From the Preacher’s Pen ~

One of the few things Hollywood ever got right is to title the story of Jesus as “The Greatest Story Ever Told.” The writer of one of the songs in our hymnals wrote, “Tell Me the Story of Jesus” and reminded us of the desire that every word be written on our hearts.

God had spent literally thousands of years preparing the moment that our Savior would come and walk among us. And yet few were prepared for that moment. It seems appropriate that so many of those very same thoughts apply to His coming again. Perhaps there is a lesson for us to learn.

Remembering Jesus

Every single thing about Jesus coming into this world as one of us is wondrous! And yet we have turned His birth into an artificial, arbitrary time to spend money, get what we want and pretend that it all has something to do with a Bible story that we don’t even know. That’s harsh, you may say. But is it really? Or is it the truth?

As far as anything we actually know, December 25 has absolutely nothing to do with Jesus. But we use it for a date to place three wise-men at the manger and fail to actually notice that none of that is true! Let’s try for a moment to actually recapture the wonder of His birth that we might be ready to share the Good News.

The words to a song by Todd Agnew illustrate the lesson we may often miss:

In the first light of the new day no-one knew He had arrived.

Things continued as they had been, while a new born softly cried.

But the heavens wrapped in wonder knew the meaning of His birth.

In the weakness of a baby they knew God had come to earth.

God’s announcements of Jesus’ birth had been restricted to the family actually involved. No proclamation of His pending arrival was made in the Temple. No plans were made to welcome Him.

But the heavens wrapped in wonder knew the meaning of His birth.

In the weakness of a baby they knew God had come to earth. 

As the Angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds in the field they were terrified. To the best of their knowledge the Lord had not appeared to anyone in over three centuries. When a multitude of the heavenly host (Luke 2:13) appeared to praise God the shepherds saw a sight that was as unique as any prophet’s vision. And the words of the Heavenly beings hinted at the real significance of what and who they would find in that manger. Unlike the artist renditions we so often see, there wouldn’t be on halo over the infant or His mother. There would be nothing of significance, nothing out of the ordinary about His appearance (Isaiah 53:2) to even hint at His real importance.

As His mother held Him closely it was hard to understand

That her baby not yet speaking was the Word of God to man.

Nearly a century later it would be the Apostle John that would remind us (John 1:1-5) of who was really in that scene: God the Creator. And yet He was unrecognized by His own people. How incredibly sad! Have you ever seen something of great significance without even realizing it at the time? What a shock to later learn that you had not appreciated its importance.

Yes, the significance was missed when Jesus came the first time. But He will not allow it to be missed when He comes again! Paul says it like this to the Philippian Christians:

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5–11).

Hear the angels as they’re singing on the morning of His birth.

But how much greater will our song be when He comes again.

In the all the wonder and beauty of Jesus coming to this earth the real importance comes not in His birth, His life or even in His death, but in what would happen three days after His burial!

He would tell them of His Kingdom but their hearts would not believe.

They would hate Him and in anger they would nail Him to a tree.

But the sadness would be broken as the Song of Life arose.

And the first-born of creation would ascend and take His throne.

He had left it to redeem us but before His life began.

He knew He’d come back not as a baby, but as the Lord of every man.

Just as Paul observed to the Philippians, Jesus will never again be unrecognized, unsung, unappreciated. As wondrous as His first coming was, His second will be glorious. Are you ready? Hear the angels as they’re singing on the morning of His birth. But how much greater will our song be when He comes again. Prepare to be amazed!

— Lester P. Bagley