GOD IS SHOUTING, “I LOVE YOU!”
John 3:16) [CEV] God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die.
(MSG) This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.
1 John 3:16) [CEV] We know what love is because Jesus gave his life for us. That’s why we must give our lives for each other.
(MSG) This is how we’ve come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves.
John 19:25-27) [CEV] Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the [wife] of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.
26) When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!
27) Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own [home].
Matthew 26:56) [CEV] But all this happened, so that what the prophets wrote would come true.” All of Jesus’ disciples left him and ran away.
QUESTION: How many disciples fled when the soldiers arrested Him in the garden?
ANSWER: All eleven of them fled! Judas was not then numbered among them. John, like the other ten, fled and left Jesus alone with His captors.
QUESTION: How, then, did John end up at the cross?
ANSWER: I’m guessing He went to tell Mary, Jesus’ mother, that her Son had been arrested. She then, probably, asked John to take her to where Jesus was. From there, they followed Him from the chief priest to Pilate, to Herod, back to Pilate, to the road where He bore His cross, to Calvary.
NOTE: As far as we know John was the only one of the eleven disciples, all of who fled, to end up at the cross.
QUESTION: What perspective did that experience give Him?
ANSWER: He witnessed firsthand the expression of love demonstrated at the cross by the Lord Jesus. No other writer of Scripture had witnessed what he had.
NOTE: That perspective he gained at the foot of the cross settled forever, in his mind, the question of rather, or not, Jesus loved him. Regardless of what life threw his way he had the settled perspective that God loved him.
Luke 2:8-16) [CEV] That night in the fields near Bethlehem some shepherds were guarding their sheep.
9) All at once an angel came down to them from the Lord, and the brightness of the Lord’s glory flashed around them. The shepherds were frightened.
10) But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you, which will make everyone happy.
11) This very day in King David’s hometown a Savior was born for you. He is Christ the Lord.
12) You will know who he is, because you will find him dressed in baby clothes and lying on a bed of hay.”
13) Suddenly many other angels came down from heaven and joined in praising God. They said:
14) “Praise God in heaven! Peace on earth to everyone who pleases God.”
15) After the angels had left and gone back to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see what the Lord has told us about.”
16) They hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and they saw the baby lying on a bed of hay.
Matthew 2:1-2, 4, 7-11) [CEV] When Jesus was born in the village of Bethlehem in Judea, Herod was king. During this time some wise men from the east came to Jerusalem
2) and said, “Where is the child born to be king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”
4) Herod brought together the chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses and asked them, “Where will the Messiah be born?”
7) Herod secretly called in the wise men and asked them when they had first seen the star.
8) He told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, let me know. I want to go and worship him too.”
9) The wise men listened to what the king said and then left. And the star they had seen in the east went on ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.
10) They were thrilled and excited to see the star.
11) When the men went into the house and saw the child with Mary, his mother, they knelt down and worshiped him. They took out their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh and gave them to him.
Matthew 1:20-21) [CEV] While Joseph was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord came to him in a dream. The angel said, “Joseph, the baby that Mary will have is from the Holy Spirit. Go ahead and marry her.
21) Then after her baby is born, name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
QUESTION: In what way were the announcements to the shepherds and Joseph good news?
ANSWER: God was sending mankind a Savior.
QUESTION: Why did mankind need a Savior?
ANSWER: Note the following verses.
Romans 3:23) [CEV] All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.
Romans 6:23) [MSG] Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God’s gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master.
Romans 5:6) [NLT] When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.
QUESTION: Again, why did mankind need a Savior?
ANSWER: We deserved death [eternal death/separation from God] because we have all sinned, and we were powerless [NIV] to help ourselves.
QUESTION: What do these facts suggest the manger scene represents?
ANSWER: God loves us, and refuses to leave us to the destruction we have earned.
QUESTION: What is God doing at the stable where His Son is born?
ANSWER: “God is shouting ‘I love you!’ through this gift of love to you and me.”
Walk of Grace Chapel, Council Bluffs Church