There is nothing on earth more scary-exciting than giving birth to a child! Right?! In a span of five years, Randy and I welcomed three babies into this world! Tomorrow, in fact, will be the birthday of the youngest child. The pain of childbirth is duly accepted as part of the birth process as you realize what your body is really doing! We may fight it but we can’t really do anything about it, thanks to Adam and Eve. The process includes pain. But then that final push brings your baby from the darkness of the womb into the bright light of the birth room.
The heathy reactions of our infant are closed eyes with pitiful crying. The infant had some had work to do, too. He or she had to leave one safe place with venerable trust for a new place. This arrival is welcomed by the delivery doc and nurses. Mom and dad do what they are told to do until the babe wrapped like a burrito is in their arms. I remember the next daunting thoughts…this arrival would not bring solutions to our problems. It would multiply them! As parents, we had to change all routines and regular habits as we adjusted our lives around the arrival of the newborn.
At this time of year we celebrate THE ARRIVAL of a newborn that became the only answer, the only solution to life’s problems. We celebrate the birth of Jesus, Emmanuel–God with us, Messiah, Savior, King of kings and Lord of lords. Jesus, the One and Only who solves our sin-death condition once and for all for those who believe in Him.
THE ARRIVAL came into the world expectantly by some who still believed He would come, but unexpectedly by those living in darkness. The Arrival brought God’s Light of love, mercy and grace into the world like it had never seen before the Light. The Arrival with all the details was foretold centuries in advance. But many got tired of waiting and turned away from God who promised a Messiah. Maybe it was because their notion of Messiah was more about creating better living conditions with no thought about their souls’ condition. So, there was that. But for those who still believed, they knew and worshiped The Arrival promised.
The Chosen film series as given us more to think about as we mentally form the scene of The Arrival of Jesus over 2000 years ago. God, through His Son, came down to earth in the form of helpless, venerable newborn. Only God can do that! Then, to add to the excitement, The Arrival did not happen at home! They were ordered, along with hundreds of others to leave their community, go to their district assigned as Bethlehem to be counted by the oppressive government so more taxes could be collected for the government! After walking and riding a donkey, many miles, nine months pregnant the time came, ordained by God while His angels watched on. Imagine the scene in heaven, too!
So, if you are nine months and want it all to happen, you could ride a donkey for a few miles? Mm, maybe not. Back to the barn, The Arrival was completely in the hands of Mary and Joseph who were spiritually prepared nine months earlier by the words of angels but now the baby is really coming! I’m sure they didn’t imagine or prepare for the Arrival to be on the dirt, cold barn floor, with the smell of dung mixed with hay and straw. They didn’t prepare to be away from home, but maybe this was a kindness to Mary whose reputation was soiled by misunderstanding God’s Plan for her from the hometown folks.
But back to the birth pains, it is time for The Arrival! Knowing that this arrival was Messiah, the Solution to our Sin Problem, Mary and Joseph did what God told them to do. God chose His Son’s parents-on-earth well. There was nothing else to do, the Baby is coming! Let’s do this! God protected as He watched the birth. Mary and Joseph, with child-like faith, trusted God.
Paul’s message today tells us how The Arrival affects all of humanity! Those who really believe God and His Plan to save us through Jesus, His Son, are set free from the jailhouse of sin! No more death, only Life! So, what do we choose? The Solution is Jesus!
Our old routines, habits and schedules are completely rearranged because of The Arrival of Jesus into our hearts, minds and souls. Our new, redeemed lives now revolve around His life and teaching, HIS will and purpose for us, as live real life on God’s terms. God is in charge! He traded our worst for His best. Oh, how He loves us!
ROMANS—OUR CARE AND CALLING
Romans 8, The Message
The Solution Is Life on God’s Terms
1-2 With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.
3-4 God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that.
The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it. And now what the law code asked for but we couldn’t deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us.
5-8 Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn’t pleased at being ignored.
9-11 But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God’s terms. It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!
12-14 So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!
15-17 This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are.
We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!
HOW DID “THE ARRIVAL” AFFECT HUMANITY?
- “With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud.”
- “In his Son, Jesus, God personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all.”
- To all who believe and follow Jesus comes the amazing realization that The Arrival of Jesus is the Solution to Real Life. “God with us” living in us!
- “What’s next, Papa?” This is expectant, joyful, free from sin and death living in the wide-open spaces of God’s love and care.
Thank you for leaving the comfort of heaven to come to save us. God, thank you for sacrificing Your One and Only Son. Thank you for loving us the way you do. Help us to love like you love us.
In Jesus Name, Amen