Christmas is always kind of a love fest with our family. And they’re all so good at paying attention to what people want and need, and getting the great gifts. You know? So I expect good things, and I hope what I’m giving fits the description as well this Christmas. And you know what? Sometimes, occasionally I will find a little gift that I forgot to give. No, I don’t save it for next Christmas. It might be “Happy New Year” or something like that.
You know what? Before this Christmas I found a gold nugget. Yeah. Well, actually it was a gift in the Bible. It was in the Luke 2 account of Jesus’ birth. That’s a passage of Scripture I’ve traveled many a time. But there was a nugget I didn’t ever find there before.
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “What I Found Hiding in the Christmas Story.”
Here’s what hit me during the Christmas celebration. In those warm but familiar words, the angel said, “Behold, I bring you good news (you know) of great joy which shall be for all people.” Okay, whoa, stop right there. From the first moments of Jesus’ arrival on earth, heaven made clear that the good news about Jesus wasn’t just for a few people in the club. It was for “all people.” “Good news for all people!”
Thirty-three years later, Jesus would give His final orders before returning to heaven that He came from that first Christmas. Our word for today from the Word of God – Mark 16:15, tells us this: “Go and tell the Good News to everybody, everywhere!” It was there when He came. It was there when He left. A mandate to get the Good News about Him to “all people.” The shepherds got it. The Bible says that as soon as they saw Him, “they spread the word.”
Now, fast forward 2,000 years. When a church becomes a club, made for its members, focusing on the clubhouse, collecting dues from the members, it has gone deaf to Jesus’ orders. When believers don’t tell the people they know about the Savior they have, the Good News dies with their silence. And the lost folks they know will die without hope.
So, the whole message that came that first Christmas, the whole command of Jesus before He left, was to be aware of the people who don’t have Jesus yet. How can we continue to just focus on ourselves and have meetings and activities that are just for us, sometimes in words only we understand?
How can we be content to be the people who are in essence “in a lifeboat” that have been rescued and surrounded by people who are dying without hope? How can we be content to be the people in the lifeboat who’ve been rescued, surrounded by people now who are dying without hope and not turn our lifeboat around and rescue them? We can’t just be the folks in the lifeboat who are singing our lifeboat songs, and going to our lifeboat committee meetings, and building a bigger and better more comfortable lifeboat for the people who are already in it. We’re surrounded by dying people.
Jesus said this isn’t just for the people who are already in the boat. It’s for the people who are dying right now who need to be saved. And people die because the people who are already saved do nothing about the people who are dying.
And so, as we look at Christmas now, let’s look at the prospect also of a brand new year. Let’s commit ourselves to the commission for which Jesus came. Which wasn’t to start the Jesus Club, but to start a rescue mission that would spread across the planet. As we prepare for Christmas, and think about the news that was for all people, let’s put our influence, our time, our prayer, our church budgets, our church meetings, our lives, our money into that for which Jesus came – the rescuing of the dying whatever it takes.
The Great Commission of Jesus came with His birth. It was His final word before He left. Whatever the years before have been, let’s make this next year, as never before, the “Year of our Lord.” The year each of us fulfills our destiny, fulfills our Lord’s orders to make sure the News about Jesus gets to “all the people.”