Come be born again
Several years ago, I had the privilege of hearing the shortest and perhaps most meaningful message delivered while attending a Christmas Eve service. Midst a large throng that packed the sanctuary, the clock approached 11 p.m., the hour when the Midnight Christmas service was to begin. People were dressed more formally than they might have been at earlier services. Candles were lit and a hush of expectancy filled the place as the choir and ministers were about to enter. Two close friends arrived in the pew next to us with their 4-year-old son. How would he do? Zach blurted out, “God’s Here!” And, Pann and I knew we had gotten the message.
Sitting through Miracle on 34th Street, which had been colorized, I realized that is what Jesus does in coming. Unbelief turns off the color and turns down the sound of life as it was meant to be lived. Jesus proclaims the reason that he came, “that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” Faith in Christ, and faith in the God who changes things, who interrupts our lives with the glorious news of salvation by faith in Jesus, turns on the sound, lights up the soul, and causes people to shout for joy!Jesus came to set people free – to “ransom captive people (Israel)”
I’ve been held captive for years by the beginning of my favorite carol, “Long lay the world in sin and error pining (longing helplessly, and desperately wishing) til He appeared and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices…” Bringing faith and hope midst an often-cynical world is what Jesus Christ is about. We all must be filled with awe at Christmas time as we are confronted with the truth of the enchantment and wonder of the Almighty God of the universe who came to mankind as a Babe in a manger. Have you ever wondered why Jesus didn’t come as a grown adult? The fully human, fully God humbled Himself (even letting Mary or Joseph change His diapers?) Our Prince of Peace has taken all that this world could dish out. He will raise your chin and look you in the eye when you’re down and out and say, “I know … I know.”
Why did Jesus come? Listen to His mission statement. “I have come that you might have life … and (in addition) have it more abundantly.” (Jn.10:10) Jesus brings salvation (life) after death but also beginning now. Had enough of 2020 and life? Jesus “did not come to judge the world but to save it.” (Jn 3:17) God didn’t want heaven without us so He sent His son to “forgive us our debts. Christians have already come to Him to be born again and to have a new life, to be “made new” is the operative word. A well-known radio announcer sharing his testimony of faith declared, “With the Lord you get a do-over every day.” This season I’ve come to realize that I need to come to Him and be born again and again. His Spirit wants to erase my blackboard daily and give me a new start.
I believe we need to be “born again and again.as my newest favorite song shares, “Come Be born Again.” I hope you will be blessed by it and want to come again.
Pastor Bill Baltz is a member of the Carson Valley Ministers’ Association.