TITLE: Saint, Sinner, Slugger
DATE: December 15, 2018
TEXT: John 1:14 (ESV) - And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
It is impossible for the wisest scholar to separate legend from the reality when it comes to the fourth century Turkish bishop. Best sources say he was arrested, imprisoned and tortured for his faith. That was during the persecutions of Diocletian and Maximian. Traditions say he was invited to the First Ecumenical Council of Nicea in 325.
After that whole truth and almost truth kind of blur together,
At Nicea, we are told, he vehemently defended the deity of the Savior against any and all detractors. So strongly did he bear witness to Jesus Who is Son of God and Son of Man that he actually slapped the heretic, a fellow named Arius, in the face for speaking against Jesus.
Because of that action, he was officially demoted from the position of bishop.
The next day, after his accusers were given heavenly visions speaking on his behalf, he was reinstated. After the Council finished, Nicholas, for that was the name of this Bishop, spent the rest of his life helping souls in the Name of the Christ.
His charity and gift giving is still remembered in the person of Saint Nicholas (Santa Claus). Indeed, it has made him, after the Savior, the most recognized individual of Christianity.
Nevertheless, it is right for us to remember first and foremost, Nicholas was the man who was willing to take a stand for the Savior.
Even the most casual of observers ought to notice there are individuals, groups and governments who are still trying to remove Jesus from the manger and the hearts of humankind. They would deny Christ’s deity, complain about His incarnation and ridicule His redemption.
Nevertheless, the coming of God’s Son to seek and save the lost remains the second (after the resurrection) most important event in the history of the world. Jesus’ presence has moved mild men, like Nicholas, to monumental acts of faith, preserved them in times of persecution and made them willing witnesses to the wonderful, forgiving grace of God.
Now this devotion would not encourage you to follow Nicholas and clobber every critic of Christ and Scripture. That would be unacceptable in this politically correct age.
Nevertheless, we can still rejoice in the example of Nicholas, a man who was willing to defend the Redeemer of Scripture.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, raise up powerful witnesses in every age. Give them the wisdom and courage to point lost souls to the Redeemer in Whose we pray. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann, one of my long-ago confirmands. He is singing with three brothers. This song comes from the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html