|Posted on December 12, 2019 at 1:10 PM|
Each year at Christmas I’m reminded of the radical contrast between the love of God and the hatred of the world. Maybe it is because the gracious display of God’s amazing love for the world makes the evil so apparent like a brilliant light shining into utter darkness. Or maybe it’s just the natural response of a selfish world to the gracious offer of eternal life. Whatever the underlying reasons I am aware of the stark contrast between the love of God and the hatred of the world.
The story of the wise men seeking the newborn king of the Jews recorded by Matthew presents this contrast well. The earnest searching of the Magi for the newborn king of the Jews illustrates the grace of God in revealing his love for all mankind. In their innocence they were wanting to experience the most important event in the history of Israel and naturally went to the rulers in Jerusalem for direction. The very mention of the birth of the new king, the Christ or Messiah of Israel, troubled the entire city and forced the puppet king, Herod, to develop a plot to kill him. Manipulating the wise men to find the young Christ child in Bethlehem he instructed them to report back under the guide of wanting to worship him as well. The news of God’s love to Israel and the whole world was met with envy and murderous hatred by the leaders and religious rulers of Jerusalem. Had it not been for the divine warning given to both the wise men and Joseph the evil hatred of the world would have snuffed out the Light of the world before it could fully shine in the darkness.
This theme seems to be played out repeatedly in the history of the world. Every time God’s grace and love is offered the evil of the world in which we live reacts with indifference at best and violence at worst. In his description of the first advent of Christ into the world the apostle John gives us hope concerning this theme. He says, “And the Light shined in the darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” (John 1: 5). The radiant light of God’s revelation of himself as love shined in this world of darkness when Christ was born. And the darkness of the world could neither accept it nor put it out. John reveals, “He was in the world, and the world was made by him. And the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” (John 1: 10, 11). No matter how dark this world may be, it cannot overcome the light of God’s love.
In contrast to the rejection of the darkness of this world John declares, “But as many as received him, to them gave he the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, no of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1: 12, 13). Despite the utter darkness of the evil of this world God not only revealed his light and love but gave all mankind the ability to believe on his name. And to them who believed on the true identity of the child who was born in Bethlehem God gave them the authority to become the sons of God themselves. The darkness of the world couldn’t stop God’s love then and can’t stop it now. Merry Christmas.