Now I can imagine some of you are thinking & asking: “Why celebrate the Lord’s Supper at Christmas?” “For after all, Christmas is a joyful day to celebrate with excitement about angels & shepherds, the Christ-Child & Wisemen. “But the Lord’s Supper is more solemn & sacred to be celebrated with more dignity, for it is all about the cross & blood & death.” But really that’s wrong to think that. Because without the cross Christmas wouldn’t be a day of joy & glad tidings. We should never see the Lord’s Supper as a funeral, but as a wedding reception. o we must then celebrate it with joy & excitement that Jesus Christ came & died & arose to save us from sin & death. o & to give us everlasting life with God: something to really rejoice about!. Th’fore, its proper to celebrate Christmas with Communion & the celebration of Jesus’ death on the cross. For we must not just read the Christmas story according to Matthew, Luke, & John. o or only hear it from those familiar persons associated with Christmas. o Mary, Joseph, the Shepherds, & Wisemen. O, yes, their story is important & beautiful & stirring. o but they don’t contain the full message & meaning of Christmas. And so we must also read the Christmas story according to Jesus Himself. We must listen to what He has to say. For that would be more important & significant, wouldn’t it? Well, we have Jesus’ own words & version of the Christmas story in Heb.10. For here we see the author of Hebrews indicates the words of Ps.40 are Jesus’ words about Christmas. And we notice Jesus’ story about Christmas has the CROSS in it.
This advent we have been exploring this indescribable miracle of the Word becoming bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. The omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent creator God of the universe became a single cell, a single microscopic fertilized human egg cell. And then He became a cluster of cells. Before long hands and feet and eyes began to differentiate and form.
darkness all the time? Can you imagine never seeing a sunset or a mountain or an ocean or a field of dahlias and having to listen to someone try to describe it to you? Can you imagine never seeing the beauty of a snow covered yard or Christmas lights like that spectacular display over on Emerald Way? Can you imagine not being able to see? Sight is one of God’s most precious gifts. Eyes are one of the most remarkable things in all of God’s creation. The human eye is an absolute miracle and a marvel of science. It’s staggering how our eyes take in light and images and turns them into electrical signals and sends them to our brains where they are processed into mental images we can understand. Our eyes are the second most powerful and complex organ after our brains. Our eyes are perfectly positioned on our heads to give us depth perception. The lens of our eyes allows us to focus on things near and far. The pupil changes size to control how much light comes in, much like the lens on a camera. Our eye is a 576 mega pixel camera with over seven million cones that enable us to see color and 100 million rods that helps us see in the dark. One scientist I read this week claimed that the millions of cells in our eyes process more information in a second than the largest super computer could process in a hundred years. Even Charles Darwin admitted that that human eye was one of the greatest challenges to his theory of evolution. He wrote in his classic book, On the Origin of Species, “To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances ... could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.” To credit their formation to evolution is to rob God of one of His most marvelous miracles. But the even greater miracle is that the all-seeing creator of the universe became flesh.
Feet must be pretty important to us in the US. We have over 30,000 shoe stores generating about $50 billion in revenue. I read that the average woman has over 20 pairs. Guys, if you want a present at Christmas don’t go home and count how many your wife has. Jesus’ feet were pretty important as we see from numerous Gospel passages. Consider with me on this Third Sunday of Advent that the Word became feet and walked among us.
How are sinners made right with God? How can man be justified before a holy and righteous God? That’s the central question, that’s the heart of the Gospel. Everything we have talked about so far has been building to this question. All doctrinal truths converge on this point. Our Belgic Confession is right to devote two long ar
Did you hear the news this week of a law suit filed with the New York Supreme Court on behalf of four chimpanzees claiming they should have legal status and rights as persons? The group said it plans to file more lawsuits across the country on behalf of captive animals “who are scientifically proven to be self-aware and autonomous,” such as elephants, dolphins and whales. Their definition of person is “cognitively complex, self-aware, and autonomous.” Should certain animals have legal rights as persons? Is the human animal really that different from any of the other animals? What’s the difference? Man alone bears the unique image of God. We are profoundly and fundamentally different from animals. Being a person is infinitely more significant than being an animal. Psalm 8:4 What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Genesis 1:27-28 God created man in his own image, … 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Do you see the confusion and lie of post-modernism? We protect animals and we kill our babies. When there is no God, everything is permissible. It’s a profound and wonderful mystery that God would create us in His image. But it’s an even more profound and staggeringly wonderful mystery that God would become made in our image and become flesh and dwell among us. Jesus didn’t become an animal, He became human. As we are made in His image so Jesus took on our image. Jesus has hands and feet, fingers and toes, eyes and ears, a body and a soul. On earth He thought with a human mind, acted with a human will, loved with a human heart and He worked with human hands. This morning we reflect on one aspect of the incarnation miracle, The Word became Hands.
The question before us this evening is the greatest of all questions. It’s the Philippian Jailer question. “What must I do to be saved?” And Paul and Silas gave the simple answer, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:30-31). But that answer was so simple that many have misunderstood it and some have even taken offense at it. Preaching salvation in Jesus Christ is “stumbling block to the Jews and folly to Gentiles” (I Corinthians 1:23). I’m reminded of the story of Naaman, the Syrian General, who came to Israel to Elisha to seek healing for his leprosy. Elisha’s servant told
Today marks the first day of the Christian church calendar which begins with the season of Advent. It marks the beginning of our celebration of the incarnation, when the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. All over the world today the Christian church is beginning their celebrations of one of the most central truths of the Christian faith, that astonishing miracle when God became a man in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. This truth makes Christianity absolutely unique among all the religions of the earth. No other religion or faith community, not even Judaism, believes this. It’s unique to Christianity that God takes the initiative to take on our human nature in order to redeem us from our fallen sinful nature. We are so used to Advent and Christmas that we no longer think about the mystery of so great a miracle as the incarnation. We are no longer stunned and astonished. The joy of Christmas is not bound up in the gifts or family gatherings or the songs or any of the other trappings and traditions. The great joy of Christmas is the glorious miracle of God becoming one of us to deliver us from all our sins and reconcile us to a holy God. Satan hates the incarnation. And if he can distract us and better yet depress us by all the trappings and trimmings and tinsel and glitter, so much the better. So our aim this morning and this month is to remember the true reason for the season, and to remember how and why the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.