Theme: Questions about Christ’s Life
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
Not only do we see the absurdities in the origins of Christ, we see it in his life as well. Here is a man who is God in human flesh, born of a virgin. He grows and goes through all the years of childhood and young manhood, until he comes to what most people think must have been about the age of 30. Then, at the age of 30, he is baptized by his relative, John the Baptist, in the Jordan River. He then goes into the desert where he is tempted by the devil, but resists and overcomes him.
At that point, Jesus begins a three-year ministry in which he travels throughout the land of Israel. It is not a big country; the distance is easily walkable. He then began to teach people, and to perform various miracles. He walked upon the water. He turned water into wine. He multiplied fish and loaves in order to feed people. He healed lepers. He healed the sick. He even raised the dead.
Finally, we come near the end of his earthly life, to the time of his crucifixion. We discover that this one, who was able to do all these miracles in the lives of others, including that of raising the dead, did not save himself from his suffering and death. Isn’t that absurd? Why should the life of such a one end in that way? Moreover, if we grant the premise that he was not only man, but also God, isn’t it absurd to think that God should die? How could that be, since God is the eternal one? And yet, that is what happened.
And then, as if that isn’t absurd enough, it’s followed by the resurrection. Now, if there is one thing we know, it’s that dead people do not rise again. In the history of the world, as far as we know and can document, save for these stories that we find in Scripture, nobody has ever come back from the dead once they have died. Isn’t it absurd to think that this man, Jesus, who was publicly crucified and known by everyone to have died, should rise again from the dead three days later.
After his resurrection, he then remained for 40 days, teaching his disciples. At the end of those days, he simply ascended up into heaven. There was no grand departure, no exciting conclusion. His disciples were left gazing up into heaven, when all of a sudden angels appeared beside them and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). That is the story of the life of Christ. Isn’t it absurd?
How do you answer that? I want to say that how you answer it depends entirely upon how you ask the question. One way of asking the question is to say, “Isn’t what he did absurd? Isn’t the story itself absurd? Isn’t what it communicates absurd?” If we ask the question that way, the answer is easy. It is not absurd at all. In fact, the story of Jesus is necessary for our salvation.
What might perplex people concerning the life of Christ?
Why would the events of Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension be thought absurd by some people?
Application: Do you know anyone who considers these facts about Jesus absurd in an unbelieving way? Will you pray regularly for their salvation, and how will you seek to minister to them?