(12/19) One of the things I enjoy about the Christmas season is the Christmas Specials on TV. Not only do I look forward to the old movies, Like the Christmas Carol, and Itís a Wonderful Life, and a Christmas Story with Ralphie, but I enjoy the Hallmark movies, but I take exception to them for this reason, Jesus is absent from most. They are about
finding love at Christmas, or misers becoming benevolent, but few are about Jesus. Although it was a little crude in language, A Medea Christmas was partly about keeping a Christ in a town Christmas pageant and it was funny.
Still one of the best is the animated Charlie Brown Christmas, when a frustrated and humiliated Charlie Brown yells out, "Canít anybody tell me what Christmas is a about? Then Linus proceeds to tell him and everyone the story of the angels announcing to the Shepherds, the birth of a Savior who is Christ the Lord. "Thatís what Christmas is all about
Sadly, whether we blame it on the world, the flesh, or the devil, Christmas has become everything other than a celebration of the birth of a Savior.
- Retailers focus on finishing the year in the black
- Moms focus on cookies and baking
- Companies focus on parties
- Children focus on a jolly old elf with a sleigh full of gifts
- Churches focus on pageants
- TV focuses on snowmen, Grinchís, and white Christmasí
- People focus on Charites and benevolence
- Families focus on decorations and trees and cards
- Political Correctness focuses Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas. We went to Ollies a while back and tried to find Christmas cards that focused on Jesus. It looked like thousands of boxes of cards on a table, yet only a few were a reminder that Christmas is about Jesus.
Now, while most Christmas sermons are about Angels, Shepherds, Wise men, Godly Mary and Joseph, and an inn with a No Vacancy sign, I want to return to the words of our Lord Jesus. It has been 3 years ago, already, but I did a series called Christmas According to Jesus. We used statements made by our Lord that stated why He came to us. We looked at:
- Matthew 20:25-28, "But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your
slaveó 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." Why did He come to us? To Serve and To Sacrifice!
- Luke 19:9-10, "And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." Why did Jesus come to us? To Seek and To Save the Lost.
- John 6:51, "I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world." Why did Jesus come to us? To Secure and Sustain us.
- John 18:37, "Pilate therefore said to Him, "Are You a king then?"
Jesus answered, "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice." Why did Jesus come to us? To Show and Speak Truth. From there we launched a series on 8 Great Lies America has Embraced.
But one Sunday around Christmas in 2013 we had snow and so we did not do this or the next one. -To Give Sight and To Give Satisfaction from John chapters 9 and 10.
Turn to John chapter 9. John 9 is a familiar passage. It is about a man begging near the temple as many infirmed people did. Religious people should be charitable people, so day after day he sat there. He had never been able to see. I canít read this without thinking of people like Helen Keller or Fanny Crosby (who wrote numerous hymns), or performers
like Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, or Ronnie Milsap. I donít know about you but I am so grateful for sight. To be able to see the beauty of nature, and its sunrises and sunsets, and the faces of my children and grandchildren, and wife. Last year we watched the Billy Graham special, My Hope, that featured an Army captain whose sight was taken by a suicide car bomb, and how he
ended up doing a triathlon.
Blinded from birth, apparently, he was judged as one who was being punished for either his or his parentís sin. Then he met Jesus. Jesus made new eyes for him (my opinion) and told him to go and wash and he did. He received his sight and as a result was grilled by the religious police. When he defended Jesus as being from God and the cause of his being
able to see. He was put of the temple, excommunicated, to be shunned by the community, because he spoke truth and had met Jesus.
The Jesus found him again and asked him if he believed. The man was eager to place his faith in the Messiah.
Now there are a lot various lessons in this story about disabilities, the plan of God, faith and more, but there is an overall point to this chapter. It starts in verses 3-5 and then picks up in verses 39-41. Jesus came to be the light if the world. What He claimed back in 8:12 He illustrates in chapter 9.
Apart from Jesus every human being is as blind as this man is in this chapter. Throughout the whole Bible, blindness is used metaphorically to represent the human condition of being born in sin, born without the life of God, and the inability to comprehend God and divine truth.
- We are all born blind. (Isa 43:8; Jer, 5:21) Eyes to see but we donít see. Oh we see the horizontal, but we donít see the vertical. We donít see the need for humility, grace, forgiveness, and Christ. We donít see the need to love others in a self-less way. We donít see our own need for a savior.
- We are blinded by the evil one Ė 2 Cor. 4:1-4. Blinded by philosophy, personal causes, religion, and self-righteousness. Every year at Christmas, the story of Jesus is blocked out by everything else, and while Saint Nicolaus is rooted in a real Christian man who gave, his legend and everything that has become associated with Christmas has blinded
people to the reason for the season.
- We are Blinded by blind people who think they can see. (Isa. 6:9; Eph. 4:17; Matthew 15:14, Then His disciples came and said to Him, "Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?"
13 But He answered and said, "Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. 14 Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch." Religion blinds people. They think by keeping the rituals of the religion that they are right with God and they are blind to the
truth as these people in this chapter and as they ask in verse 40. It is interesting to me that when God went after Saul of Tarsus, that rogue rabbi, who was on the fast track to the top of his profession; that wonder-boy who thought he had and knew it all, the first thing God did was to make him blind until He was baptized. In his religion and faith he did not or would not
or could not see that the Bible, the O.T. that Paul had was all about Jesus (John 5:39-40). But when his eyes were opened so was his understanding and he could see, that this Jesus he had been persecuting was the Messiah God had promised.
And what was Paulís assignment? Look at Acts 26:18, "But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. 17 I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send
you, 18 to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.í
By our Lordís own admission, one of the reasons He came to us was to give us light and our sight. We need light to see. Light in this case represents the reality of truth. Truth about ourselves, about God, about our lost-ness, and about Godís grace. Truth about how to live holy lives. Set apart for Godís glory and our own good. Truth about the goodness
of this Book and how it directs us to live and love. Truth that we are to communicate.
35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, "Do you believe in the Son of God?"
36 He answered and said, "Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?"
37 And Jesus said to him, "You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you."
38 Then he said, "Lord, I believe!" And he worshiped Him.
39 And Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind."
40 Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, "Are we blind also?"
41 Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ĎWe see.í Therefore your sin remains.
1. Sight should result in worship.
2. Jesus came to give sight to the blind
3. Every rejection intentional or no, adds to onesí condemnation (John 3:17ff, 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.18 "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son
of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done
a. The promises and truth of Jesus are all over the Bible both Old and New Testaments
b. The words of Jesus are unlike any words ever spoken by anyone and are evidence of who He is
c. The works of Jesus culminating in His death, resurrection, and ascension are proof of who He is and yet the world refuses to see Him or the truth. Yet Nicodemus saw it, as did Joseph of Arimathea. (Cp. John 3:17-21)
4. No one can receive sight unless Jesus seeks him. He came to seek and to save. (Luke 19:10 cp. John 6:44). He is the good shepherd. He is the hound of heaven. He is pursing people to change their sight
5. He uses us to draw people to Himself. Our words, our testimony, our changed lives, our explanation of the truth of Scripture to draw people to Jesus. Otherwise he would not have given Paul Acts 26:18, and Paul would not have given us 2 Cor. 4:1-6. "Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. 2 But we have
renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every manís conscience in the sight of God. 3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the
gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesusí sake. 6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."
6. Sight comes from personal faith. vv. 35-38 Faith will confess that Jesus is Lord. Not just a good man, but the Lord, master, creator, and God of the universe. That Jesus can rescue us and give us sight. No one else can.
Who do you know that is blind this Christmas? Would you just ask them, "What do you think of when you think about Christmas? Then proceed to clarify the story of Jesus. This is why Jesus came. He wants you to see.
We demonstrate this every Christmas eve when we use one candle -our candle to light our neighbors candle until every candle is lit. Thatís the plan of salvation. Thatís why Jesus came
If any of these messages have encouraged you, or if you have any questions please let me know. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you. And I promise, I will never ask you for money, nor place you on any mailing list.
Read other thoughtful writings by Pastor Gary Buchman