Are we able to connect Jesus with life as we experience it?
Welcome to Adventist Review’s Retro Christmas
In this short series over the holidays, we’ll be bringing you Christmas articles from years past. Why explore vintage Adventist Review? Because the reason for the season never changes. So sit back and join us as we revisit Christmas from the pages of Adventist Review. Perhaps what you read and hear will be nothing new, or maybe, just maybe, these thoughts on the miracle of the Savior coming to us as a baby will ignite or reignite something beautiful in your heart. From our Adventist Review Ministries family to yours, blessings for a beautiful Christmas season.—Enno Müller, news editor
The voices of the prophets had ceased. The hand of the conqueror was heavy upon the land when God sent Jesus.
Men longed for a religion that could satisfy the heart. And God sent Jesus.
Men filled with perplexity and sorry, looked for light. They thirsted for knowledge of the living God. And God sent Jesus.
Death was a dread mystery, and beyond was uncertainty and gloom. Man longed for some assurance of life beyond the grave. And God sent Jesus.
Was God’s proffered solution relevant to man’s situation? Was God in touch with the human race? Did He understand the true need of man? Does Jesus Christ contain the solution to man’s problems?
Yes! Yes! To meet the one need that would solve all others, God sent Jesus.
Do we ever have the unspoken thought that God should have done something else or that He yet needs to do something in order to meet our needs. Sometimes in my reading or listening I get the idea from others that they think Freud or June and their disciples can help people, but they are not so sure about Jesus. “If only He had been able to read the works of these men, how differently He would have taught it. If only He had been able to read some of power, howe differently He might have acted.”
When will we learn that in Jesus, God is seeking our good? That apart from Him, man can do nothing? That the cry, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from the clutches of my sinning, self-destroying nature,” is the true description of all humanity apart from Christ?
Divine Power Necessary
God sent Jesus. Why? “It is impossible for us, of ourselves to escape from the pit of sin in which we are sunken. Our hearts are evil, and we cannot change them. ‘Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one.’ ‘The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.’ Education, culture, the exercise of the will, human effort, all have their proper sphere but here they are powerless. They may produce an outward correctness of behavior, but they cannot change the heart; they cannot purify the springs of life. There must be a power working from within, a new life from above, before men can be changed from sin to holiness. That power is Christ. His grace alone can quicken the lifeless faculties of the soul, attract it to God, to holiness.”—Steps to Christ, p. 18.
This is what Jesus Christ does. This is why God sent Him.
The idea that it is necessary only to develop the God that exists in man by nature, is a fatal deception.
“Through Christ, earth is again linked with heaven…. Christ connects fallen man in his weakness and helplessness with the Source of infinite power.
“But in vain are men’s dreams of progress, in vain all efforts for the uplifting of humanity, if they neglect the one Source of hope and help for the fallen race.”—Ibid., pp. 18-21.
The best thing God could do for this world was to send Jesus. As He was in the world. He said, “As the Father hath sent me, even so send I you” (John 20:21). The greatest contribution anyone can make to society is to display in his life the gift God sent. If we could only appreciate Him for what He is, how excited we would be about God’s gift. “O let us contemplate the amazing sacrifice that has been made for us! Let us try to appreciate the labor and energy Heaven is expending to reclaim the lost and bring them back to the Father’s house. Motives stronger, and agencies more powerful, could never be brought into operation; the exceeding rewards for right-doing, the enjoyment of heaven, the society of angels, the communion and love of God and His Son, the elevation and extension of all our powers throughout eternal ages,–are these not might incentives and encouragements to urge us to give the heart’s loving service to our Creator and Redeemer?”—Ibid., p. 21.
We need to know Him who is God’s gift, so that we will look at people the way Jesus looked at them; so, we will meet people the way Jesus met them. We will stop fighting them for what they are, and minister to their needs as He has taught us to. We have something to demonstrate — God’s Gift, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Why are we not excited about God’s Gift? Are we not able to connect Jesus with life as we experience it? Do we feel like the boy, who when asked what he got for Christmas, replied “Nothing much, just some clothes and stuff like that?”
The morning of December 25 there will be people excitedly telling their friends, “Guess what I got for Christmas!” They will be using the telephone, calling their loved ones and saying, “Guess what I got for Christmas!” Oh, if only we could catch the wonder and excitement manifested by the angels at the birth of Christ. They could not contain the good news. Then, instead of our witness being submerged by the world, every worldly consideration would be submerged as with every word and action we would seek to make men know what God was doing when He sent Jesus.
D. R. Manzano was the pastor of the Tranquility, New Jersey Seventh-day Adventist Church when this piece was published in Adventist Review in December 1972.