Hey everyone, as the big day is slowing coming towards us, I thought I might share with you the preach I did on Christmas Day 2015. Hope you all have a blessed Christmas break and I shall be back soon.
Good morning everyone, and a very Merry Christmas to all of you. Guys! It’s Christmas! I hope you’ve all had a great day so far, and I just pray that God has graced me to give you yet another present in this Christmas morning. If I can ask you to turn to Luke chapter 1 and we’re going to read from verse 39 to 45. Context to this? Okay. 6 months prior to what we’re about to read occurred. John the Baptist was conceived from within his Mother’s womb thanks to the grace of God (and help from Zechariah), now Mary (Elizabeth’s cousin) has been told by Gabriel that she is now with child and it’ll be from the Holy Spirit! No man needed! A few days later, Mary probably got her results back (I’m not really sure how) to show she was pregnant and went to go tell Elizabeth what’s happened. This is what happened.
A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. Why am I so honoured, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.” – Luke 1:39-45
I particularly like the last bit, “You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said”. One because it took bit of a jab at Zechariah (zipped shut). But also it shows that Mary trusted what God had to say. God spoke truth into her life and she took it and did what she was asked to do. Truth, that’s something we don’t get a lot of isn’t it? Whenever we are out in the world, we are surrounded by lies and any alternatives other than the truth. You’ll see products that will say “90% fat free!” So what you mean is 10% fat? Because that is what you’re saying. It’s a good thing then that we can open up one of this and see 100% truth right in front of us, and it’s good thing that there is someone that we can go if we need the truth. That someone is Jesus. So I think in order to continue with this little theme that we’ve had these past few weeks we’ve been on bit of a theme and I think we can continue that theme with this. Jesus: the Gift of Truth.
What is Truth?
But what is truth you may ask? Well we can start by saying that Jesus is the truth. John 14:6 says that he is “the way, the truth and the life.” But if you’d like to be a bit more specific. In the English dictionary it says truth is: the quality or state of being true. (Pretty boring) But if we look at what the word truth means in Greek which is αληθεια (aletheia), now this is what aletheia means: reality, fact, opposite of falsehood, error or wrong. So with that in mind, Jesus told us that he lacks all wrong. He is completely correct, and real. Also, truth genuinely means pretty much, something that is right, all the time. You may hear people when Christianity is in conversation someone may say “Well all that might be true for you, but it isn’t my cup of tea.” Which from a first glance seems reasonable, but what if the topic was different. Let’s say we’re on the top of the Empire State Building, one of the tallest buildings in the world, 433 metres tall (to the tip!). You’re with a friend of yours and they’re at the edge, they then turn to you and say “I can fly, just watch me!” And as they jump over the railing you don’t then say “Well all that might be true for you, but for me-“ NO! You’ll freak out, you’ll scream “No! Don’t jump! You’ll fall!” Because whether you don’t believe in gravity or not, it’s real. That my friends, is what Jesus is to us.
C.S. Lewis wrote this “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.” If I can ask you to do one thing this Christmas day, or any other day for that matter, let’s not make Jesus “moderately important”. Let’s not dust him off every Sunday or Christmas time, and then shove him back in the attic. Let’s make him an essential part of our lives, all day, every day.
Jesus Speaking & Doing Truth
Now Jesus said that he was the truth, which means that he was right all the time? Any evidence for this? Well if you look around, we are currently in a building which worships this person that claims everything he said to be true, so let’s hope he is! Well firstly before Jesus was born, there was a lot of things said about who the Messiah was going to be. That he was going to come from God, that he was going to raise the dead, that he was going to be born of a virgin, be born in Bethlehem, and be from the town of Nazareth. Jesus fulfilled all of the ones that I just said, plus many, many more. He was the son of God, born from a virgin in Bethlehem, was raised in Nazareth and did many miracles including resurrecting a young girl and his friend Lazarus. But other prophecies also included him dying, being crucified, being buried in a rich man’s tomb and being raised from the dead. Jesus fulfilled this also. Praise God! Now there’s one more prophecy, that the Messiah will come back to this planet, then bring God’s children back where they belong, to the Father. And since that everything said of him and what he’ll do has been accomplished, we can be trusted that what he said here will be just as true.
Mary & Elizabeth
So, back to the story. Mary is in the house with Elizabeth, a mute Zechariah and a foetal John the Baptist probably doing the Macarena because of the buzz from the Holy Spirit. Which John is probably a miracle in his own right. Elizabeth and Zechariah are both really old at this certain moment, too old at this point in time to have children. So when earlier in the story, Zechariah goes to the temple and Gabriel says “Zechariah, you and your wife are going to have a son! He’s going to do amazing things, and he will be the beginning for God starting a new ministry that will change the world!” Zechariah can’t really take it in. But Gabriel shuts him up (quite literally). There are two reasons why I think God graced this couple with a son, the first is John is going go out before Jesus, but also to show Mary possibly a familiar story. The story of a couple advanced in years, lacking children and God graced them with a son. Possibly one of the most important stories in the Old Testament, of Abraham and Sarah being the parents of an entire nation. That even though God took his time with giving the two a son, he gave his word. When he tells you something, it is more true than anything imaginable. Guess what? That still applied to Mary. That God will keep his word for her, she will give the world the greatest man that ever lived, period. Jesus. Guess what? That still applies today, for us. Whenever God has promised you something, you can be certain that he will keep his word. Because if there is one thing that God doesn’t do, he doesn’t lie to you just because he feels like it.
Now what do all of these certain stories have in common? Well God spoke truth to multiple people, the ones that we’ve spoken on today just so happen to include babies and parenthood. But these truths in particular had to include some form of trust, both from God and from the two parents. Especially with Mary and Joseph. Joseph didn’t believe Mary to begin with, he actually had plans to divorce her. He wasn’t interested in what she had to say, from his perspective a woman he loved just cheated on him, worst of all she’s pregnant with this guys child! But after he thinks this, he has a dream of an angel telling him to believe Mary because what she says is true! Joseph then had to accept the dream, trust in it, and trust in the woman that just a few days earlier, he thought she was an adulteress.
Now what I’m not telling you is to be gullible, there’s a difference there. Trusting is when you see the situation but you go on hoping there is a good outcome, being gullible is just going on with what anyone tells you. Joseph saw the situation, was very/extremely sceptical but had to trust in God and the woman he loved. The same way how last year for me, I had to trust that God was going to be helping my family and my Mum in particular. I told him most nights, thinking of possible outcomes that “You’d best know what you’re doing mate!” One reading of Narnia later, my Mum got better and all I do is thank God did for us. And I can imagine Mary and Joseph, in Bethlehem, being thankful to God for seeing his beauty and majesty, come down as a baby boy, to save the world.
Which I think is the best gift overall, the title of this talk is Jesus: Gift of Truth, which previously mentioned, is Jesus: Gift of himself. Jesus gave himself for all of us, because he completely, unconditionally loves you. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son that who shall believe in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send his son to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” – John 3:16-17
So, as I conclude. What is the purpose of this message? What do I want you to do after you’ve heard this? Well. The first thing I would like you to do is enjoy your Christmas, but what I would like to leave you with would be. Is Jesus significantly important to you? Or do you take him out once a year? Another thing is do you trust God with everything? If he told you to give your best present away today. Would you do it? Finally I ask you this Christmas season, and every other season would be to spread the truth wherever you go. Just to talk about why Jesus came to this world to begin with, why he came as a baby and why he had to give himself up for our future.
God I just want to thank you that instead of giving us subtle hints on how to live, you gave yourself as an amazing example for us all to live. I just pray that everyone here today has an amazing Christmas day as we celebrate and remember when you came to us as a baby, and you grew to be the saviour of the world. And Lord, I pray that we can listen to what you have to say and tell us everyday and we can trust in you and your word for all of our lives. Amen.