May 23, 2018 | Articles by Rev. David Bodanza
Last weekend, a man stood up in the court of public opinion. He was just one man and there were very many in the court. Most of the court spoke with one voice. The court questioned him, even as he began to stand. After the first day of this unusual hearing, the court took a recess. The hearing now resumes.
THE COURT: Sir, when we heard you last, you began to speak of Jesus Christ. We do hear people speak the name of Jesus, but it is usually associated with foul language.
THE MAN: That is tragic and dangerous, although more common than I care to think about. Have you also heard them speak the name of God?
THE COURT: Yes, we have. We hear them speak the name of God when they are damning something or when they are surprised or shocked.
THE MAN: What do you know about God and Jesus Christ?
THE COURT: Very little really. Our grandparents went to church regularly. Then our parents cut it down to just Christmas and Easter. Now we go only when somebody gets married or dies, but even these events don't take place at a church much anymore.
THE MAN: Have you heard anything else?
THE COURT: Yes, we have another thing. We have heard and read on festive decorations that "Jesus is the reason for the season" of Christmas. Frankly, the Christmas season is a bit overwhelming for us, and expensive. Now don't get us wrong, we still love the lights, the music, the movies and the gifts. It just takes all of our time to get ready for December 25th. When that day hits, you have to be ready. Then come the sales in January ... and the credit card bills!
THE MAN: Indeed.
THE COURT: Do you agree that Jesus is the reason for the season of Christmas?
THE MAN: Yes, I do. But allow me to clarify my position on this.
THE COURT: What is Christmas, really, other than a children's holiday and a retailer's dream? First, we had Black Friday, then Cyber Monday and now Gray Thursday! You can't even enjoy a slice of turkey, bread stuffing, and a football game in peace, without being pulled into camping out for one of those doorbuster sales.
THE MAN: Christmas is and should be a special time to worship God for the incarnation of Jesus Christ.
THE COURT: Do you mean to tell us that Christmas is a birthday party for Jesus? Do you assert that Christmas is the day when he was born?
THE MAN: Jesus was not born on that day in the usual sense. That is an oversimplification that may mislead you.
THE COURT: Sir, we have seen the manger downtown with a baby as the center of attention! It must be a birthday.
THE MAN: Jesus was not born in the sense that he came to exist on Christmas. Jesus always existed, even before time. There was never a time when he was not and he will always be.
THE COURT: What you are saying is strange to ears.
THE MAN: What I am saying is that Jesus is God.
THE COURT: Even we know that there is only one God! Do you mean to state that there is more than one God?
THE MAN: There is only one God who is eternally existent in three persons, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. This is called the Holy Trinity.
THE COURT: Then who is Jesus?
THE MAN: He is God the Son.
THE COURT: Sir, then what is that baby doing in a manger?
THE MAN: The baby in the manger commemorates the incarnation. In the incarnation, God united Himself with man. This does not mean that God changed Himself into man or that a new person was created. In the incarnation, Jesus united himself with a sinless human nature. You should take note that he was sinless and not tainted by original sin.
THE COURT: God united Himself with man?
THE MAN: That is correct. The Son of God, the second person in the Holy Trinity, being eternal God, did, when the appointed time came, take upon himself human nature, with all its essentials except its sin.
THE COURT: How, sir? How?
THE MAN: He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary. The Holy Spirit came down upon her and the power of God overshadowed her.
THE COURT: Why, sir? Why did this happen?
THE MAN: I can say it no better than some wise men in London: "so that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion; which person is very God and very man, yet one Christ, the only mediator between God and man."
THE COURT: One person very God and very man? What does this mean?
THE MAN: That Jesus is now and will always be, fully God and fully man.
THE COURT: We did not know Jesus had two natures. No one ever told us this!
THE MAN: That is why I stood up. I want to tell you the truth, to pass on to you what has been passed on to me.
THE COURT: So Christmas is about Jesus taking on a sinless, human nature?
THE MAN: Yes, and through a virgin birth. It is a miracle of God. Remember, nothing is impossible with God!
THE COURT: If what you say is true, why did Jesus do this?
THE MAN: So that he could serve as the one mediator between God and humanity.
THE COURT: We have heard of mediators. We know that a mediator is one person that tries to bring two parties together when they are in conflict.
THE MAN: Yes. Jesus came to earth to serve as a mediator between God and humanity. There is no other one who can serve in this capacity. There is no other uniquely qualified for there is only one person in the history of the universe who is fully God and fully man. Jesus is the only one who can reconcile you to God.
THE COURT: Reconcile us to God? Reconcile us to God? Why do we need reconciliation? We are good people. We try to do what is right. We are not as bad as some others that you read about in the newspapers or see on the evening news. They are the ones who put their coats over their heads to hide their faces from the news cameras!
THE MAN: Every man, woman and child needs to be reconciled to God. Our many sins have separated us from God. His wrath and judgment will be imposed upon all who have not sought and received a pardon through Jesus Christ. The biggest problem of humanity is universal. It is how a person may be rightly related to God. You cannot be rightly related to God without Jesus
Christ. Please hear me, and let me say it one more time, for I do not want you to miss what I am saying. You cannot be rightly related to God without Jesus Christ.
THE COURT: We understand your position but we are not sure why Jesus, as the God-man, is uniquely qualified to be our mediator.
THE MAN: Jesus had to be one of the human race in order to represent humans in his work. He had to assume a human nature, with all its properties and infirmities. Yet, he had to be a sinless man. The one who has already forfeited his own life by his own sin cannot take on the sins of others. There is no sacrifice in getting what you deserve. In addition, he had to be God that he would be a perfect sacrifice of infinite value in the eyes of God the Father.
THE COURT: You have started to use the word "sacrifice." What do you mean by this?
THE MAN: Have you seen a cross?
THE COURT: Hasn't everyone? You see them on the steeples of the old church buildings. We have some as jewelry and some as tatoos.
THE MAN: What does the cross mean to you?
THE COURT: We are not sure. We thought you were here to answer our questions!
THE MAN: The cross is how Jesus, the God-man, was sacrificed. Jesus was the sacrifice and the sacrificer. He laid down his own life for his people. He is the sacrifice for their sins. God is the just and the justifier.
THE COURT: Jesus was the sacrifice and the sacrificer? God is the just and justifier? We want to hear more about this. But it will have to be next weekend. We have to finish our Christmas shopping now.
THE MAN: When you are in the mall, listen for "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing." Listen for the words to the last verse:
Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace! Hail the Son of Righteousness! Light and life to all He brings Ris'n with healing in His wings Mild He lays His glory by Born that man no more may die Born to raise the sons of earth Born to give them second birth Hark! The herald angels sing "Glory to the newborn King!"
THE COURT: Very well. We will hear you next weekend. This court stands in recess until then. But, until then, we will be thinking about these matters.