Remember the game show "Family Feud"? It's still on TV around lunch time. My wife loves to try and outwit the families that are playing. A few years ago, on one of the broadcasts, the game show host posed the question: “Name something associated with the birth of Christ.” The number one answer?
1. The New Star (35)
2. The Manger (29)
3. Wisemen (10)
4. Mary (4)
5. Stable (3)
6. Angels (3)
7. Shepherds (3)
8. The Inn (2)
9. Salvation (2)
Of the people surveyed, those representing the general public, only 2 associated salvation with the birth of Christ and on top of that, none said “love."
Listen to the apostle Peter’s answer found in 1 Peter, Chapter 1, verse 20-21: “Listen, let me tell you what the birth of Christ is all about. This Jesus, who was with God, who is God, who existed long before creation. Jesus who saw the beauty of Eden, man at his very best. Jesus who witnessed and felt the father’s pain when man chose to not trust His perfect plan, who looked for purpose and meaning outside of God. Jesus entered our world as one of us and spent the next 33 years revealing the heart and character of God all so you could know God. All so you could find hope... All so you could find salvation... All so you could find purpose
and engage it” (my paraphrase).
As human beings we often wonder, what on earth am I here for? What is my purpose? What is my career supposed to be? Who am I really? Why hardship? Why difficult times? We search for answers to these questions all the while the world around us is shouting mixed answers. And then we wonder if we are equipped, if we have what it takes, to do what we think we are supposed to be busy doing. But there is only one place, one person, who holds the answer. The answer is found only in a relationship with our creator, with God.
And so He came, He made himself known to us through Jesus who “...was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory,
so that your faith and hope are in God (1 Peter 1:20-21).
One of the more revealing events of Jesus ministry on earth is recorded for us in John Chapter 13, verse 3: “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God, so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”
Listen to this word picture that John paints for us. Jesus, knowing that he had all the power of God at his fingertips. Knowing that he was in sync
with God’s purpose and plan for his life, that God had sent Him. He get’s up and he takes off his outer robe. The men at his table, that robe meant something. It was the robe of their rabi, their teacher. Jesus is revealing to them his love as he wraps that robe around his waist just as a man would as he was about to do physical labor. He pours water into a basin, kneels down before his students and begins to wash their feet. He dries them with a towel.
John describes it this way in verse 1, “Having loved his own who were in the world, now made manifest, He revealed, He showed them the full extent of his love.”
Verse 12 says, when he was finished, he returned to his place at the table and asked them if they understood what had just happened. He didn’t want them to miss it. He then said to them – "You call me “teacher” and "Lord", and rightly so, for that is what I am. I’ve set you and example, now that you know these things you will be blessed if you do them.”
Now that you know what things? Now that you know I came for you. Now that you know that the next thing I’m going to do is take your cross, take your sin, take your rejection of God in the past and I’m going take on all of the punishment and shame of that and I’m going to show you the depth of God’s love for you by washing not only your feet, but your soul clean so you can spend eternity with me and with God.
Now that you know these things, you will be blessed. How? By laying your life down for others just as I have, by serving them by telling them the truth. By feeding them not just physically, but spiritually. By showing them in your service how God’s plan and purpose is unlocked in your life.
Listen, there is no greater blessing. There is no greater purpose for which to live, than to see God be made known to the world.
For the 300 to 1000 of you who see this blog every week, I implore you, come and see. Come and experience the truth, the hope, the joy of the One who revealed God to the world 2000 years ago when He arrived on this planet as an infant, who is today seated at the throne of God, still making himself known to the world through people who have discovered His love and purpose. I hope to see you this Saturday at 5:30 and Sunday at 10:30.