When you think of Jesus what do you think of? Do you think of a baby in a manger? Do you think of a man, the son of God, suffering and dying on a cross? Or do you think of the many Bible stories you have heard through the years, telling of his life? Do you see him as a child, a boy, and a man, suffering the same challenges and pitfalls we all go through in daily living? Do you believe he came to pay the ultimate price for YOUR sins? Do you believe he knows you personally?
Here we are not far into Advent, and it really has my mind reeling. I have to admit, this is our first year celebrating Advent. Normally we go through the rush, rush, rush, leading up to Christmas, and the clean up and rest leading away from Christmas. But we have made a vow to stop and make time for things important to us as a family, and things important to God. And we are making the time to talk about Jesus' life every day, and delve into who he was, and who he is.
I see Jesus sitting in Heaven chatting with God, living the life. God is talking to him about the sin in the world, and the sin sacrifices. He tells Jesus about his idea to send him into the world to live as a man. He wants Jesus to teach the people about Him, to suffer as they do, and then tells Jesus he will be mocked, beaten, and killed to atone for all the sins yet to come.....ever! The final blood sacrifice. And Jesus says he will do it.
I think back to all the times I have said 'if I had any idea I was going to have to go through this, I would never have done that'. I don't like to suffer. I sure don't do it voluntarily. Can you even imagine agreeing to suffer for people you don't even know? People who will mock you, spit on you, beat you, then kill you? People who don't even believe in you? People like me, not so many years ago, who believed the story of Jesus was just that....a story?
Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? It is. Yet it is not. See, we as people are not capable of thinking that way. Only someone from God, who is without sin, can think entirely of the ultimate goal, without his mind being clouded with selfish thoughts. We are always, no matter how righteous and serving, going to think about our suffering, our sacrifice, what we want to do.
I also see Jesus as a person. I see him as a boy going through growing pains, suffering through a cold, a cut finger, wanting his mommy, and friends who won't share a plaything. I see him as a man, hungry and tired, or laughing with his friends. I see him telling people about God, knowing what he is going to suffer, and knowing their thoughts, feeling their mocking words and rejection.
All of this, and I think of what he wants from me in return for his suffering. He has promised to wash away all my sins, and grant me eternal life. What is the price? Of course there is a catch. Nothing is free, right? The fee is faith.
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life."
16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
John 3:14-18 (ESV)
Faith! Belief! That is the only fee he requires. People ask all the time if you believe in Santa. But do you believe in Jesus? Do you truly believe?