REASON FOR THE SEASON

Reasons are actually very important. Understanding the reason for something even MORE so.

When you know the reason something was done, it can open doors of understanding. Not knowing the real reason something happened can give you a totally wrong impression. To get the full meaning of anything, you want all the facts.

Reasons matter. They always have and they always will. And sometimes they change everything.

If I tell you that my neighbor was out for a walk last night and ended up getting slashed across her abdomen by a man she’d never met, you would have one picture come to your mind. If I tell you that my pregnant neighbor went into labor while out for a walk, and had to be rushed to the hospital for an emergency C-section, you get an entirely different image. Reasons matter. And sometimes they change everything.

I have an interesting reputation in my neighborhood. Due in large part to the combination of having a garage full of tools (some of them admittedly a bit obscure) and the “improvise-adapt-overcome” approach to problem-solving that was drilled into me by the US Marines, my neighbors call me “MacGyver.” (If you’re not familiar with the name, he’s the title character of a fictional TV series who is always coming to the aid of someone with unique and effective solutions to problems.)

Not long ago one of our neighbors and her seven-year-old accidentally got locked out of their house. Unfortunately their newborn baby was locked INSIDE of their house — alone. And crying. The mom immediately went next door to ask for help, and her neighbor said “We need MacGyver!” A few minutes later the newborn was back in her mother’s arms and all was well. All except the front door lock, that is.

My point is this. If someone had only told you, “I happen to know that Bishop Robert broke into his neighbors’ house a few weeks ago,” you’d have a very different picture. Perhaps even some questions. If you know me well, you’d likely come to the conclusion that there was nothing wrong with what I did, but there HAD TO BE a very interesting story behind it. If you don’t know me, you may wonder why a burglarizing bishop isn’t in jail. If you only hear PART of the story, you can totally misunderstand what actually happened.

Reasons matter. And sometimes they change everything.

And that brings us to today’s verse:
GOD DID NOT SEND HIS SON INTO THE WORLD TO CONDEMN THE WORLD, BUT TO SAVE THE WORLD THROUGH HIM.

The first part of the verse tells us part of the back story. God DIDN’T send His Son to condemn us. That’s good news!

Let’s face it – He COULD HAVE !!! It doesn’t take a genius to see that the world hadn’t learned a lot from Noah’s lesson. King Herod was heartless, self-centered and cruel. He killed his own children, several of them. Caesar’s army was known for its viciousness. All over the earth people were vile, violent and lawless; even the religious leaders were corrupt.

Some people in Jesus’ day were expecting Messiah to come from heaven on a white horse accompanied by legions of angels. They thought He would overthrow Rome and every malevolent oppressor to free the people of God and establish a kingdom where He would rule in justice and peace. He COULD HAVE done that. (Spoiler alert – that’s the NEXT TIME that Jesus returns to earth.)

But GOD DID NOT SEND HIS SON INTO THE WORLD TO CONDEMN THE WORLD. He didn’t send Jesus as the conquering warrior to crush the nations with a rod of iron. He had a different reason in mind.

Reasons matter. And sometimes they change everything.

The second part of today’s verse says that God sent His Son TO SAVE THE WORLD THROUGH HIM.

There was a price to be paid. It was a ransom payment. The Father sent the Son to so that the world would have an offer of incomparable value. The reason the Father sent His Son was to effect the great exchange. Bondage for freedom. Filthy worthlessness for precious purity. Abandonment for acceptance. Slavery for freedom.

GOD DID NOT SEND HIS SON INTO THE WORLD TO CONDEMN THE WORLD, BUT TO SAVE THE WORLD THROUGH HIM.

You’ve probably heard several phrases intended to remind you of the real reason for Christmas.

Perhaps you’ve been encouraged to “Keep CHRIST in Christmas.” That’s a good reminder. I’ve sent out Christmas cards and letters to friends and wished them a “Merry CHRISTmas” – with the five capital letters written in red, just to drive the point home.

You’ve likely been told that “Jesus is the reason for the season.” It’s a nice concept. If you’re getting overwhelmed with the pressures of gift-giving and various celebrations and guests, it’s a good thought to bear in mind. But it missed the point.

Reasons matter. And sometimes they change everything. Read the verse again ….

GOD DID NOT SEND HIS SON INTO THE WORLD TO CONDEMN THE WORLD, BUT TO SAVE THE WORLD THROUGH HIM.

Jesus is NOT the reason for the season. He didn’t come to start a holiday. He came to save the world.

Nope, Jesus is NOT the reason for the season.

YOU ARE !!

He came for you.

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