19 December 2008


Years ago I heard a description of how The Old Testament and The New Testament both speak through two statements … one A QUESTION ASKED, and the other one A QUESTION ANSWERED … about the coming of Jesus Christ as our Messiah. First, A QUESTION ASKED

The whole Old Testament can be described with the QUESTION Isaac asked his father Abraham as they walked up Mt. Moriah to offer a sacrifice of worship and forgiveness to God. And as they trekked up the mountain, Isaac asked his dad, “Where’s the lamb?” They had the wood, and they had the fire, but they didn’t have the sacrificial lamb.

All the way through The Old Testament, from the Garden of Eden until the Manger in Bethlehem, the world has asked this same QUESTION, “Where’s the lamb?” Wanting to find our way back home to God, every human being ever born knows deep down inside that there’s no way we can get back home to God on our own. The lamb of God needs to be sacrificed to open the door up for us to have a restored relationship for forgiveness, grace and peace with God.

So that’s the QUESTION that defines life before the Jesus Christ, the Messiah came into the world … “Where’s the lamb?” But what about after Jesus Christ showed up? Well that’s here the QUESTION ANSWERED comes into play.

When Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist baptized Him in the Jordan River, God the Father spoke out of heaven and ANSWERED THE QUESTION, by saying, “Behold The Lamb.” In other words God was saying, “You’ve been waiting for the Lamb of God. Well here He is. He’s My Son, and by following Him, obeying Him, and surrendering to Him, you’ll have the opportunity to see everything change in your lives. Old things will become new and you’ll become a new creation. My Son’s sacrificial death will bring you life, and make a way for you to come back into relationship with Me.”

In The Old Testament
“Where’s the lamb?”

In The New Testament
“Behold the Lamb!"

Merry Christmas ... and Godspeed.



02 December 2008


Many years ago, there was a wealthy widower who, with his only child, a devoted young son, shared a passion for art collecting. Together they traveled the world, adding only the finest art treasures to their collection. Priceless works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet and many others adorned the walls of the family estate.

The man looked on with satisfaction as his son became an experienced art collector. The son's trained eye and sharp business mind caused his father to beam with pride as they dealt with art collectors worldwide. As winter approached, war engulfed the nation, and the son left home to serve his country. After only a few short weeks, his father received a telegram that his beloved son had died while rushing a fellow soldier to a medic.

Distraught and lonely, the man faced the upcoming Christmas holidays with sadness. The joy of the season that he and his son had so looked forward to — would no longer visit his house. On Christmas morning, a knock on the door awakened the depressed old man.

As he walked to the door, the masterpieces on his walls only reminded him that his son was not coming home. As he opened the door, a soldier greeted him with a large, wrapped package in his hand. He introduced himself to the man by saying, “I was a friend of your son. In fact, I was the soldier he was rescuing when he died. May I come in for a few moments? I have something to show you.”

As the two began talking, the soldier told the man how often his son spoke of their shared love of fine art. “I'm an artist,” said the soldier, “and I want to give you this.” As the old man unwrapped the package, the paper gave way to reveal a portrait of the man's son. Though the world would never consider it the work of a genius, the painting featured the young man's face in striking detail. Overcome with emotion, the man thanked the soldier, promising to hang the picture above the fireplace in his study.

A few hours later, after the soldier had departed, the old man set about his task. True to his word, the painting went above the fireplace in his study, pushing aside paintings worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. And then the man sat in his chair and spent Christmas gazing at the wonderful gift he had been given. During the days and weeks that followed, the man discovered that even though his son was no longer with him, the boy's life would live on because he had rescued dozens of wounded soldiers before he died.

As the stories of his son's gallantry continued to reach him, fatherly pride and satisfaction began to ease the grief. The painting of his son soon became his most prized possession, far eclipsing any interest in the pieces for which museums around the world clamored. He told his neighbors it was the greatest gift he had ever received.

The following spring, the old man became ill and passed away. The art world was in anticipation. With the collector's passing, and his only son dead, his paintings would be sold at an auction. According to the will of the old man, all of the art works would be auctioned on Christmas day, the day he had received his greatest gift.

The day arrived and art collectors from around the world gathered to bid on some of the world's most spectacular paintings. Dreams would be fulfilled this day; greatness would be achieved as many would add the new art to their collections. But the auction began with a painting that was not on any museum's list. It was the painting of the man's son. The auctioneer asked for an opening bid and the room fell silent. “Who will open the bidding with $100?” he asked.

Minutes passed. No one spoke. From the back of the room came, “Who cares about that painting? It's just a picture of his son. Let's forget it and go on to the good stuff.” More voices echoed in agreement. “No, we have to sell this one first,” replied the auctioneer. “Now, who will take the son?” Finally, a friend of the old man spoke. “Will you take ten dollars for the painting? That's all I have. I knew the boy, so I'd like to have it.” “I have ten dollars. Will anyone go higher?” called the auctioneer.

After more silence, the auctioneer said, “Going once, going twice. Gone.” The gavel fell. Cheers filled the room and someone exclaimed, “Now we can get on with it and we can bid on these treasures!” The auctioneer looked at the audience and announced the auction was over.

Stunned disbelief quieted the room. Someone spoke up and asked, “What do you mean it's over? We didn't come here for a picture of this man’s son! What about all of the other paintings? There are millions of dollars of art here! I demand that you explain what's going on here!” The auctioneer replied, “It's really very simple. According to the will of the father, whoever takes the son … gets it all.”

And just like the people discovered at the auction, the message is the same today … God the Father’s greatest love and greatest joy came when His only Son stepped out of heaven and into the world, so that He could step into our hearts.

Jesus Christ gave His life rescuing others. And when Jesus Christ died on the cross, He paid the price for the sin of the world. The price for your sin and for my sin, and made it possible for us to come into a relationship with God.

And because of God the Father's love … whoever takes the Son, Jesus Christ, gets it all … abundant life in the here and now, and eternal life when we pass from this world. Blessed be the word of the LORD. Godspeed.




Jesus said to him, “I am THE way,
and THE truth, and THE life;
NO ONE comes to the Father
but through Me. [emphasis added]

I believe that heaven is a great place to look forward to. But even if heaven wasn’t a reality, the freedom from the penalty and bondage of sin and the abundant life that God brings us into when we come into a relationship with Him … just those realities alone, make surrendering our lives to God worth it.

But we’ve got to make sure we know that Jesus Christ is the only way into this restored relationship with God, because as Jesus Christ says here in JOHN 14:6, “no one comes to the Father, but through Me.”

And as Jesus spoke these words to His disciples, He knew that the cross was just one day away. And when we think of the extreme suffering Jesus Christ endured in order to secure our freedom from sin’s penalty, our hearts should overflow with love for Him. Leslie Flynn who pastored one single church in Nanuet, NY for more than 40 years, told a story that illustrates this truth …

An orphaned boy was living with his grandmother when their house caught fire. The grandmother, trying to get upstairs to rescue the boy, died in the flames. The boy’s cries for help were finally answered by a man who climbed up an iron drainpipe and came down with the boy hanging tightly to his neck.

Many weeks later, a public hearing was held to determine who would receive custody of the child. A farmer, a teacher, and the town’s wealthiest citizen each offered the judge the reasons they felt they should be chosen to give the boy a home. But as each of them talked, the boy’s eyes remained focused on the floor.

Then a stranger walked to the front of the room and slowly took his fire-scarred hands from his pockets. As the crowd gasped at the severity of his wounds, the boy cried out in recognition. This was the man who had saved his life … the one whose hands had been burned as he climbed up the fire-hot iron drainpipe. And with a leap, the boy threw his arms around the man’s neck and held on for dear life.

The other three men walked silently out of the room, leaving the boy and his rescuer alone. The man’s scarred hands had settled the issue once and for all.

Many voices are calling for our attention. Among them is the One whose nail-pierced hands remind us that He has rescued us from sin and its deadly consequences. To Him, and to Him alone, belong our surrender, our love, and our devotion. Godspeed.