by Tom Goodman
December 16, 2009
Christmas Eve Service
December 24 @ 6:00 p.m.
We don't really think about John the Baptist at Christmas. But someone reading the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke for the very first time would think it's as much about John as it is about Jesus.
For the first 80 verses of Luke's Gospel, he goes into great detail about the birth of John: Gabriel's announcement to Zechariah, Elizabeth's pregnancy, the naming of the baby, and even Zechariah's song of celebration.
Here's what I learn from Luke's first chapter: God didn't just send his Son; God prepared a preparer. God considered it an essential part of that first Christmas to put a man in the world whose only job was to build expectancy for Jesus.
Even today, listen to the story of how someone came to Christ and you will always hear about a preparer:
- Before Jesus comes into a child's life, God involves a children's worker with that child to prepare the way.
- Before Jesus comes into a teen's life, God places a friend or a youth worker in that life to prepare the way.
- Before Jesus comes into a man's life, God stirs the heart of that man's Christian co-worker to prepare the way -- building friendship with him, answering his questions, helping him break down his misconceptions about Christ.
God still prepares preparers today, just as he did that first Christmas. It's exciting to see people at Hillcrest waking up to the fact that they are to be preparers for the Messiah. With the friendships they build and the needs they meet
and the interest they show and the kindness they extend, they are building curiosity toward our Lord in the hearts of others. Just yesterday in my Common Ground group, I got another glimpse of that missionary spirit as someone talked about the
burden she had for her unconverted friends.
Thomas Kelly once said that God "plucks the world out of our hearts" and then "he hurls the world into our hearts, where we and He together carry it in infinitely tender love." I like that.
I wonder if you've only grasped the first part of Kelly's words but not the second. John was born to turn attention to Jesus, and that's your job, too.
This Sunday, December 20, we're going to camp out in the first chapter of Luke and discover that God has made us "preparers" like John. Join us at 10!
Weblog: Check out my blog, "Get Anchored." Some things to look for...
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