Devotion: Monday, December 10, 2018

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verse is from Luke 3:1-3, where the Bible says,

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

A “Time and Place” Kind of Salvation

One of the reasons that I love the Bible and its teachings is that the message therein is so different from any other message in this world. There are many religious messages out there, but they are the opinions of sinful people like you and me, all trying to get us to follow some path for peace or tranquility; some are even brazen enough to speak about it as “salvation.” Unfortunately, like so much of our human posturing, both philosophically and religiously, they all leave us wanting and dismayed. The same can be said for “faith” in our scientific and economic prowess. In our culture today, we have so many material things, but our lives are just as broken as ever. And no belief in our superiority or myth about our unlimited potential or capacity can change that even a little.

The good news? Thankfully, there is another message in the world. It’s not a religious one, or a philosophical one, or a political one, or a scientific one, or even a utopian one. It is NOT about our prowess whatsoever. It’s about our need, our incapacity, our brokenness. And, even more importantly, it’s about a Savior who has come, not with judgment, but with His mercy, forgiveness, and grace. You see, the Christmas message is not merely a religious call to sinners to be better people. It is rather a proclamation of forgiveness, mercy, life and salvation, offered as a gift of God’s work on our behalf to those who are undeserving. Then that undeserved grace does indeed motivate us to live different lives, but as a response of utter joy and thanksgiving.

On top of the uniqueness of that salvation comes items like in our text. This good news of God’s grace comes to specific times, places, and people who witness to the uniqueness of this Jesus. They call us, not to some religious faith in ourselves or faith in our self-driven potential, but to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ alone. May this Advent season be one where you take these days seriously. May they serve as “time and place” opportunities for you to experience the unique events of the Bible, Christ Jesus’ coming to bring His life and salvation into our lives. Yes, there was a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. There was a John the Baptizer who proclaimed it in order to point to a Savior named Jesus Christ, who came into human history, in time and place, for you and me.

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for leaving your heavenly throne to be born on this earth and laid in a manger. You came in order to bear our cross and judgment so that we might be reconciled to God. May the joy of living that new life be a part of our Advent preparation this year. AMEN.