Summary: In essence, this story reminds us of God’s greatest gift – Jesus, His Son, whose birth we are celebrating. And the message that this story proclaims is still true - whoever has the Son gets it all! (Powerpoints Available - #369)
MELVIN NEWLAND, MINISTER RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
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ILL. Years ago, there was a very wealthy man who, with his son, shared a passion for art. Together they traveled around the world, adding only the finest art treasures to their collection. Priceless works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet & many others adorned the walls of the family estate.
The widowed father looked on with satisfaction as his only child became an experienced art collector. But the day came when war engulfed the nation, & the young man left to serve his country. After only a few months, his father received a telegram that his beloved son had been killed while carrying a fellow soldier to safety.
On Christmas morning a knock came at the door of the old man’s home, & when he opened it, he was greeted by a soldier with a large package. The soldier introduced himself by saying, “I was a friend of your son. I was the one he was rescuing when he died. May I come in for a few moments? I have something to show you.”
“I’m an artist,” said the soldier, “& I want to give you this.” As the old man unwrapped the package, it revealed a portrait of his son.
Though the art critics would never consider it a masterpiece, the painting did feature his son's face in striking detail, & seemed to capture his personality. And because of that it became more precious to the old man than any of the others in his collection.
A few years later the old man became ill & passed away. The art world was in anticipation! According to his will, all of his art works would be auctioned. The day arrived, & art collectors gathered to bid on some of the world’s most spectacular paintings.
The auction began with a painting that was not on any art collector’s wish list. It was the painting of the man’s son. The auctioneer asked for an opening bid. The room was silent. “Who will open the bidding with $100?” he asked. Time passed with not a sound from those who came to buy.
From the back of the room someone called out, “Who cares about that painting? It’s just a portrait of his son. Let’s get on to the important paintings.” There were other voices which echoed in agreement. But the auctioneer replied, “No, we have to sell this one first. Now, who will take the son?”
Finally, the old gardener of the estate said, “I knew the boy, & I’d like to have it, but I can only bid $50.” “I have a bid for $50,” called the auctioneer. “Will anyone go higher?” After a long silence, the auctioneer said, “Going once. Going twice. Gone.” The gavel fell.
Cheers filled the room & someone was heard to say, “Now we can get on with the auction!” But the auctioneer looked at the audience & announced that the auction was over.
Stunned disbelief quieted the room. Then someone demanded, “What do you mean it’s over? We didn’t come here for a picture of the old guy’s son. What about all the other paintings? There are millions of dollars worth of art here! What’s going on?”
The auctioneer replied, “It’s very simple. According to his will, the father stipulated that whoever gets the son gets it all.”
In essence, this story reminds us of God’s greatest gift – Jesus, His Son, whose birth we are celebrating. And the message that this story proclaims is still true - whoever has the Son gets it all. Well, listen to what the Bible says:
“God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:11-12)
Yes, if we have God’s Son, Jesus, we have life – eternal life! But this morning I want to say that through Jesus God has given us even more - so much more! And the Gift of Christmas proclaims that message.
I. CHRISTMAS LEADS US TO KNOW WHAT GOD IS LIKE
A. First of all, the coming of Christ gave us a living picture of who God is. Christ’s coming put a face on God so that we can know what God is like.
The Bible says, “He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created: things in heaven & on earth, visible & invisible…” (Colossians 1:15-16)
God came to earth wrapped in a human body. God came to live among us so that we might know what He is truly like. He came to teach us. He came to die for us that we might be forgiven.