Summary: We all want to believe in something bigger than us. Are we willing to investigate and follow the light to find the Savior God has revealed to us?
iWant to Believe in Something Bigger Than Me
Woodlawn Baptist Church
December 2, 2007
Are you from a small town? I’ve got some clues to help you know. You know you’re from a small town when…
• The city limits signs are both on the same post!
• The local Motel 6 only sleeps 6.
• You call a wrong number and they supply you with the correct one.
• You don’t signal turns because everyone knows where you’re going anyway.
• The one-block-long Main Street dead ends in both directions.
• Driving cars up and down Main Street is a universal High School experience.
• A “Night on the Town” takes exactly 11 minutes.
• The New Year’s baby was born in October.
• You have to name six surrounding towns to explain where you’re from.
By the way, if you understood these things or identify with them, then you’re probably from a small town. I don’t know how small Bethlehem was at the time Jesus was born. Today the actual city is about the size of Denison, but in Jesus’ day it was apparently a relatively small town only 6 miles or so outside of Jerusalem. But regardless of the fact it was a small town, it was a small town with a big story.
I want to talk about that story today as I begin a three part series titled All iWant for Christmas. This Christmas some of the most popular gifts people give and receive will come from Apple’s "i"-suite: iTunes, iPhones, iPods, etc. The popularity of these personal devices in some ways reflects the increasingly self-focused society our world has become. However, in spite of the fact that we have become so inwardly focused, it is apparent that humanity has a great desire to believe in something bigger than itself.
Why do we want to believe in something bigger than us? This week I asked a lot of people what they thought: school teachers, secretaries, business owners, a couple of checkers at WalMart, random people in the community and a bunch by email, and I received a number of answers, but they all boiled down to about four different things.
1. Some said that we are hard-wired to believe in God. God puts the need or desire there, so we feel that something bigger than us is out there.
2. Some said that we feel so small, or inadequate, or weak. We don’t understand life, or why things happen in life, so we search beyond ourselves for answers. If there is something bigger out there then we can also find hope in believing that there really is sense to be made of it all.
3. Some said that we need someone to blame things on. If there’s something or someone bigger than us out there then we have someone to blame for our mess ups and for all the bad stuff that happens in the world.
4. Some said that people want to find meaning if life and intuitively know it is beyond them.
Do any of those resonate with you? Life can be very confusing, can’t it? Just when you think you’re settling in to a job, a marriage, to being comfortable in your own skin, life throws you a curve and you don’t know how to make sense of it. One of the couples I was speaking with mentioned the two-year old that was beaten, then held under water, thrown on a tile floor, smothered, put in a plastic tub in the garage for two months, then thrown into Galveston Bay. We watch the news and naturally look for answers beyond ourselves.
Every culture that’s ever existed has had its gods. The Egyptians believed in something bigger, something beyond themselves. The Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Persians, Greeks and Romans all believed. The Hindus have Shiva, the Muslims have Allah, the Chinese have Buddha, the Japanese have spirits, and we could go on and on. The Mayans and Aztecs and Cherokee and Choctaw all believed in something bigger.
Truth is there is something…someone bigger than us out there. Isaiah quoted Him in Isaiah 45:5-6,
I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.
But He’s not just the God out there who has left us alone in this world to sort everything out. He’s the God who has repeatedly and lovingly intervened in human history to make Himself known to us. God revealed Himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ – the babe born in a manger long ago who would grow to say, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father except through me.” In the account we’re going to read today in Matthew 2:1-12, God the Son bursts onto the scene in the person of Jesus Christ, King of the Jews. But He doesn’t burst in with fame and glamour or with great fanfare. It is a quiet, humble beginning to a remarkable life, and though the beginning didn’t appear to be so remarkable, it was the most amazing birth that ever occurred. And one of the most amazing things about it is that most folk never notice. Let’s read Matthew 2:1-12.