Monday, December 24, 2012

Jesus Came to Rescue

"The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil." - 1 John 3:8

What is Christmas all about? If people would visit America, walk around, and take a guess from what they saw displayed and talked about, what would they say? Maybe at first they'd talk about the Big Red Guy in the suit with a white beard and domesticated flying deer. Perhaps they'd share about gift giving and a glad spirit of generosity among the general populace. But what about the churches? What do you see in Christmas cards? What about the songs? Wouldn't you see again and again the image of baby Jesus in the stable, surrounded by adoring shepherds, beaming new parents, and the soft glow of Thomas Kinkade? Isn't Christmas about the birth of Jesus?

True, but there have been many births, and many great men and women throughout the ages. Why celebrate this man's birth? What was so significant?

Jesus explains why He came in Luke 4. Right after successfully resisting Satan's temptations in the wilderness He enters a synagogue in Nazareth and proclaims that He is fulfilling a 600-year old prophecy from Isaiah. He reads from Isaiah 61:1-2, "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives,and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn..."

Do you see why Jesus came? We were poor, brokenhearted, captive, and bound. Jesus came to bring good news, to bind up wounds, to proclaim liberty, and to set prisoners free. In other words: Jesus Came to Rescue.

The birth of Jesus marks the incarnation of the Conquering Messiah, an invasion of the Returning King who has come to liberate His people from bondage to Satan, sin, and death. This is VERY good news!

Do we not live in a broken world? Disease, famine, war, and injustice. And are we not broken people? Depression, split families, addictions, wounds, anger, and selfishness. We try to heal ourselves and fix our world but these problems seem to keep coming back, no matter how hard we try. We desperately need rescue. Not another self-help program, not more religious white-knuckling, not more government funding, and not legislation to manage or educate us out of our brokenness. Let's admit it: We need RESCUE. And Jesus has COME. He has come as our Rescuer.

Here's the challenge: Think differently about Christmas. It’s not about Santa and reindeer and presents and snow and elves on shelves and the seven levels of the candy cane forest. Though all those things are fun.  What is Christmas all about? It’s about the Rescuer Jesus coming into a broken world. It’s a landed invasion from heaven to bring hope and light and healing to a dark world. That’s what Christmas is about. Rescue.

Grateful for Rescue,
The Relentless Fight