings, Lord of lords” portion of the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s “Messiah.” It wasn’t pretty. However, I think I could hear the faint toe tap from the throne room of heaven. Lilly peacefully wandered off to sleep under the blanket of God’s protection with a mighty chorus echoing in her heart. My heart was full. We had set apart Christ as Lord in our hearts and fear fled the invading forces of peace.
The ancient prophet Isaiah said “A light has dawned…” (Isa. 9:2), I’m convinced he was seeing the incarnation, the coming Lord. “A child is born… a son is given”. Above all, we needed more than a child, we needed the Son. Only one son would do — a Savior. The Christ! From the annals of time, we hear the chorus, “King of kings, Lord of lords” like peals of thunder rolling through history.
In all matters of life, we should set apart Jesus Christ as Lord.
Our heart is our essence as moral creatures, as image-bearers and the seat of our will. It begins in our hearts. But, what does that look like at Christmastime?
When we set apart Christ in our hearts as Lord we are acknowledging His majesty and holiness. We are bending our knee and heart toward Him as a flower bends toward the sun. We are yielded to His lordship, His splendor and captivated by His power, beauty and love.
Christmas celebrated rightly with Christ set apart as Lord in our hearts should be a mighty procession that occurs every year. We wait and watch for its arrival. When Christmas arrives, we celebrate like no one else on earth. The rest of the world is in darkness, yet the light has in fact dawned. It is the perfect time to share the gospel of peace and invite others to come out of the darkness and join in the chorus acknowledging “Christ is the King of kings, Lord of lords!”
“Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere …”2 Cor. 2:14
The procession has arrived. Have you set apart Christ as Lord in your heart? Have you made room for the Christ?
Finally, in Revelation 22, Jesus Christ says repeatedly, “I am coming soon.” He says, “Surely, I am coming soon” (Rev. 22:20). He did come, He is here and He will come again! Christmas is a time to reflect, a time to wonder and celebrate the magnificent Savior.