By My Anonymous Friend
We are into the Advent season and I have been trying to look at the birth of Jesus in new and meaningful ways. I ask myself and here I ask you as well,
Jesus came to offer....... what??
I know most who read this know the answer but let's think together for a moment and perhaps "the reason for the Season" as the saying goes, will take on new meaning for you.
What might Jesus have come to offer?
1. He could have come as a philosopher. By doing so He could have introduced new ideas and concepts for intellectuals and others who cared, to ponder. Perhaps He might have been an innovative philosopher to introduce philosophies that no one ever had thought of before.
2. He could have come as a political reformer. Surely the people of His day longed for political renewal and an overthrow of a repressive Roman regime. Some actually believed (or perhaps just hoped) that indeed Jesus would usher in a new political system. This hope reached its peak on what we now refer to as Palm Sunday. How dreadfully disappointed these folks must have been later that week when Jesus was crucified and it became clear the Roman yoke was not about to be overthrown.
3. He could have come as a scientist or researcher. Perhaps He could have found a cure for the ravaging diseases of His day. In our day cancer would come to mind. How noble it would have been for Jesus to come to usher in an end to disease and suffering.
4. He could have come as a consultant or life coach. He could have written books and lectured on how to achieve personal goals, how to be a better leader, and how to live a happy and profitable life.
5. There are other possibilities: therapist, social worker, engineer,--- add your own list.
All the above would have had degrees of merit. The world would have been a better place if Jesus had come in any of the scenarios I have described. And, in a sense He was some of the things I listed.
However, had Jesus come only in the capacities mentioned above, it would have been like applying band-aids to the human condition. Humanity needed more than new philosophies or political reform. What was needed was more radical and profound.
Now recall the words of what we call the Benedictus in Luke 1 and the words of the angels to the shepherds in Luke 2. It is clear from these and other references that Jesus had a unique mission that transcended any suggestions I have made above. He came to be a Savior! Why? Because humanity needed saving. Pretty simple. Yet very, very profound.
Some years ago I was called a savior! It is true. I was in an airport waiting to fly to my home. The flight was greatly overbooked and the airline personnel were desperately seeking passengers who might be willing to give up their seats. After I was assured that a flight an hour later had room for me and that I would be rewarded financially for giving my seat up, I volunteered. The person at the check in counter was overwhelmed with gratitude. He said to me with passion,
"Thank you! Thank you! May I call you Jesus?"
I assumed he used that term because I had been a "savior" of sorts so I replied, "No, not really! I know Jesus personally and I do not think I qualify to bear His name!"
That led to an interesting discussion as you can imagine.
My point is that when we use the word "Savior" with regard to Jesus, the meaning is enormous. I have the ability to "save" an airline a measure of embarrassment for selling more seats than the plane has on board, but in no way whatsoever can I or anyone else be the kind of Savior Jesus was and is.
He saves people from their sins! Only a perfect sacrifice (lamb) can make this kind of saving efficacious. Jesus fit the bill perfectly.
So, my hope is that somehow the well worn and familiar words and expressions of Christmas will take on new meanings to you this year.
"Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord!" (Luke 2:10-11).