The Book of Psalms

Friday: Isn’t It Absurd?


Theme: Why Did God Do It?
In this week’s Christmas lessons, we reflect on the wonder of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of God’s great love for lost and helpless sinners.
Scripture: Luke 1:26-38
“Isn’t it absurd?” I have tried to answer this question in two ways, dealing with what the story of the birth of Christ tells and how it may have happened. I have tried to say that although there are elements to it that we certainly fail to understand, still there’s nothing absurd about it. As a matter of fact, it’s the most reasonable thing in the universe.
There’s a third and final way in which we can ask the question, not asking what or how, but why. God is the holy God. He made us in his image, and to have fellowship with him. But by our own will we have made a muddle of our lives. More than that, we have done it in our arrogance and rebellion against our Creator. We have turned our face from him. We have shaken our fists in his face, as we’ve gone about to build a world without God’s influence. We live in a race that’s like that, a race that doesn’t even want to hear the name of God spoken publicly. Why should God come to earth to save a race like that? Why should God, the infinite God of the universe, take upon himself the form of a helpless baby in the womb of a mother, and to be born, and to be laid in a stable, and to grow up and to be nailed to a cross and to die for our sins? Why should God do all that for us? Isn’t that absurd?
And yet, there’s an answer. The Bible tells us that God did this because he loves us. Love has its own reasons, and divine love the best reasons of all. If we wonder why God loves us so much that he sent Jesus Christ to be our Savior, what is God going to say that we can understand? God simply says, “I did it because I love you.” If we say to God, “But, why did you love us?” he will simply respond, “It’s because I loved you. That’s all.”
God said that to Israel on one occasion. He was discussing the matter of election, the fact that he had chosen Israel out of all the nations of the earth to be his covenant people. The answer to why God demonstrated his favor toward Israel is given in Deuteronomy 7, verses seven and eight: “The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” The answer is simply his love for those who did not deserve it.
The point on which I want to close is this, and it’s a practical one. It says in the book of 1 John, in chapter 4:19, “We love because he first loved us.” What that means is that, if we have understood the Christmas story, we have understood at the most profound level that God has done this because he loves us. That is the greatest thing that anyone can say.
And then, because he loves us, and has shown us his love in that way, we who have come to know that love must love also. Some of the older versions have it, “We love him, because he first loved us.” Of course, that is true. We do love him because he first loved us. But the proper text at that point leaves out the pronoun “him.” It simply says, “We love because he first loved us.” We love him, yes, that’s where we start. We also love one another. It is the reality of the church of Jesus Christ that by the grace of God we also love the unlovely. Is that absurd? It is if you are thinking about it as the world thinks about such things. But how the world thinks is not Christianity. The Christian message of the incarnation is the reality that transforms this wicked world.
Study Questions:

What is the third way to ask the question, “Isn’t it absurd?” and how does the Bible answer it?
In addition to Deuteronomy 7:7-8 and 1 John 4:19, what other passages emphasize God’s love for us?

Application: Is there a particular person you struggle to love as you ought? Knowing that Christ showed his love toward you in your unlovely state of rebellion against him, pray that you would demonstrate the love of Christ to others.

Study Questions
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