Advent – forgiveness is here.
Acts 13: 38
“Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.”
Paul was leading to this point. He is saying, ‘everything points to this one thing: Jesus has authority to forgive sins, this is why he came.’
“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
Jesus did not stay a baby in the manger. We celebrate His birth this advent because of who he is and what He came to do, that is the Son of God came to save people from their sins. In saving them He forgave them.
If sin is to be forgiven, it must be covered by an adequate sacrifice. The carols we sing at Christmas remind us that Jesus Christ was born to be that perfect sacrifice. In other words, He came to die.
God wants you home again, to the place where you belong.
A Father had 5 sons. The eldest was obedient, 4 rebellious.
They were told never to go near the river, but each day the 4 brothers would get closer and closer. Till one day one of them stepped in and said ‘hold my hand so I won’t fall in’ – but the currents swirled and pulled them all in.
They were swept away to a strange land, a place they were never born for, a place they could not escape from.
Each evening they built a fire and told stories of their father and the elder brother, the Firstborn.
One night one brother failed to come to the fire. “I’ve grown tired of our talks. I will build a great house and settle here.”
The next night a 2nd brother failed to appear at the fire. He sat on the hill staring at the house his brother was building, “I’ll stay here and keep a record of wrongs our brother is making.”
The next night a 3rd brother failed to appear. He was found stacking rocks in the river. ‘I’ve failed – I will build a way back.’
The last brother returned to the fire.
Then one morning came the voice of the Firstborn “The Father has sent me to bring you home.”
The first brother said, “I’ve made a home here. Go away stranger. I have no Father.”
The 2nd brother said, “It’s great that you are here to see the sins of our brother”.
The 3rd brother said, ‘I cannot stop to talk I must work. I have sinned. I need to work.”
The 4th brother by the fire said “will he forgive me?”
The firstborn replied, “Would he have sent me if he wouldn’t?” and the younger brother climbed on the back of the firstborn and began the journey home.
What best describes you: pleasure seeker; bitter talker; work-driven or are you being carried back to the Father’s house.
On November 26, 2008, a gang of terrorists stormed the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai, India. After the carnage had left 200 people dead, a reporter interviewed a guest who had been at the hotel for dinner that night. The guest described how he and his friends were eating dinner when they heard gunshots. Someone grabbed him and pulled him under the table. The assassins came striding through the restaurant, shooting at will, until everyone (or so they thought) had been killed. Miraculously, this man survived. When the interviewer asked the guest how he lived when everyone else at his table had been killed, he replied, “I suppose because I was covered in someone else’s blood, and they took me for dead.”
The Christ-child came to cover His blood over your life. That is why he came.