2019 | Week of December 23 | Radio Transcript #1339
Biographies and autobiographies are very near the top of my list of reading material. The stories of real-life individuals are compelling and mesmerizing, even when I know how the story ends. Perhaps that’s why I took my pastor’s challenge the first Sunday in December to read a chapter a day from the book of Luke during December. Luke tells the story of Jesus, from beginning to end—a story unlike any other about a person Who was and is unlike any other, whose story from beginning to end deserves frequent retelling.
And so I listened intently this past Sunday as my pastor’s Christmas sermon included this phrase repeated enthusiastically and appropriately several times throughout the message, “the Christmas story is worth telling!” As I reflected on that, my mind went to one of my favorite Gospel songs, “Tell Me the Story of Jesus.”
The first verse of this Fanny Crosby song, which is a poetical biography of our Lord, captures the essence of Christmas:
“Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard.
Tell how the angels in chorus,
Sang as they welcomed His birth,
‘Glory to God in the highest!
Peace and good tidings to earth.’
The three remaining verses rightly finish the story. In truth, the story of Christmas is the story of Jesus—the story of the God-Man, our Savior.
Much is made this time of year of the Babe in Bethlehem—and rightly so. God becoming flesh and living among us as one of us is a major part of the story of Jesus. When you consider it is very possible that Mary gave birth to Jesus in the place where sheep were born which were going to be slaughtered one day in the temple worship as the required sacrifice, the story becomes even more meaningful as we ponder that Jesus was the Lamb of God Who came to take away the sin of the world.
We read with wonder and awe as the shepherds on the hillside outside Bethlehem—likely watching sheep being raised for sacrifices—were visited by not just one angel but a host of angels telling them that a Savior was born. We rejoice as they head to Bethlehem in obedience to the angels to see the Christ child and share the good news.
But the story doesn’t stop with this miraculous birth; it’s just the beginning. By the end of Luke chapter 2, we know Jesus increased in wisdom, and stature and in favor with God and man. We then learn of His three-year earthly ministry of teaching; of choosing, commissioning and preparing His disciples; of healing; and of challenging religious leaders.
Finally, we read of Jesus’s betrayal, arrest, unfair trial, and ultimate crucifixion, where the Lamb of God was sacrificed for you and me—and then of His glorious, victorious bodily resurrection. And still the story continues, as He appears to over 500 people in His resurrected body and soon ascends into Heaven where even now the story continues as He sits at the right hand of the Father, interceding for those of us who are truly part of God’s family, and waiting to hear from His Father, “It’s time.” The preview we have of that part of the story must also be part of the story of Jesus—when He returns in glory and majesty, not as a babe in a manger, but as a conquering king and raptures believers and ultimately asserts His rightful role as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. How can there be any story more compelling?
Social media and mainstream media are full of stories today. With the click of a button, people share stories they like with hundreds, sometimes thousands and more, some even hitting the coveted “viral” status. But the story of Jesus goes much too often today untold and unshared.
This week affords an incredible opportunity for us to tell the story of Jesus, to help write it on our own hearts and on the hearts of others, because when that story is written on our hearts, we become children of God, joint heirs with Jesus Christ, with our sins forgiven and our eternity secured. The story of Jesus isn’t just the sweetest story ever heard; it’s the most powerful, life-changing, eternity-changing story ever told.
This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council wishing you and your family a blessed Christmas and reminding you the Prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”