Jesus Came (“Like An Unforeseen Kiss”)

the_annunciation_to_the_shepherds_1663_abraham_hondius-wikimedia-commons

The Annunciation to the Shepherds, 1663, by Abraham Hondius

Christmas is like an unforeseen kiss.

Because that’s how Jesus came to us.

We didn’t expect him to show up that night he was born in the manger. The shepherds didn’t expect to see angels declaring his glory in the sky above their pastures.

“Fear not,” the angels said to the shepherds, “for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

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Love Like Jesus–What’s Church Got To Do With It?: Luke 2:46-50

Why go to church Love Like Jesus Luke 2After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”

“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them.

Luke 2:46-50

How Jesus loved people:

In Luke chapter two we see Jesus preparing Himself to love people, here, in His Father’s house, by asking questions. Whether or not these were rhetorical questions we don’t know, but it appears obvious there was a discussion going on. Jesus, the Creator of the universe, is in His place of worship, asking questions. He’s in His Father’s house, He’s about His Father’s business. Jesus will ultimately demonstrate more love for people than anyone ever has before, or ever will again. And His presence here is part of His preparation for that act of love.

Love Like Jesus:

The Son of God, the Creator, the One who is One with the Father, the One who said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father,” the One who raised people from the dead, and who rose from the dead Himself, went to His place of worship and asked questions. (John 14:9)

I don’t know about you but I’m very confident that anyone who has seen me has not seen the Father. And I’ve never raised anyone from the dead either by the way. In fact, I’m not worthy to fasten the straps on Christ’s sandals. So if Jesus took the time to be about His Father’s business in His Father’s house, I certainly need to as well.

I need to do this, and you need to do this because when we go to church we learn to love people better. When you go to church you hear God’s word from the pulpit, reminding you of His desire for you to love others. You hear, from God’s word, examples of how you can love others. You bump into people there in church, people who need you, people who need your help, people who need you to love them, even if it’s just giving them two minutes of your time. You rub elbows with others who also seek to love God and to love others. You’re reminded of how you can remove things from your life that hinder your efforts to love others. You hear something different from the constant information you receive from a culture that largely ignores God.

“Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Jesus asked. Jesus had to be in His Father’s house, and if you and I desire to love people as Jesus did, we have to be in His Father’s house too. (Luke 2:49)

Prepare yourself to love people.

Go to church.

Jesus did.

[Image via: Kate B Dixon, Creative Commons]

Luke 1 — You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus

Photo by drproehl

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.

…no word from God will ever fail.”

Luke 1:30-35, 37

There he sat in the lounge chair, snacking on munchies with his friends while watching one of his favorite movies. They were more than friends really. After working twenty-four hour shifts with these men, after saving lives with these men, after fighting fire with these men, they were his family. It always felt good to be around them. He was completely relaxed, completely at peace, and completely content when the bell went off.

“Beep, beep, beep,” the pre-alert sounded. “Structure fire, flames and smoke seen from an upper floor of a highrise. Address is…” As was often the case, the tone of the female dispatcher’s voice said as much or more about the call than her actual words. This wasn’t a false alarm or burned toast. This was a serious call.

He moved quickly and easily from the lounge chair and made for the apparatus bay where his fire engine waited. Like a mother duck with ducklings, the Captain unconsciously listened for the noises of his crew making their way to the engine. First running, then the sounds of his men donning their protective gear, then the sounds of doors slamming – one door, the driver’s, then another, then another. As he entered the cab himself he heard the engine start, he heard the bay door open as he looked down to zip up his turnout coat, then he heard the siren.

“8102 responding,” he said into the radio as he simultaneously pushed the responding button on his mobile computer.

“Do you know where we’re going?” he asked the engineer. As usual he did.

The headsets came on and one of his firefighters asked, “What do you think Cap?”

“Sounds like the real deal to me,” the Captain replied. “We could be first in. Be prepared.”

“First in.” First in had special implications. Incidents that start well usually go well. Incidents that don’t start well…

“What are we taking up?” one of the firefighters asked. The crew reviewed the list of equipment that they’d need to take with them: two inch and three quarter hose packs, thermal imaging camera, irons for forcible entry…

It was barely more than five minutes when they heard the dispatcher say, “Units responding to the highrise fire, we have a report of multiple trapped victims on the fire floor and on the floors above.”

“Copy,” the Captain said into the radio. His adrenaline was already pumping but this last bit of information felt like an electric shock.

They turned a corner and there it was: perhaps fifteen or twenty floors up, multiple floors well involved with fire. People hanging out of windows. He took the briefest moment to steel himself for what was to come, then he gave his report, “8102 is on scene at a thirty story apartment building with at least three floors well involved, possibly floors fifteen, sixteen, seventeen. We have victims hanging out of windows. 8102 is going to the lowest fire floor. 8153, it looks like we’ll need at least ten alarms.”

“Central copies, multiple floors well involved. 8102 we just received a report of a floor collapse on the seventeenth floor.”

“Copy, floor collapse on the seventeenth,” the Captain said. Then to his crew he said, “Let’s do it.”

They bailed off the engine, entered the building, and began making their way up the stairwell to the fifteenth floor. On their way up, they shouted and directed people to the way of safety.

“8102,” the dispatcher called.

“8102, go ahead,” the Captain answered.

“8102, we have reports of two more floors collapsing. It appears to be the fifteenth and sixteenth floors. We also have a report of fire showing on the roof.”

“Copy,” the Captain said trying to catch his breath enough to speak as he climbed the staircase.

“Cap?” It was his youngest firefighter, “Cap, are we going to make it?”

“We’ll save as many as we can.”

“OK but will we make it?”

The Captain knew they had to climb as far up into the highrise as possible. He knew he couldn’t save them all. He knew they’d have to save as many as they could.

And he knew they probably weren’t coming back.

“We’ll save as many as we can.” he said. The young firefighter could hear the determination in his voice…

Before Jesus was born into this world to save us, He enjoyed a wonderful and amazing life in heaven with the Father. He enjoyed a life that was filled with glory but He chose to forfeit all of that to come down to earth. (John 17:5) He chose to come in order to save as many as He could. He chose to come even though He knew it meant His own death.

Like the fire Captain in our story, what a devastating choice that was for Jesus.

But what a glorious choice that is for you and for me.

The fire Captain left the comfort of his fire station to go up into the highrise to save as many as he could, knowing that death awaited him. Jesus left His life in heaven with the Father to come down into the earth to save as many as He could.

Praise God in the highest for in spite of the terrible death that awaited Him, Jesus chose to come for you and for me, to save us, for God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:17)

Paul, speaking of Jesus, said,

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

Philippians 2:6-8

Thank you Lord for choosing to come down to save us.

Glory to God in the highest!

Merry Christmas!


References:

Bible Gateway

Jon Courson

Photo by drproehl