She will bear a Son, and you shall call His Name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. Matthew 1:21
Think back. Can you remember when your school classmates were choosing sides for a game?
Were you ever picked last? Were you ever consistently the last one who was selected? From experience I can tell you it's a terrible thing to be considered the worst player in class.
If that scenario doesn't seem familiar, let me ask you guys, did you ever ask a girl out for a date and have her look at you like you were some slimy thing that had just crawled out from under a rock? Ladies, let me ask you, did you ever sit by the phone and wait for someone special to call and ask you out to an important occasion? The silence of the phone was deafening, wasn't it? Nobody likes to be written off.
Most of us don't expect to be number one in everything we do; on the other hand, we also don't expect to be number last either. We don't like to be written off.
Having said that, I'm amazed at the number of times the Gospels speak about people who didn't pick Jesus first, second, last or at all.
When Jesus was born, King Herod did his best to make sure Jesus would be forgotten. Years later the crowd in His hometown of Nazareth refused to let Him lay claim to the Messiahship. Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies about what the Savior would say and do, but His church, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and numerous individuals refused to believe in Him and most did their best to have Him murdered.
Today, 2,000 years after Jesus was born in Bethlehem, things haven't changed.
Like Herod, there are governments which try to eliminate the Savior; there are countries like the community of Nazareth which threaten anyone who would preach Christ crucified and risen; there are religions who promise to execute anyone who converts to the Savior; there are organizations which, like the Pharisees, constantly plot to have His Name removed from public consideration and consciousness.
They all want Jesus to be number last in the minds and hearts of people.
But things haven't changed.
Jesus is still the Savior; His sacrifice still moves people from darkness to light; His resurrection still provides comfort to those who mourn, and His forgiveness allows hundreds of millions to be at peace.
No, things haven't changed.
Gabriel's words remain reliable and true: Jesus still saves people from their sins.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, although many people would confine Jesus to being number last, may He always be first in my thoughts, my life, my prayers and my hope. Because He has saved me from my sins, may I be grateful and able to show my appreciation in all I do and say. In His Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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