TITLE: Wanted: Dead or Alive
DATE: December 23, 2018
TEXT: Luke 2:10 - ESV - 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
In the 1700’s, a deadly plague came to a small village in Lithuania.
The most obvious symptom of the pestilence was this: immediately upon contracting the illness the person fell into a death-like coma. Although a small percentage survived, most victims succumbed within 24 hours. The great problem was this, the medical personnel couldn’t tell if someone was dead or alive.
Nobody got too concerned, until it was revealed one of the sick had been buried alive.
A town meeting was quickly called to decide how to prevent a repetition of the tragedy. Two solutions were proposed. The first was: put food and water in every casket and provide an air hole to the surface. Using that air hole, a revived individual could call for help.
Everyone knew, this would be time consuming and costly, but worthwhile if it saved lives.
The second solution was faster, easier and less expensive.
This second group suggested every casket be equipped with a giant spike which would be located in the lid of the casket, directly above the heart of the “dearly beloved.” One group wanted everyone to be able to escape from the grave, the other wanted to be sure everybody stays in their grave.
Since Adam and Eve first fell into sin, there has been a similar battle for our souls’ eternal end.
Two ideas have been put forth: the first suggests, and demands, that sinners, without exception, should die temporally and eternally as the penalty price for their sins. The other proposal comes from the Lord Who desires all to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
Of course the Father’s plan is far more costly than the other. This plan calls for a great payment to be made to buy back our souls. That payment, as we are blessed to know, came from the sacrifice of the life of God’s own Son.
To make the reconciliation between God and man into a reality, the Christ, true Man and true God, was born in Bethlehem. In that ancient town of prophecy, Jesus began His life which would fulfill every commandment and resist every temptation until it ended in His substitutionary sacrifice on Calvary’s cross… and in the victory of Resurrection morn.
This our Lord willingly did so the grave would lose its sting and death would forfeit its victory.
Today, because God's plan has been finished, the words of the Christmas angel find a truth which truly is good news of great joy for all people, in every place, in ever time. We have good news which says, ‘we can live forever, because of the newborn King.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks for Your gracious promise and plan which was designed to save sinful humanity. Let me rejoice in the fulfillment of that plan which is free to me, but costly to the Christ Who had to die so I might live. Finally, this day I pray for the many millions who still do not know; who do not believe; who are not saved. Touch their hearts, O Lord. In Jesus’ Name I pray. 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