“Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy, ‘Do you hear what I hear?
A song, a song, high above the trees with a voice as big as the sea…’
What exactly do people hear when the gospel is presented to them for the first time? I guess it all depends on whether God has begun to open the eyes that satan has blinded and soften the hears that naturally harden toward Him with age.
This is a season of opportunity for the gospel but a hectic and often crushing one that blurs the Good News of God’s gift to mankind in the baby Jesus. I sat at a banquet earlier this week attended by the motley crew of us who work at our local Thrift store. Some of us are familiar with the Gospel, having found it to be Good News in our own lives. Others are still holding it at arm’s length, or perhaps have never really heard it? A speaker got up and talked about teamwork and community and worked his way round to sharing the essence of the Gospel. And I wondered, what do people hear when the Gospel is spoken so clearly? Does it even make sense? That God is good and man is not and God sent Jesus to rescue us from a certain doom and make a way for us to enjoy peace with God… It’s bad news before it’s good news. But it’s all so contrary to the way the world perceives and portrays God, if they acknowledge Him at all. “Acts of God” include tornadoes and earthquakes, death and violent winds, but Love?! Grace?! Forgiveness?! Somehow these go unsung.
In my reading this week, perhaps because I’ve been busy wrapping surprises, I keep seeing God’s gifts and His outrageous goodness. Have a look with me:
And what a difference between our sin and God’s generous gift of forgiveness…Jesus Christ brought forgiveness to many through God’s bountiful gift.
For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but we have the free gift of being accepted by God, even though we are guilty of many sins.
…all who receive God’s wonderful, gracious gift of righteousness will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. —Rom.:15-17NLT
… because of the surpassing grace of God in you. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! —II Cor.9:14-15 NASB
If the Good News we preach is veiled from anyone, it is a sign that they are perishing. Satan, the god of this evil world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe, so they are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News that is shining upon them. They don’t understand the message we preach about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God. —II Cor.4:3,4
Then I read this morning Paul’s continued prayer for the believers in Colosse. Marveling at the love that already characterized their lives he prayed that they might have spiritual wisdom to live always in God-honoring ways. And in that process they would come to know God better and better. He also prayed that they would have endurance, fueled by the very power of God so that they might be
“filled with joy, always thanking the Father, who has enabled you to share the inheritance that belongs to God’s holy people, who live in the light. For he has rescued us from the one who rules in the kingdom of darkness, and he has brought us ino the Kingdom of his dear Son”
God has purchased our freedom and forgiven all our sins (Col.1:14) through this Jesus whose birth we celebrate at Christmastime. Paul spends the whole rest of Colossians chapter one extolling His virtues. To know and love Him is life’s highest privilege and joy.
Do you hear what I hear?
May the joy of this Good News be a contagion to those we are near this Christmas-time! Glory be to God in the Highest!