First, because we have so many listeners from the USA, I want to say, Happy Thanksgiving, to all of you listening in from across the pond. I hope you have an excellent holiday weekend. And I wish everyone, on both sides of the Atlantic, a peaceful Black Friday. I know I plan to spend it, safely locked up inside my office. I am not headed for Aberdeen, Inverness, Elgin, or even down East Church street here in Buckie. So, if you venture out, good luck. Be safe. And I hope you find a bargain.
It’s really hard for me to believe that Christmas season is here again. It seems just yesterday I was filming the leaves appearing on the rose bushes, as a first sign of spring. And the appearance of daffodils. But here we are, with dark mornings, and the sun setting before 4 pm. And getting ready to decorate our houses for the season. Unless you live in our house, where my wife decorated the tree in October! I’m serious. Our tree was up in October. She loves the season.
What about you? Do you love Christmas? Why? Do you even remember, with all of the trees, and lights, and presents, and feasts. That its a celebration of Jesus Birthday. I ask, because, I don’t see it out in the open anywhere. You don’t see many nativity scenes anymore. At least not out in public. You can’t even find Faith Based Christmas Cards in the shops. At least not many. Seriously, it’s like we’ve just decided to have a mid winter Holiday Celebration for no reason at all. And that’s just weird.
In fact, I’m going to come out and ask you. Do you think of Jesus at all during this season? That’s not an attack, it’s an honest question. Actually, I’m going to take the question a step further, Do you think of Jesus really at all? And if I asked you Who is He? What would you say?
A few year ago, I knocked on thousands of doors in Buckie, and asked, among other questions, “Who do you believe Jesus is?” I got some very interesting answers. But the fact is, most people answered, “I don’t know.” Now, to be fair, I did make the mistake of starting the project on week nights during the World Cup, and got a lot, of answers like,’I’m watching the match, Mate. I don’t have time for this.”
So first of all, I should have known better than to do my survey when people were having another ‘religious’ service, but I was young.
But the world cup isn’t going on at the moment, and it’s been forever since Scotland participated, Besides, I never got to ask you, but Who do you think Jesus is?
There are 4 books in the Bible, that exist, just to answer that question. Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John. In Church we call those the Gospels. Gospel is just an old word that means ‘good news.’ So that’s a hint about what those writers thought. They thought Jesus was Good News.
I’ve met lots of people who, quite frankly, scratch their heads at that. They might not think of Him very often, but rarely do they think of him as good news. They think, well the dude got killed, crucified, in fact, I’m not sure there’s a lot to celebrate in that. Or, they think Jesus came as the ultimate party pooper to spoil our fun and to make us live in a straight jacket.
I’m going to spend the next few minutes telling you who the Bible really says, He really is. And I hope you’ll stay plugged in.
First, about those gospels. One of the crazy things about them is, and not a lot of people look at them this way, is they are not biographies. First, not many people like biographies. I prefer to think of them as memories of Jesus. Highlights from his life. You know, kind of like when we get together and reminisce about someone. Someone tells a story, someone else says, oh yeah, remember when he or she did this or said that, and pretty soon we’re all absorbed in reliving a holiday, or family life, or the life of someone we cared about. Well, the Gospels are exactly like that. They are not a biography, they aren’t even always in chronological order. They are memories of things Jesus, did. Things he said, and places he went. And that alone makes them fascinating.
Because it’s Christmas time, I’m going to mostly stick to the gospel of Luke. That’s because, Luke and Matthew are the only two that even talk about when Jesus was born. Because these are ‘memories’ of Jesus, Mark and John don’t have any memories about when Jesus was born. Luke, interviewed people to get their memories, and he tells the story from Jesus Mother’s perspective. Matthew, tells the story from Joseph’s perspective. So you get some different’ stories. How cool is that. But anyway, we’ll mostly stick to what Luke has to say about who Jesus is.
In chapter 1, he tells about how Mary was visited by Gabriel, and angel, and told that she would have a baby in 9 months, and the baby would be called, the son of God. That’s in verses 32 and 35 of the first chapter if you want to check it out. In the chapter we discover that Mary is still a virgin, and she has questions about how the pregnancy is going to happen. See, Mary might have been from a small town, but she knew where babies came from. It’s a really cool interaction. You should read it. You can hit pause and do it now. I won’t be offended. I’ll wait. Or, you can wait till we’re done. That’s fine too.
Over in Chapter 2, we have the part where angels visited a group of shepherds the night Jesus was born and they told them, unto you is born, this night, in the city of David, a saviour, Christ, the Lord. Then they tell the shepherd where to find Jesus. So the shepherds, a whole gaggle of them, go to Bethlehem, to find the baby. And they raid the stable, and interrupt the whole experience. It’s pretty funny when you think about it.
For Joseph, Mary, and Jesus, their whole night is messed up, invaded. But for the shepherds, this is awesome. The angels had told them that this kid, was their messiah, their savior. And they just had to see him.
In chapter 4, verse 3, we’ve got the devil entering the picture. Jesus is a man now, and the devil is tempting him. He says…If you’re the son of God…. Hmm. Jesus seems to know who he is and what his role in life is, and Satan tries to get him to question it, or to lord it over creation and get whatever he wants.
From there, the rest of the Book of Luke, is a catalog of things Jesus said and did, during his ministry. All his teaching, and miracle after miracle. There were hundreds, even thousands of witnesses to these things. Luke just tells them, one after another. You’ll be amazed by the people Jesus helped and even saved. He’s not a party pooper at all. He makes people celebrate every day.
Then the drama at the end. Jesus is accused of blasphemy, arrested, goes through a kind of mock trial. A kind of kangaroo court, and sentenced to death. You’ll go, what? How can anybody get a death sentence for healing people, for feeding them, for loving them? But you see, it wasn’t because of those things….it was because he said he was God, in the flesh. And the Jewish leaders couldn’t take it. But, they were foiled, because they killed Jesus on Friday, but on Sunday, he was up. Alive. Risen. And everything changed.
I encourage you to read the whole letter Luke wrote. It’s amazing. You will have no doubt who Jesus is. Then read the book of Acts, also written by Luke for find out what to do about it.
But there are a couple of other things from some other gospel stories I want to call your attention to. In John’s Gospel, that’s the 4th book in the new testament, in chapter 3: verses 16 and 17 we read, ‘For God so love the world, that he gave his one and only son, and whoever believes will not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send his son to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
That’s amazing. And it’s night and day different from what most people seem to think God wants. We think his whole plan is to through lightning bolts at our backsides and make us mind. But he wants to rescue us from ourselves and the consequences of our bad choices.
Another one of my favorite verses in in Matthew’s Gospel. In Chapter 11 verse 28 Jesus says, Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Jesus sees us right where we are. He knows just how hard our lives have become. And he says, come to me. Don’t fight. Don’t turn away. Come to me, and I will give you rest.
I have to ask. Are you weary and burdened. Do you sometimes wonder what the whole point is, and when the stupid carousel is going to stop spinning? I want you to know, Jesus says, he will stop the spinning. He’ll give you rest.
If you are at a point where you want the kind of rest Jesus is offering. Just write to me and say so. I will get back with you. It’s that important.
So, If you want to know who Jesus is, read the Gospels. I recommend you start with Luke.
Next week, I’ll end this heavy stuff for a while. We’ll have some fun. Until then, take care. Stay warm. And spread the word about Radio Free Buckie. We’re here. We’re telling the truth. And we don’t care who hears it. For now. I’m out.