Christmas series #3 Have You received your Gift?
The majority of the Jews in Jesus’ day did not recognize or receive Him as God. John 1:11 says, “He came unto His own and His own received Him not.”
They knew they were descendents of Abraham and as such enjoyed a special covenant relationship with God. Because they tried to live by the Laws of God, they did not see any need of a Saviour.
As Israel’s concern back in the days of the Prophet Samuel was for a king, so now Israel was longing for a political Messiah who would deliver them from the oppression of the Roman Empire. Jesus seemed to be the perfect Messiah. He could feed multitudes of people with almost nothing. He could heal the sick and raise the dead. The people tried to force Him into this role, but He refused.
Today there are many Conservatives who long for Christian moral values to influence our nation.
They like the idea of living in a “Christian” nation. At the same time, many of those who hold to Christian principles have never been born again. You see, as in Palestine 2000 years ago, there were many who appreciated Jesus; so today there are those who appreciate Christianity and its positive affect on their nation, but they have never seen themselves as lost sinners in need of trusting Christ as Saviour. Though they celebrate Christmas and make much of the baby Jesus in the manger, they have never yet recognized Jesus as the only one who can save them from their sins. When you recognize Jesus as your God and Saviour and Lord, then you will have experienced the miracle and the wonder of Christmas.
Though the crowds did not recognize Jesus as Messiah and Saviour, there were a few who did. These people are a major part of the Christmas story.
These knew the miracle and wonder of Christmas.
It was certainly clear to Mary, the mother of Jesus and to Joseph, his step-father. The angel Gabriel had made that clear to both of them. They worshipped the baby Jesus as their God and Saviour.
The wonder of Christmas was made clear to the shepherds who heard it directly from the angels and who came immediately to worship the baby Jesus.
It was also clear to the wisemen from the East who had studied the Old Testament scriptures, especially the prophet Daniel, who while a captive in Babylon centuries before had such a powerful, godly influence on their nation. Now, centuries later, the wise men came and bowed down and worshipped the young child, Jesus, God incarnate.
Simeon and Anna, two very old people, who spent much time in the temple praying and studying the Scriptures; immediately upon seeing the baby Jesus, recognized Him as the promised Messiah and Saviour of the world.
Later Saul of Tarsus, travelling to Damascus, met the risen Saviour and instantly bowed before Him as Messiah, Saviour and Lord. Later Saul, now renamed Paul, wrote many of the New Testament epistles, including those to Timothy. In I Timothy 3:16 Paul writes, “And without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”
The Apostle John after experiencing three years of intimate fellowship with Jesus, wrote in John 1 of Jesus, the Word. I encourage you to read prayerfully John 1:1-18 and the rest of the Gospel of John and it will become evident to you who Jesus is. It’s very clear that Jesus is God the Creator of this universe and He is not only Creator, but our Saviour from sin.
The Living Word of God
Note that in John He is referred to as The Word of God. As words reveal our hearts to others, so Jesus, the Word, reveals God’s heart to us. Have you ever wondered in what language God spoke to Adam? We will never know. When Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, daily communication was cut off from God. If God had not initiated a solution to sin, Adam and the human race would never have known God. But God in His great love for us intervened with the Edenic promise in Genesis 3:15. There you find the history of redemption in a nutshell. God would eventually be victorious over Satan and utterly destroy him. God would eventually send Jesus into the world to save us from our sins.
We could not reach up to Heaven and bring down our own salvation. God had to reach down to us and He did it through the incarnation of His Son, Jesus. When men beheld Jesus, they beheld the glory of God in a man.
We could not understand the celestial language of God, so He translated it into a language we could understand, His Love for us.
The crowds observing Him and listening to Him, concluded, “No man ever spoke as this man.” He spoke so that even the youngest and the uneducated could understand Him. It was His love that enabled others to understand His Words. If we love the people to whom we minister in words and song, they are going to understand and we will reach their hearts.
Even the Roman centurion who directed the crucifixion of Christ, understood without ever hearing a sermon from Jesus. As he watched Jesus die he declared, “Truly He was the Son of God!” I expect to meet that centurion in Heaven? Will I meet you?
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