“God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him.” ~John 3:17 (NLT)
Who remembers the movie “Ernest Saves Christmas”? I’m sure it’ll be on the menu selection somewhere, out there in Videoland with just a click of a button. There’s a scene in the movie where the beloved Ernest is driving a cab, in it is a man who is supposable Santa Claus and as a truckload of Christmas trees passes the cab our dear Ernest says, “Ahh, smell those Christmas trees. You can keep your “Channel” Number 5, just give me a whiff of the old lonesome pine. That symbol of brotherly love, that centerpiece that all mankind gathers around to share the cranberry sauce shaped like a can.” Then a tree falls off the truck and at the end of this scene Santa has that symbol of brotherly love in his lap in the back of the cab. Well gee Vern, guess that’s as Yuletide as it gets…
The conversation that Nicodemus and Jesus are having, in John’s Gospel, doesn’t seem to have this kinda comical irony to it, there’s an irony but it’s one that makes Nicodemus scratch his head It starts like this “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with them.” Then Jesus throws a curveball, “Truly, truly, I say to you unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” HUH? “I am a grown man. How can someone be born again when he is old like me? Am I to crawl back into my mother’s womb for a second birth? That’s impossible!” (Nicodemus in “The Voice”) And thus begins the dialogue on the purpose for the arrival of The Messiah.
In A. W. Tozer’s book, “The Radical Cross” there is a statement Tozer makes that makes sense to me. “Men and women are condemned in their own hearts because they know that if the Righteous One is coming, then we ought to be sentenced. But God had a greater and far more gracious purpose—He came that sinful men might be saved. The loving mission of our Lord Jesus Christ was not to condemn but to forgive and reclaim.” And I think that the whole dialogue with Nicodemus gives credence to that statement. To think that YHVH, El Elyon Elohim, would go through such trouble to reclaim us and not destroy us should bring us to give praise to His glory and His good purpose.
To even think through the idea of reclaiming something means that there is a treasure that is being seen by the eye of the beholder, even if that beholder cannot be seen in the physical sense, it will be by faith that we know who that Beholder is. This is why Jesus
would need to teach us through what the Word of The Father should do to our hearts. “Those who abandon deceit and embrace what is true, they will enter into the light where it will be clear that all their deeds come from God.” (John 3:21 in “The Voice”) This would mean that in order to be reclaimed by Christ you will need to surrender what has become a lust of your eye, a lust of your flesh and the pride in your life. Americans Pickers rely on a seller to surrender in order to gain, in this sense we have a Heavenly Picker relying on our surrender to gain and reclaim a Divine order that was set forth from when in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
So how does John 3:17 save Christmas? The bigger question is…How doesn’t it? Well, all you have to do in that case is not receive what Jesus is offering but for those of us who will wake up on Christmas morning knowing what we’ve been saved from the lights on the Christmas tree will twinkle that much brighter. Under that tree we may find that brown box I talked about in last week’s Freedom Fighter, and what’s in that box will radically change everything that goes on until the appointed time. Until then ponder this…Why did God chose to reclaim man? Because we were made in His image. In that is your Christmas, saved. Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Colony of Mercy Graduate of 11-2003 and serves on the Deacon Board of Trinity Alliance Church in Cologne, NJ
The Daily Bible Reading: Neh. 10-11, Luke 20:27-47
Think About This: “I believe that although man was fallen and lost and on his way to hell, he still had a capacity and potential that made Incarnation possible, so That God Almighty could pull up the blankets of human flesh around His ears and become a Man to walk among men.” ~A.W. Tozer
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! They walk, O Lord, in the light of Your countenance. In Your name they rejoice all day long, And in Your righteousness they are exalted. ~Psalm 89:15-16 (NKJV)