The tax cut that changed everything
With all the talk of tax cuts and the ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas…’ and ‘I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas’ barrage, I had a moment of insight today. The airwaves are rife with talk of student loan debt confiscatory taxes, political intrigue, back door deals…and the beat goes on… and, in the midst of it all… Christmas. Think with me for a moment about the first Christmas
Joseph, an ordinary man, by most accounts no one special, has been dealing with the fact that there is a rumor of scandal surrounding his young bride. Enduring what must have been terrible gossip and off balance due to the fact that both he and his wife had been visited by the angel of the Lord and told that the Child Mary carried would be called Emmanuel—God With Us They were told that He would be the long awaited Messiah.
Anyone would understand that they must have been puzzled and perhaps even anxious about it all. Surely their part in God’s plan would be somehow made comfortable. But wait a minute, the government just mandated that Joseph take his teenage pregnant wife who was in her last stage of pregnancy, put her on a donkey and travel to his home town and be registered….SO THEY CAN TAX HIM EVEN MORE. This may be one of the first data mining schemes in history.
We forget sometimes that Joseph and Mary weren’t posing for a Currier and Ives Print. They weren’t taking selfies. It was an arduous, dangerous journey. While they were there the time came for the young woman to give birth.
No family…no friends…no Manheim Steamroller music…
Nothing but the sound of farm animals for the little family. They were truly living in taxing times, but this must have seemed to them too much even for the Romans to expect. But theirs was a heavenly perspective. The angel of the Lord had spoken to each of them, independently of each other, that this child was coming to pay the debt and to save us all from our sins. He was to be God in the flesh, and their part was to endure taxing times to see to it that He would be exactly where He should be, and this task began by getting this family to Bethlehem because it had been prophesied.
They raised the boy under the occupation of the Romans…They watched as God’s plan began to unfold. Joseph just dropped out of the picture; having done his part to advance God’s kingdom. His obituary would read Joseph of Nazareth, Carpenter. Mary would live to see her Son raise the dead and heal the sick. She would also have a mother’s worst nightmare, has she watched helplessly as her son died a tortuous death.
Above the Cross on which he was nailed, there was nailed His Sentence INRI This is Jesus the King of the Jews. It was considered treason for the Jews to have a King. Ironically the political leaders of the Jews rejected Jesus and taunted Him as He was dying.
I was struck by another headline the other day. Beneath the tax cut story was a picture of the U.S Ambassador to the United Nations. Ambassador Haley was defending the actions of President Trump in his announcement that the U.S recognizes that Jerusalem is the capital of the nation of Israel. Virtually the whole world voted to censure the United Sates. Iran, we now learn was given U.S. aid to develop a nuclear weapon the they have continually vowed to use on Israel.
Talk about taxing times!
Just before He gave up His spirit on the Cross. Jesus cried out, “IT IS FINISHED”. The Greek word used in the Scripture is Tetelestai…It means the debt has been paid in full. The real problem in our world is not political or economic…it is the fact that we are all of us sinners who need a savior. That savior is Jesus. Throughout the entire history of men on this planet there have been taxing times. The answer always was and always will be, that we can only be reconciled to a Holy God by having our debts forgiven, and our souls made fit for eternity through the sacrifice of the Son of God on the Cross.
From now on, when I see the initials IRS… instead of swallowing the usual lump in my throat…In my mind I will write over it INRI and remember that Jesus was born in taxing times died in taxing times and has promised to come back…only next time it will be as King of Kings and Lord of Lords
Halleluiah to The King! Christ Jesus is Born!