The downtown Minneapolis square block window show is coming back. It was at Dayton’s store and will be again. Jack and his family would walk around the huge building, viewing every window’s offering to the story of the world’s Christmas. Fashion, appliances,gifts of all sorts. The window that Jack really looked forward to was the one with the electric trains. A young boys fancy and dream. Who could have predicted that when Jack was barely a reasonable man, he would be building those train tracks for the railroad. Not as much fun as the models.
Decades later, Jack found the real Christmas story. Not the story of the manger and the shepherds and the three wealthy astrologers from the East. The most amazing story. The little boy Jesus, asleep on the hay, coming to make a trade with his Father, by dying one day. There really should be a Roman cross over the manger scene.
Does this offend some of you? I know I was shocked when I heard the Greek word Tetelestai and found it’s meaning in the Bible. The word means completed, finished, paid and done. A debt satisfied completely.
This is why Jesus was born, this was the mission he accomplished. He was to pay off a debt owed to his Father. A debt so monumental that it is still impossible to comprehend the size of it.
Jesus did not come to us to teach us social justice. He did not preach salvaging the poor. He did use the phrase “Poor in Spirit” but this has nothing to do with wealth. It means those of us that know we are lacking in connection with the Father and pray for wisdom. He did not come to us to teach about feeding lots of people or being really nice. It was foretold by many of the prophets in the Bible as to what he came for.
Jesus came to give Himself to be the perfect, unblemished sacrifice for a sinful world. Us. That is why he was born. Not to preach love and peace and care for the poor. God told Mary and Joseph that..”Mary will give birth to a son, and you will give him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sin” John the Baptist points to Jesus and declares: “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” For centuries the Jewish religion demanded sacrifices of animals and food to atone for their sin. It made everyone feel a lot better as we go on sinning in spite of our tremendous offerings. God, giving Himself to death is the only cure.
Jack knows a bit about sin, he should, he considers himself the be the chief of sinners at times. The key is not bragging about how bad you were and are, It’s the thing that is true for every one who has, is, or will be living.
You know it even though we all think we will ‘make the cut’ because we’re not so very bad and we even go to church and give to the poor!’ An illusion we all embrace at some time or another. That’s in scripture too by the way. Talk to Jesus and listen to what He says. There are moments that give us incredible joy when we are delivered from a sinful behavior. It makes life easier for us and our loved ones. However, we still sin, and have sinned. The debt we owe to the judge of all things cannot be paid by us. We are to be holy and we are not.
That debt is the reason Jesus was born. He taught and loved and healed and showed us His perfect life. The only perfect sacrifice for us. A spotless Lamb which was a usual Temple sacrifice. But now, a lamb of God. Given to death for all , once and forever. Tetelesti. There is so much more, there isn’t room in this short column. It is indeed the Good News that we are ransomed from the righteous wrath of His Father. We deserve death, “He made me alive, when I was dead and He raised me up and seated me with Christ. It’s by his Grace, that I am saved and it’s though faith, the very gift of God” Oh yes, Jesus is alive. It’s pretty good. Jack Gator.
With many thanks to Gregory Koukl