For a large number of Christians, Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ, God’s gift of salvation and the path to the restoration of his relationship with his people. The story is remarkable, a virgin gives birth to a boy in a stable who is in reality the Son of the Living God. A star marks the manger where he lay, Angles sing of his birth, shepherds follow the star to see this Child. It is not long thereafter that wise men seek him also, bringing gifts. This child will bring about the wholesale murder of all boys born that day and he will become the subject of a massive manhunt…he has yet to utter a word. We know little of his early life and in later years he appears before a rather strange man in animal skins who lives on bugs, nuts and berries and is at home in the desert wearing animal skins, pleading for people to renounce their sins because the Messiah is soon to come. A remarkable story whose reality is even more remarkable. From these humble beginnings the Greatest Story Ever Told is born. Consider this…there were from the beginning doubters and history has put forth many arguments and theories about this man who presented himself as the Messiah. There is the fact that the Jewish people had always expected a savior, the one who would restore Israel to her rightful place as the chosen people of God.
From the early prophets to that very day of his baptism by John in the wilderness, the Jews had lived with this in-destructible faith and the raw belief that it would be so. The beginning of the ministry occurred with his baptism in the countryside of Roman Judea and Transjordan, near the River Jordan by John the Baptist. New Testament writings give as the principal locations for the ministry of Jesus as Galilee and Judea, with activities also taking place in surrounding areas such as Perea and Samaria.
Now I need to be careful here but the enormity of the scope of his ministry is pivotal to the story. Three years a total estimated distance of 3,125 miles, Jesus WALKED during his ministry. Add to that his disciples, the 12 of his picking, walked with him…most likely the majority of those miles. Now there are records of large crowds following him through certain areas and there were others we find in the gospel writings that were with him at various times… I think of it sometimes as being a traveling caravan of Salvation…with the Cross going on before. I believe Jesus saw that Cross on the horizon when he took his very first step on those roads. He would sit among the mighty and the fallen, kneel in the dust of a town to speak to the stoning of a woman, speak to a Samaritan woman at a well, heal the blind and sick on the Sabbath…all these acts adding to his notoriety and adding fuel to those enemies that would have him put aside. His ministry would come to an end on the ragged outcrop of a hill…There he would be taunted, mocked and nailed to a wooden cross, his side pierced just as the heavens open up in fury and the cloth rent…. The world would never be the same.
I have thought of many ways to bring this blog to a close. I then realized the story is not finished yet, the end is yet to come. The brightness of the lights, the joy of the tree and the unexpected love we feel for people in general makes me wish everyday could be Christmas. God has blessed the world with the greatest gift ever given to man. It is argued every year to keep Christ in Christmas. I encourage you to not pack him away till next year….Keep him in your heart, mind and very being…. The story is not completed yet.
Come Lord Jesus
Life is Good