It has been the custom at our house for many years for all of the
children to come home on Christmas morning, bringing all of the inlaws,
the outlaws, grandchildren and even the great-grandchildren, bringing arm
loads of packages, neatly wrapped and a name on each for everyone. And
when they all get here someone distributes them to the owner and we all
begin to unwrap them (some faster than others), no one refuses his gift
and we all give thanks for them. Now
we can really see what the gifts really are. The house looks like a
disaster area but the girls soon clean it all up and things are back to
normal again. And everybody is Happy. Now why do you think I have told
you a story like this?
Well, now I want to tell you one from the Bible where God has given a gift, not just to an individual, not just to a family or even to a nation but to the entire world.
We read in Luke's gospel, chapter 2, "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night, and lo the angel of the Lord came upon them and the glory of the Lord shone round about them and they were sore afraid, and the angel said unto them Fear not for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to ALL PEOPLE, for unto you is born this day in the city of David a SAVIOUR which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you, Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger."
Now if we never got any farther with this story than that which I have already written, A babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger he would be of very little value to anyone, but God chose Matthew, Mark, Luke and John to (Spiritually) remove the Swaddling clothes and show us what He really had wrapped in them. Matthew does it very slowly, telling us about the Wise Men coming to worship Him and giving Him gifts, also about his parents fleeing to Egypt so King Herod would not kill Him, Luke telling the story that I have already written, Mark saying nothing about His childhood but when you come to the Gospel of John, he removes the Swaddling clothes immediately and gives us a picture of the ETERNAL SON OF GOD.
John begins his gospel with, "In the beginning was the WORD and the WORD was with God and the WORD was God, the same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him and without Him was nothing made that was made." And in verse 14 we read "And the WORD was made flesh and dwelt among us." He is introduced to us immediately as the Creator of the universe and in verse 29 we read "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." There we have Him as the REDEEMER of mankind, all in the first chapter. Now in chapter 2 we find what this man can do. He is called to a Wedding feast and they run out of wine which seemed to be a catastrophe in those eastern countries. He sees 6 empty vessels holding about 25 gallons each and He tells the servants to fill them with water and they filled them to the brim. Now He said Draw out now and give to the Governor of the feast and behold it was the best wine they had that day.
There was a man there that day and saw that miracle (His name was Nicodemus) and he was the religious ruler of the Jewish Nation and he knew at once that this was a Teacher come from God and he wanted to have an interview with him so he came to Jesus by night (Just why we are not told) and had a conversation with him and Jesus told him that "Except a man be BORN AGAIN he can neither see nor enter the Kingdom of God." Nicodemus does not understand and finally says, "How can these things be." Jesus called his attention to a scene in Numbers chapter 21 where the people of God had sinned and He sent poison snakes among them and they bit the people and many died. Then God told Moses to make a fiery serpent and put it on a pole and when any man was bitten, if he would just LOOK at the serpent on the pole he would live. "And it came to pass that if ANY MAN was bitten, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived." Now Nicodemus, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so MUST the Son of Man be lifted up" (Not on a pole but on the Cross of Calvary) "that WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
Nicodemus believed in Him and was BORN AGAIN as the Scripture later on tells us. In chapter 4 we find Him in conversation with a woman of Samaria who had 5 husbands and was living with one now who was not her husband and surely knew her need of being SAVED. She is surprised that He being a Jew would even ask her for a drink of water (Which He did). He said to her, "Woman if you knew the GIFT OF GOD and who you are talking to, you would have asked of Him and He would have given you LIVING WATER." She doesn’t understand where He would get this ‘living water' so He says, "Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall NEVER THiRST." She said Sir, give me this water. What do you say? She Believed in Him right there and was SAVED and became a good testimony to the men in the city where she lived and many more got SAVED. In John chapter 5:24 Jesus said, "Verily, verily I SAY UNTO YOU, He that heareth My word and believeth on Him that sent Me HATH EVERLASTING LIFE and shall not come into CONDEMNATION but is passed from death unto life."
In chapter 6 we find Him feeding the multitude (Five thousand men beside women and children) with 5 small loaves and 2 small fishes and they all had all they could eat and plenty left. Then they wanted to take Him by force and make Him their King because He could feed them on practically nothing but He said, "Labor not for the meat that perishes but for that which endureth unto everlasting life which the Son of Man shall GIVE unto you." Then they said, "What shall we do that we might work the works of God?" Jesus said "This is the work of God that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent." What would your answer have been to that question? In verse 35 Jesus said, "I am the bread of life, he that cometh to me shall NEVER HUNGER and he that believeth on Me shall NEVER THIRST." And in verse 37 He said, "All that the Father giveth Me shall come unto Me and him that cometh unto Me I WILL IN NO WISE CAST OUT." John has really taken away the Swaddling clothes from the Babe in the manager and is revealing to us the MIGHTY GOD and the SAVIOUR of mankind.
In chapter 9 we find Him opening the eyes of one that was born blind, a feat never done before nor since. In chapter 10:9, He said "I am the door, by Me if any man enter in" (just a step of faith), "he shall be SAVED." In verse 11 He said "I am the good shepherd, the good shepherd giveth His life for the sheep," and in verse 27-29 He said, "My sheep hear My voice and I know them and they FOLLOW ME, and I give unto them ETERNAL LIFE and they shall NEVER perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand, My Father which gave them Me is greater than all and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand."
In chapter 11 we find Him raising a man from the dead who had been dead and buried four days and had been embalmed. Then in chapter 19 they led Him out to the hill called Calvary and nailed Him to a cross and left Him to die. What had He done? Why was He there? He was there my friend dying for your sins and mine as Peter says in 1st Peter 2:24,"Who His own self bare our sins in His OWN BODY on the tree." God the Father laid them on Him for we read in Isaiah 53:6."All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way and the Lord hath laid on Him THE INIQUITY OF US ALL." Praise the Lord. They buried Him in Joseph’s new tomb but in three days He Rose Again as He said He would and a little later on he ascended back up to Heaven and in Acts chapter 1 the disciples were watching as He went up and two angels appeared and said, "Why stand ye gazing up into Heaven, this SAME JESUS that ye have seen taken up from you into Heaven shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into Heaven." And in 1st Thessalonians chapter 4:13-18, we have the detailed account of it.
Are you ready for His coming? What a wonderful SAVIOUR we found when we removed those Swaddling clothes and found the CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE and the SAVIOUR OF MANKIND was once the Babe in the manager at Bethlehem.
Dear friend, if you have never received Him as your Saviour and Lord, Please do it today, tomorrow may he too late. He is the best gift you will ever receive for He gives ETERNAL LIFE as a free gift to Whosoever will. You will have Peace with God that the world cannot give neither can it take it away and you will say in the language of 2nd Corinthians 9:15, "Thanks be unto God for His UNSPEAKABLE GIFT."