On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus was also invited to the wedding with His disciples. John 2:1-2
In The Lutheran Hour sermon this past weekend, my good friend Pastor Klaus asked the question, "What would have happened if Jesus would have stayed?"
Have you ever asked that question? If Jesus had remained on earth, would He have silenced all skeptics, healed all diseases, fed the hungry, housed the homeless? Wouldn't the world be a better place if He would have stayed?
Those would seem to be problems worthy of God's attention. Indeed, Jesus worked many great healing miracles to show God's concern for our daily struggles. But you and I have far bigger problems than our physical, material needs on earth -- no matter how pressing these might be.
No, Jesus didn't come into the world to set it right. He will do that when He returns the next time on Judgment Day -- but not the first time. No, the first time He came to set you and me right -- right with God our Father.
That wasn't as simple a thing as you might think. It was a full-time job for Jesus. Every hour of His life He was busy doing those things necessary to remove the barrier between God, on the one hand, and you and me, on the other. He was busy obeying His Father's will perfectly -- in His thoughts, words and deeds. He was busy loving His Father with all His heart, all His mind, all His soul, and all His strength. He was busy loving His neighbor as Himself. For all the times you and I falter and fail at this thing called life, Jesus had to be absolutely perfect. It was the only way to make us right with God.
But that wasn't enough either. Living a good life, living a perfect life for us was not enough. There was still the matter of those sins Jesus had to deal with. They were terribly offensive to the Father -- and to Jesus Himself as well. When you are spotless ~ holy and pure like the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit ~ sin, selfishness and disobedience isn't something you can tolerate. God didn't create us to be that way, and if we were to be with Him, He couldn't just leave us carrying those stains around.
So Jesus carried that stain for us. He took upon Himself all our sins, and carried them to the cross. There He bore the full punishment of God His Father for all the forbidden things we do, and for all the good things we know we ought to do, but leave undone. Yes, Jesus suffered and died for every single sin you have ever committed or will ever commit.
Because of His suffering and death, God the Father is able to forgive us, to restore us, to accept us as His very own children. And because of Jesus' glorious third-day resurrection, death is swallowed up in life, and our eternal future is secured with God in heaven.
That's why Jesus became human and came to earth to live among us that first Christmas. His life gives our lives purpose and meaning. Now we can rejoice in God our Savior. Now we can live in peace and joy as His dear children, and we can spread the story of His indescribable love for us.
Oh, and those human needs we see all around us? Just like Jesus' miracles where He healed the sick and fed multitudes, our efforts to ease human suffering will show our Father's loving, gracious heart and help people hear the Gospel of Jesus' love that much more clearly.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank You for dealing with our greatest need through your suffering, death and resurrection. As we look to meet the needs of the people around us, help us not to neglect their spiritual need for the Good News of Your salvation. In Your Holy Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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