jtrhart

Posts Tagged ‘christmas’

Humble Beginnings

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2007 at 12:28 pm

I came across an opinion article in the Australian titled, “Another year closer to the end for God”. The article doesn’t explicitly state that the author is an atheist, but from paragraphs like this:

The Christmas war, in fact, is rapidly acquiring the status of historical curiosity. In a few years’ time, we’ll have to stage re-enactments, like those Civil War buffs who gather in soggy fields: “Look, George. Those people with the lanterns and the hymn books actually used to believe in the whole Christmas story.”

“Wow. They look so real. What was the Christmas story, Mum?”

and this

Christmas closes another year that has been pretty brutal on the God squadders, a year in which the swelling tide of unbelief crashed further through the structures of our cultural architecture.

it seems that the author is less than enthusiastic towards belief in God. But there was something I found interesting in the article:

You’d have thought (and certainly the pre-Christians did) that the Son of God, when he chose, would enter the world in a way that would leave no doubt who he was or that he existed.

But he chose instead to come in a way that ensured just about the maximum room for doubt; merely another barely noticed nativity in the most miserable of circumstances. If you were lucky enough to be one of those shepherds on the hills around Bethlehem who got the news from the angelic host, or one of the wise men who followed that star, you were lucky. No long, dark night of the soul for you. Instead, just one brilliant flash of celestial light and the secret of the universe was revealed.

So I thought I would comment on this because it is true, Jesus did not come in a way that would leave no doubt as to who he was. He was not born into the royal family of the day that would have left his name in a book of official records. His public ministry was three short years, certainly not a long career by today’s standards. He never traveled farther than a few miles radius of Jerusalem in a day when Rome and Spain were the cultural and intellectual centers of the world. He lived a life of poverty. When he died, he left behind no children, no wife, no house, no estate. His only possessions, his clothing, were gambled over and divided by those who put him to death. He couldn’t even afford a proper burial and ended up being buried (ever so briefly!) in someone else’s tomb. But yet, the effect that Jesus has had on the world has been unparalleled by any human in the history of civilization.

Why did God choose to come to the earth in such an uneventful way? Why not make this whole believing thing easier for people? Why not leave historical records so that there would be no doubt of one’s existence?

If he did, would that have helped?

John said even the people who were right there with Jesus, witnessing miracles that truly could have only been performed by God, did not believe (John 12:37). And this was done to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah (Isaiah 53:1) so that they would not believe:

Render the hearts of this people insensitive,
Their ears dull,
And their eyes dim,
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
Understand with their hearts,
And return and be healed.”
Isaiah 6:10

Or look at the story of Israel. The people witnessed an entire sea split right down the middle so that they could escape Pharaoh’s army and yet they still did not believe that God was with them always and they doubted His power. The point is, people don’t doubt because of lack of evidence, they doubt because of the hardness of their heart.

Jesus came in exactly the way God willed, in humility, as an example for us to follow. How would he have related to the poor if he himself was not so? Would the meek truly listen to him if he was their king with the power to force them to by the sword? What an amazing story, that God became man 2000 years ago and lived the life we could not live ourselves to become the sacrifice we could not provide ourselves to forgive the sins we commit against him who came. Please join me in praying for those who do not believe that salvation is possible through the humble life of Jesus Christ.

Dawkins Surprise: Take 2

In Uncategorized on December 14, 2007 at 7:22 am

A few days ago I posted an article on “famed” atheist Richard Dawkins’ recent comments on the Christmas holiday and tradition. Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote on this today, and here is why I respect him so much:

The sight of an avowed atheist joining in the Christmas chorus is a bit hard to imagine. At the same time, there is something comforting about the idea that even the world’s most famous atheist will move his lips to the songs that celebrate Christ’s birth. Perhaps those words will move from his lips to his head and his heart. We should pray that it might be so.

Look at Dr. Mohler’s heart. He sees a man so lost in his unbelief of Jesus Christ our Lord and what is his reaction: compassion. I am humbled. Please join Dr. Mohler in praying for Dr. Dawkins and all those he has had an influence on.