On this Christmas morning I want to begin with a non-Christmas story …
January 8, 2009 the Florida Gators football team played the Oklahoma Sooners for the BCS National Championship. The quarterback for the Florida Gators was Tim Tebow who ran onto the field with a Bible reference written under his eyes. That evening “John 3:16” was the most Googled item in the world. According to more than one source, an estimated 90 million people went to their computers to look up the Bible verse.
On this Christmas morning I wonder about those 90 million people. Did they know John 3:16 and looked it up as a refresher? Did they not know John 3:16 at all? How many of those 90 million people celebrate Christmas? A better question: How many of those 90 million people know the abundant life on earth and eternal life in heaven offered to us by Jesus?
By the way, Tim Tebow and the Florida Gators won the game 24-14. I don’t know if God had anything to do with it.
John 3:16 is not the typical passage for Christmas morning but it does provide the proper framework for the message of Jesus.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
God loves his creation.
The Old Testament makes it clear that God loves all that he has made, especially his people (Ex 34:6-7; Duet 7:7-8; Hos 11:1-4,8-11). Sometimes you a hear a caricature of an angry Old Testament God with thunder bolts and lightening. Yet, time and time again in the Old Testament the people of God describe him as “compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love.”
In the New Testament, God demonstrated his love for the world through the gift of his Son. Significantly, God’s love extends not merely to Israel, but to the world. Even to sinful people. That includes you. That includes me.
Jesus arrived that first Christmas not for pretty people or the popular people or the incredibly talented people or the people that look like this or that. He came in love for the world.
God’s creation loves darkness.
The person who loves darkness does evil.
The person who loves darkness shuns light.
We can see this in newspaper headlines of terrorism, racism, human trafficking, the billion dollar drug and pornography industry, and other things we don’t like to talk about in church.
We can see this in our own hearts filled with lust, greed, pride, jealousy, and other things we don’t like to talk about in church.
Experience life as God intended it.
Live life in relationship with your Savior that results in abundant life on earth and eternal life in Heaven. Live a life filled with hope, love, joy, and peace made possible by Jesus Christ. This is what the world needs. This is what you need.
I get a lot of people who ask for my opinion on the hot topics of the day. Whether the topic is political of social, I’m happy to provide my thoughts. Yet, I always end up saying “We already know the answer is Jesus. We just need more people submitted to him.”
May you spend this Christmas submitted to Jesus.