Third Monday in Advent

Third Monday in Advent    KAIROS    16

Scripture: I Timothy 1:15-17

15 This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. 16 But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 All honor and glory to God forever and ever! He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God. Amen. 

I Timothy 2:5-7

For, there is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone.

This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time. And I have been chosen as a preacher and apostle to teach the Gentiles this message about faith and truth. I’m not exaggerating—just telling the truth.

Some thoughts:

     If we are not careful, we can view Jesus’ life as a series of singular events, his birth being the first in a long line of wonderful stories. It is important that our children and grandchildren, amid their joy, excitement, and presents, begin to realize the complete story of the baby Jesus. The Nativity, Passion, Ascension, Pentecost, and the Return are all part of God’s one grand story of bringing redemption and restoration to a fallen creation . . . the story of the Bible. Now that might be a bit much for a five-year-old to focus on in light of that intriguing present under the tree!

     Paul has reduced the mission of God in Christ to “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.” Any five-year-old can realize this baby Jesus came to save them. After all, “time outs” are real, even in some cases the result of sin! To make his point, Paul reminds us of his sinful  past, one in which he consented to the murder of Christians! His point is that our past is not a disqualifying liability in becoming a believer in Jesus. (“Time outs” do not last forever.)

     As you read on, Paul helps us see the significance of the birth of Jesus with these words “there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus,” the baby born in a manger in Bethlehem. His life and death (Christmas and Easter) purchase freedom and eternal life for everyone who would believe. Paul’s use of the words “one God and one Mediator” would have registered significantly with the Jewish believers, reminding them of the Shema. “Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord alone” (Deut 6:4-9). In the “one God” reference Paul is helping his readers understand God’s whole story began in the First Testament. He then brings the past into the present with another phrase, “God gave to the world at just the right time.” The word Paul uses is kairos, meaning at an opportune time. In the mystery and wonder of God, who encompasses all of time, he moves into the universe he created out of his great love, appearing on a tiny speck of a planet in one of a hundred billion galaxies at just the right time! We know, since it was God acting, this was the perfect time and the perfect place. What’s more, at just the right time, God extends his offer of salvation and redemption to all. When is that right time? As Paul writes elsewhere in II Corinthians 6:2, “Now is the day of salvation.” Perhaps today you’ll have opportunity to share God’s biggest story with someone . . . maybe while you sit on the floor and put that new bike together!

Music: “Children Go Where I Send Thee”  Home Free and Kenny Rogers “      


Sovereign God, Thy cause, not my own, engages my heart, and I appeal to thee with greatest freedom to set up thy kingdom in every place where Satan reigns; glorify thyself and I shall rejoice, for to bring honor to thy name is my sole desire. I adore thee that thou art God, and long that others should know it, feel it, and rejoice in it. O, that all men might love and praise thee, that thou might have all glory from the intelligent world! Let sinners be brought to thee for thy dear name! To the eye of reason everything respecting the conversion of others is as dark as midnight, but thou canst accomplish great things; the cause is thine, and it is to thy glory that men should be saved. Lord, use me as thou wilt, do with me what thou wilt; but, O, promote thy cause, let thy kingdom come, let thy blessed interest be advanced in this world! O do thou bring in great numbers to Jesus! Let me see that glorious day and give me to grasp for multitudes of souls; let me be willing to die to that end; and while I live let me labor for thee to the utmost of my strength, spending time profitable in this work, both in health and in weakness. It is thy cause and kingdom I long for, not my own. O, answer thou, my request! Amen.                                                                         ―from The Valley of Vision, ed. Bennet, Arthur, Carlisle, Pa: Banner of Truth Trust, p.177 [169/917    18%    6v