“For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 – CSB – Read the chapter)
Merry Christmas to you! The day is finally here. Advent is behind us and Christmas has dawned. Jesus is born and the world is not the same. I hope and pray this is a day of joy and gladness for you and your family. We have been talking about the love that is part and parcel with the Christmas celebration and we will do that yet one more time this morning. But because I know you have many things to do, I’ll keep this one short. Let’s talk about the heart of love and the heart of the Gospel.
There is no verse in the Scriptures as beloved as this one and for good reason. This is the Gospel in 29 words (in this translation at least). It is a brilliant proclamation of the love the Father has for us in Christ. At the very bottom of the thing, this is what Christmas is all about: God loved you so much that He wasn’t willing for you to remain separated from Him. So, He sent His only Son to earth so that you might have access to the eternal life of the kingdom of God through Him. This is truly good news of the highest order.
In order to do this, He entered this world. He came as one who was fully one of us because only then could He really save us. But, entering as a conquering king at whose feet all the world would instantly bow would not accomplish the thing for which He was aiming. If the world submitted out of anything other than humble desire and love, it wouldn’t be a free choice and that’s not what He wanted. So He came in the humblest way imaginable. He was born as a baby to a poor couple and had an animal feed trough as His first bed.
From there He experienced hardship and rejection and pain and betrayal by those closest to Him. Yet through it all He remained resolutely faithful to the call of the Father. He walked the path to the cross with courage and boldness and for the joy that was set before Him. He then gave up His perfect life, an atoning sacrifice to satisfy the justice of God for our sins. Death could not claim Him for long. On the third day, He was raised to new life and now all those who are willing to put their trust in Him can join Him in living the life that does not end.
May you not only know, but live this great story in your own life as you celebrate the day!
In order to wrap up this whole journey, here is one last song for you. This is from a fairly new band that has quickly become one of my favorites. Their music is terrific and their theology is sound. Their first live album is as complete a worship experience as I have ever encountered in a single package. It opens with an absolutely fantastic proclamation of this great truth. Here is “God So Loved” from We the Kingdom. Enjoy and merry Christmas!