ODJ: Jesus changes everything

December 8, 2013 

READ: Luke 1:39-56 

He has brought down princes from their thrones and exalted the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away with empty hands (vv.52-53).

If Jesus hadn’t entered our world, two things would be true. Firstly, those with the most _________ win. (Fill in the blank with whatever you or your culture happen to value most.) In ancient times it was those with the most camels, wives or gold. Today it includes those with the most cash, toys or Facebook friends. Either way the goal is the same: get all you can while you can.

This competition to get ahead distracts us from the second, more obvious truth we would face without Jesus: in the end everybody loses. No matter how hard you try, you’re done when you die (Ecclesiastes 5:15). And if death were to be the end of our existence, then we might as well “feast and drink, for tomorrow we die!” (1 Corinthians 15:32). It’s actually worse than that; for if Jesus hadn’t come we would all be condemned to pay for our sins in the endless torment of hell (Hebrews 9:27-28). We would cry out for a death that would never come.

But Jesus has come and He didn’t go to the trouble of entering our world to offer warm handshakes all around. He didn’t slap us on the back and say, “Looks like you’ve got everything under control. Keep up the good work!” No, as Mary sang, her Son came to turn our world upside down. He “has brought down princes . . . and exalted the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away with empty hands” (Luke 1:51-53).

The rules have changed. Life is no longer about you collecting the most _________ before you die. Jesus tells us: “Turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it” (Matthew 16:24-25). — Mike Wittmer

Read 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 to learn how Jesus turns the power and wisdom of the world on its head. 
How has the fact that Jesus came affected your decisions and actions? What needs to change in the way you’ve allowed the culture to affect you?