Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verses are 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 the others are all the opinions of sinful people like you and me, 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. Despite all the “progress” and material things in our culture today, our lives are just as broken as ever. And no belief in our superiority or some myth about our unlimited potential can change that even a little.

The good news? Thankfully, there is another message in the world, FOR THE WORLD. It’s not a philosophical one, a political one, a scientific one, a utopian one, or even one produced by human religions. In fact, it is NOT about our prowess whatsoever. This message speaks first and very plainly about our need, our incapacity, and our brokenness. But, most importantly, it then proclaims a Savior who has come, not with judgment, but with His mercy, forgiveness, and grace. You see, the Christmas message is not a religious call to sinners to be better people. It is rather a proclamation of forgiveness, mercy, life and salvation, offered as a gift due to God’s work on behalf of those who are undeserving. Then that undeserved grace, alive in us by the power of the Holy Spirit, does indeed motivate us to live different lives, but as a response of utter joy and thanksgiving.

Such a unique message also comes to this world uniquely. Our reading for today identifies it as a specific “time and place” message, yet it is for people of all times and all places! Unlike so many religious or mythological teachings, God’s good news of grace comes at specific times, in particular places, through identifiable historical people who witness to the uniqueness of the Savior who entered our world, Jesus. This enduring message is not a call to some religious faith in ourselves or our self-driven potential, but a call to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ alone. Real people, real places, and real salvation for real people like you and me. Yes, there was a John the Baptizer who proclaimed a message that pointed to a Savior named Jesus who came into human history, in time and place, for you and me. May this Advent season also be a “time and place” opportunity for you to experience the unique events of Jesus Christ for you.

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for being our Savior IN TIME, AND FOR ALL TIMES. May that truth solidly root my life here on this earth as I also look forward to eternity with You. AMEN.

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