Luke is usually the preferred storyteller when it comes to the birth of Christ. He includes the many human, homey details we love to hear, and children never tire of hearing about: angels singing, shepherds running, kings traveling from afar to worship the King of Kings born in a stable. But then, even in this most beautiful story of all the stories we will ever hear on earth, there are the negative details. An earthly king, fearful of losing power, seethes with jealousy and rage after he hears about the birth of a king, foretold centuries before him, by the prophet Micah. Feigning an interest in this prophecy, he uses the information about the birthplace to issue an unthinkable order to his Roman soldiers. “Kill every child, two years old and under, born in and around Bethlehem!” Alongside all the masterpieces depicting Jesus’ birth, there are some horrific ones graphically depicting the slaughter of babies by the Roman sword. Birth and death, beauty and horror, the slaughter of innocents, the lust for power, the untrammeled greed for wealth and position, still comprise all our daily news feed.
John’s Evangel gives us an eternal perspective, and takes us behind the headlines of that day:
Shepherds reported seeing and hearing a choir of angels singing…A caravan of monarchs following a star arrive in Jerusalem…Reports of an infant King born in Bethlehem…Herod denies any connection to local Judean infanticide; 28 children brutally murdered!!
What’s really going on here? According to John 1:9-14 NLT:
” The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
Beautiful words that hold great promise and hope. Surely this light was so welcomed, especially after centuries of great darkness, and silence. But men have always preferred to hide in darkness because their deeds were evil. Remember Adam?
“He came into the very world that he created, BUT the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him.”
“BUT all who believed him and accepted him he gave the right to become the children of God”.
Wait a minute! How could this be? And what gives him the right to offer this?
“They are reborn, not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, BUT a birth that comes from God.”
John later explains this “rebirth” in detail as he records Jesus’ secret meeting with Nicodemus in Chapter three.
“The Word, [the logos, the principle that governs the world, the agent of creation, the source of God’s message to his people, the one who “holds all creation together”, “the express image of the invisible God”] became human, [became visible and tangible], and made his home among us.”
This is so overwhelming. We bow before such mystery. And we can only ask, why?
“He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness”.
How do you know this John?
“And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.”
John was a living eye-witness who wrote about seeing the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Now, you yourself, look upon an image of his face, painted by a young Russian girl, who had visions of heaven and many encounters with Jesus. This is how she saw him.
She sees him as the Prince of Peace. How do you see him?