Each day of this devotional series, we will consider key moments in God’s glorious plan to redeem us. We will understand both the overarching story of God and the highlights of all He’s done for us in Christ.
I love grateful people. I enjoy doing things for people like that. God loves grateful people too. We have so much to be grateful to God for, most of all that He sent His Son to redeem us from our slavery to sin. This gift was the apex of God’s redemptive plan.
Since the time of the last prophet Malachi, God didn’t designate any patriarchs, kings or prophets. There was no message from God. This 400-year silence highlights the drama of Christ’s arrival. The fulfillment of all the prophecies, predictions and promises of the Old Testament arrived. Yet the way He came and the methods He used defied expectations.
The gospels — the accounts of Jesus’ life written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John — feature many surprises.
Jesus came humbly, as a baby who needed His swaddling clothes changed, in a backward part of Israel, to a modest family. He grew up to become a carpenter and then a strange rabbi with a ragtag cohort of followers — ranging from hated tax collectors to stinky fishermen.
Contrary to most religious instructors, His teachings were economical, colloquial, and powerful. He lived what He preached. His parables delighted some and confounded others. He spread no jingoistic political rhetoric, yet He never stopped talking about a “kingdom of God.”
He came as an example. He had compassion for everyone. He welcomed children and fed people. He healed the sick and washed dirty feet. He saw brokenness and wept. In every encounter with ordinary people, He spoke truth and acceptance.
Many expected the promised Messiah to be a conquering hero. Instead, He freed us from our spiritual separation from God.
More than anything else, He came to die. More than a martyr, He came as a sacrifice. “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2, New International Version).
Jesus is the dramatic climax of God’s redemptive story. Jesus’ life, death and resurrection prove that God can lift up broken, condemned and ordinary human beings and make them His friends — cleansed, fulfilled and empowered to share His Kingdom.
These grateful and transformed people join the celebration. It’s as if they say, “He’s here. He’s one of us. And nothing will be the same.”
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