These days you can barely sit through a movie without one of the actors exclaiming “Jesus!” Sadly, Christians and non-Christians alike use the name of Jesus irreverently, sometimes profanely. Yet, it is a noun, not an exclamation. It is the name of a Person, the Person whose birth we celebrate on Christmas day. More importantly, it is a name which means “God saves”. It is a name that warrants questions like: “Who does God save? What does God save them from? And how does God save them?”. Christmas is as good a time as any to ponder these questions.
No matter how good your life is, no one escapes the brokenness of this world. It is very evident that the world we live in today is not the same world described in Genesis 1 and 2 which God called good. It is also clear through centuries of attempts that man is incapable of fixing the brokenness we see. This brokenness is evident in the pain and suffering we experience and see around us. There are diseases which afflict both rich and poor. There are wars, famine and natural disasters. We cause some of our afflictions and in some cases, we are victims. There is simply no escaping it.
At the first Christmas, God sent His Son to redeem the world. Jesus will one day fulfil the prophecy of Isaiah by making all things new [Isaiah 65:17]. He will restore creation to its original beauty and do away with pain, suffering and death. He will put an end to all evil and make His dwelling with us for eternity once He fulfils this prophecy. The fulfilment of this prophecy began when He, the eternal, all-powerful God who made the heavens and the earth, took that unimaginable step to become a man. This is good news! However, it remains news until we respond to it. You would think that anyone who heard such news would be delighted beyond belief. You would want to tell the whole world because this is an unbelievable message. It is too good to be true, right?
The Bible is an honest book. In both the Old and New Testament, it shows how some of God’s chosen grappled with unbelievable news. Sarah upon being told she would become a mother in her 90s pretty much laughed in God’s face [Genesis 18:12]. Moses asked God to send someone else [Exodus 3:11] when God told him he was to be His chosen instrument to free the children of Israel from slavery. Zechariah the father of John the Baptist, Jesus’ forerunner, struggled to accept that his barren wife would finally bare him a son in his old age [Luke 1:18]. There was the reaction of the shepherds who were told the news of the birth of Jesus which was in stark contrast to the reaction of Herod, the then Judaean king. The reactions of these characters show disbelief, doubt, rejection, joy and acceptance. How about you, what is your reaction to the news of Christmas? God gave humankind the indescribable gift of salvation through His Son [2 Corinthians 9:15]. It was and is still completely free, but it is up to you and me to receive it.
So, as Christmas rolls by for yet another year. What are you going to do with its underlying message which is the offer of salvation from the God of the universe? Will you reject it as one more fable and carry on with your life as is? Will you doubt it because it is just too good to be true? Will you ignore it because you don’t need saving or you are too far gone to be saved? Or will you accept it with joy and happiness? Will you share that joy and happiness with others this Christmas?
If what the Bible says about Jesus is true, then clearly, He has the power to redeem creation and save all of us from the brokenness of our lives. He can save us from the selfishness, greed, lust, hate, envy, cruelty and other vices which cause so much of the pain, suffering and death in this world. He is able to change us from the inside out. He is able to bring true peace on earth, and give us a new existence without pain, suffering and death. He is able to give us eternal life with joy and happiness. Will you receive Him? Will you accept His salvation on offer?