The word “behold” is defined as “to see or observe a person or thing, especially a remarkable or impressive one”. To behold something, we look closely at in such a way that we admire its features and soak in every aspect.
“Behold your King” is a phrase that has been in my mind for several weeks now. While lights twinkle in my living room around a wooden nativity scene, it isn’t hard to think of my King.
“And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. For unto you is born this day, in the City of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and laying in a manger.” Luke 2:10-12 (emphasis added)
Mary gives birth to a baby boy destined to save the world. After days of traveling on foot in her last trimester of pregnancy, in the low light of a barn, she beholds the face of her newborn son. Suddenly nothing else matters. I imagine her taking in every feature of his new face: his nose, his lips, his brow. His smooth skin and tiny hands; ten fingers and ten toes because surely, she checked. Mary is a mother through unexpected and supernatural circumstances. We have made this Christmas scene easy to watch, the reality is it was uncomfortable and unconventional in every way, as would mark the life of Jesus.
Thirty years later Mary would behold her son another time, only this moment invoking grief instead of joy.
“When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!” John 19:26 (emphasis added)
This time Mary would not be caressing the smooth skin of her son’s face or comforting his newborn cry. This moment, He is marred beyond recognition, bloody and near death, charged with blasphemy and sentenced to the most gruesome death the government could have chosen. As Pilate presents Jesus to the Jewish crowd, there is another beholding, crowned with thorns and mocked in a purple robe, He beckons the crowds to look intently at Him shouting, “Behold your King!”
Jesus calls to his mother so she can look closely at him. How could she look? My mind can’t grasp this moment.
Today we can look at our King Jesus as both new baby and a grown man.
As good news of great joy and One who suffered greatly for our sins.
As a gift and as a sacrifice.
As grace from God and as God’s perfect justice.
As the Newborn King and as the Risen King.
May we behold as Mary did all those years ago. Let us behold the baby, sweet and innocent, humble and gentle. Also, beholding the King, the Lamb of God, who suffered and stood trial, and was crucified so we could be in relationship with Him, and stand before Him without stain and unblemished. His desire is for all people to behold Him, to accept His free gift of salvation and come to Him. There will be a day that Jesus will come again, and in that day, all will behold him. And all will recognize Him as King. These words “Behold your King” cling to my heart. My home is heaven, with my gaze intently admiring my King. Dear friend, I pray this Christmas season you will behold your king and accept all He has done, and the gift He has given. It is already yours, He is just waiting for you to accept it.
Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for the gift of Jesus. In your perfect timing and only under your providence Jesus was born. The circumstances were not unexpected to you. God you knew that we could not make our way back to you without Jesus. I pray for salvation for those who don’t know. I pray hearts would not only focus on the birth of your son but on the harder part to look at- his death and resurrection. Thank you for the best gift we could ask for. When we don’t have gifts or words fit for a king, you bring us near anyway. We love you, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Merry Christmas from all of us at Deeper Still!
Praying this New Year brings you much joy and gladness! May the love of Jesus Christ fill you this season!