“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world; but that the world should be saved through Him.” ~ John 3:17 (NASB)
You wake up on Christmas morning and you head to the family room where you see presents under the Christmas tree. Alongside the tree there stands Jesus Himself and He looks at you with a smile and says, “I have a gift for you”. Joyfully you rush over to Him and give Him a hug and He moves His hand to direct your attention to a huge box. There is nothing too special about the outside of this box…it’s just a brown box. “Go ahead, open it” the Savior instructs you. With great anticipation you open the box and after you throw all the packing peanuts aside you pull out a 12-foot-long pole about 12” in diameter, an 8-foot-long beam with the same width and girth as the pole and in a brown bag you find three iron nails 6 inches in length. “Merry Christmas” Jesus says to you and then He is gone.
Pretty radical view ain’t it? But when it comes to the real sense and purpose of what Christmas represents we seem to have lost this simple fact, we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, it’s His birthday not yours, and yet we give each other presents. What if Jesus finally said to us, “It’s My birthday and yet all you gave Me was a cross to die on?” Now of course this is not how the Divine works and please don’t put any validity in my scenario but I do ponder the “What if’s” once in a while. I will say that the true intent about celebrating the birth of The Savior has kinda been lost over the centuries. I guess we could blame The Romans for picking the wrong date or the Capitalist’s wanting a better black line bottom by December 31st but ultimately we should blame ourselves.
In A.W. Tozer’s book, “The Radical Cross” there is a chapter dedicated to the purpose of The Cross and it begins with Christ coming for all people. “This is something we must never forget—Jesus came to seek and to save people. Not just certain favored people. Not just certain kinds of people. Not just people in general.”: wrote Tozer. So if your outlook is one that is predestined or one that of choosing maybe it’s time to flip your script. Because Jesus just didn’t come to die on The Cross, that keeps Jesus in one dimension, Jesus came to be one of and to mingle with the people…the fallen people. Especially the ones who were fallen and knew it but didn’t have a clue to elevate from it…like Nicodemus.
Nicodemus was a Pharisees who had to be well versed in the Torah. He a member of the Sanhedrin and yet when he hears Jesus teach, he hears the answers to questions that have bothered him for years. He has been watching the crowds as they listen to Jesus, and he knows he has never held the attention of an audience like Jesus does. Jesus speaks in simple terms, but His message has great power. Nicodemus observes the miracles Jesus performs, knowing he has never performed so much as one miracle. By nearly any standard, Nicodemus does not hold a candle to Jesus.
I think was looking for someone like Jesus for quite some time and when he found Him Nicodemus wanted to make sure…so he made his way to Jesus by night. (an overtone to hear out in this, since night represents darkness this is where Nicodemus stood spiritually) So, in my opinion, after seeing Jesus overturning the money tables in The Temple and yelling at the crowd, “It is written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER’; but you are making it a ROBBERS’ DEN” Nicodemus set out to understand what manner of man this Jesus truly was.
I’m gonna hold off right here as my word count is running out but I will ask you to consider what this Advent season has in store for you. With the pseudo sense of burden to give gifts placed upon our shoulders by a world that only understands a good bottom-line ya gotta stop yourself and say, “If it doesn’t serve any place in eternity then it’s just eternally useless” …unless it’s that brown box with one horizontal beam, one vertical beam and three iron nails. Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes, Colony of Mercy Graduate of 11-2003, serves on the Deacon Board at Trinity Alliance Church in Cologne NJ.
The Daily Bible Reading: Josh. 13-15, Luke 17:1-19
Think About This: The Savior of the world knows the true value and worth of every soul. He pays no attention to status or human honor or class. Our Lord knows nothing about this status business that everyone talks about.” ~A.W.Tozer
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him ~Psalm 18:30