Summary: God's Plan, Jesus power and obedience, salvation
THE MANGER AND THE CROSS
Col. 1:15-23 (p833) Dec. 19, 2010
"A Baby born in Bethleham
His hands, soft and gently curled
But held within their dimples grasp
The hope of the whole world"
We've been seeking to answer the important question what does Christmas really mean?
It really does mean that the word of creation became flesh…so God could be our redeemer, it really does mean that God would put his feet in our shoes so he could walk as and example for us to follow.
Bur maybe the most important truth I can share with you this morning is Christmas isn't about celebrating one day…It isn't about one season of crazy hectic shopping and gift giving. The real meaning of Christmas is found in God's plan to save mankind from their sins…not only does Christmas involve the manger story, but also the cross. The real meaning of Christmas is the miraculous story of God's plan to rescue us by becoming one of us.
It is a story of hope, peace, joy and love…where the light penetrates the darkness
Luke 2: 8-14 (p725)
"Don't be afraid - this is good news of great joy for everyone"
Christmas doesn't seem like good news and great joy for everyone I meet. The homeless drunk I sat talking with last week wasn't experiencing too much good news and joy, neither was the woman who was facing the first Christmas after her Dad's death, or the guy who was trying to figure out where his kids would be on their Christmas after his divorce… The songs seem kind of hollow…the shopping is a chore, the cold doesn't get any warmer because someone says "Merry Christmas"
But I believe with all my heart Christmas was made for the broken hearted…not the false, glitzy, tensile thing we sometimes call Christmas…but the real Christmas. You will not find the good news of great joy in a diamond box or the restaurant table that makes you go "Oh my Gosh…Oh my Gosh!" you will not find hope in the S.U.V. stuffy in a giant stocking under an ever more gigantic Christmas tree…You won't discover it in a bottle, or the egg nog…its found in God's plan and His purpose…no matter how difficult the circumstances might look.
Jesus is the one who holds all things together.
I THE GLUE OF HEAVEN
Jesus created everything…things in heaven and on earth, things that are visible and invisible…thrones, powers, rulers, authorities…all were created by him and for him. He existed before all those things were created…and he is the glue that holds ever thing together.
[Jesus isn't some celestial watchmaker that put this world of a timepiece together, wound it up and just lets it run on its own! All creation was made by him and for him…His plan is to redeem and rescue it… God had to be born of a virgin in a manger as part of this plan…foretold by Micah and Isaiah the prophets…Jesus would live a sinless life as our example, die in our place to satisfy God's perfect justice on a cross. He would rise from the dead …"the first fruit of the resurrection"…but all this was planned…All this is God working in ways no one could have imagined, or envisioned.]
Can you imagine being a 16 year old pregnant Jewish unmarried girl, engaged, betrothal to a carpenter…who has been informed. by angelic messenger. "Greetings you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you...don't be afraid, your going to have a child, a little boy…He will be called the Son of the most high. God will give him the throne of David…He'll reign over the house of Jacob forever. His Kingdom will never end.
How's this going to happen? I'm a virgin? (Mary) the angel answers "The Holy spirit will come upon you and the power of the most high will over shadow you…so the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God"
Mary's response it's even more remarkable "I'm the Lord's servant…may it be to my the Lord has said"
"Mary was nearly divorced, forced to become an immigrant in her teens, one day she would witness her firstborn's gruesome execution.
Have you ever realized that Mary was only in her mid-forties when she stood at the foot of the cross? She watches her beloved oldest child, arrested, beaten, tortured and displayed out for the world to see…nailed to a cross.
Terry Ocasey writes "From upon the cross, her Jesus deserted by his brothers, who mocked his messianic pretensions (John 7:5) speaks to his Mom and his best friend "Mom, John will take care of you. John care for Mom" (John 19: 26, 27)
If you ever wonder if God can bring good out of bad…think of Mary…from the manager to the cross she knew Jesus was the savior of the world…the glue that holds all creation together.