When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask Him, "Are You the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” Matthew 11:2-3
This story comes from a Christian grade school teacher in a small town in the southeast. Having rehearsed her second graders, she felt brave enough to take them caroling. They went to a number of places where the people were homebound. After each place, the children talked about how the older folks had smiled as they sang. The children had never seen such smiles.
The wandering concert ended up in the community’s only nursing home. There, the teacher, with her charges in tow, wandered the hallways giving a song at the doorway of each resident. Only then did she notice that one of her more enthusiastic singers had rewritten the words to one of the songs. Where he was supposed to be singing, “Noel, Noel”(Noel meaning Christmas or Christmastide), he was belting out, for all to hear: “No hell, no hell, born is the King of Israel.”
I like the boy’s interpretation. “No hell” certainly explains the purpose of Christ’s coming, doesn’t it? Because God’s Son came into this world, all who believe on Him no longer have to fear sin, death, the devil, or hell. Because of Jesus, all who believe in Him as Savior know they need not fear hell. The job is done; our redemption is complete. Believers have God’s Good News of great joy that the angels first announced to the Bethlehem shepherds. Christians have a Savior, Christ the Lord.
It is regretful that so many people seem to question the reality, the completeness, and the truth of Jesus atonement. They keep looking for another Savior. If you are among those who are looking, let me assure you that Jesus’ work is real, total, and effective. Jesus’ resurrection on the third day has shown to the entire world that His work was finished. His disciples believed. They died confessing the truth of what they had seen and heard. Not one, not one confessed to having made up a lie. Still not sure?
Then I encourage you to search other religions. No other faith makes such a resurrection claim. Search the history books and see that no other incident in history so changed the course of so many lives, as did Christ’s resurrection. Which means, like the little boy, you can believe that because of Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection, there is, for you, no hell.
Excerpt from The Lutheran Hour sermon preached on December 12, 2004
THE PRAYER: Gracious God, You are the giver of all good things. Thank you for the promise that springs from Jesus' birth, life, death, and resurrection. Open my eyes to all of Your blessings today, so that my heart may overflow with thanksgiving. Amen.