The following is an excerpt from a sermon I preached on Sunday, December 16, 2012 two days after the school shooting in Newtown, CT.
I wonder if Jesus Christ looks glorious to you today. I wonder if recent tragedies in our country have caused you to doubt his goodness, to question whether he might be less glorious than he really is.
If that is you today I want you to know that this recent tragedy has personally hit me unlike another one that I can remember. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I have a 5 year old daughter who is in kindergarden and for the last two weeks I have been doing a lot of work in several of the elementary schools around Chicago.
So I by no means would EVER EVER want to minimize the terrible tragedy and pain that these families are going through by my comments, but yesterday as I was looking at this sermon I couldn’t help but ask:
Can I still go up on that stage and tell all those people that they should give praise to the superiority and the humility and the glory of Jesus Christ?
How can I come up here and tell you that this baby, this prince of peace, has come to bring peace on this earth when every day we see and hear about anything but peace on this earth?
Then as I was praying to God and asking him for wisdom on what to say and what to do I had this overwhelming feeling that God wanted me to remind you that the message of Christmas is a message that brings great hope to a lost and dying and hurting world.
You see there were some Fathers on Friday that sent their sons and daughters off to school not knowing what would happen to them on that day and we all know that if they would have had any idea what was going to happen they would have never let their kids go into that school building that day.
Yet, the message of Christmas tells us of another Father who sent his one and only son to this earth knowing full well what was going to happen….And he still did it!
He came into the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. We rejected him, we despised him, he was a man of many sorrows, and he was eventually brutally murdered.
Our God is not some distant monster who does not know how to sympathize with our sufferings. He became a man of suffering. He KNOWS!!! He knows what it is like to lose a son and we should know that because he lost his son, murders and tragedies do not have the final word.
Oh, how we should turn to a God like this and all the more so in the midst of such terrible tragedies!!!
Don’t you see that there is no other gathering of worshippers this morning who can tell you that their God knows what it is like to lose his son. What other religion? … What other god? … What other faith has a God like our God who knows our pains and sufferings? … There is NONE! For there is only one God, one faith and one Lord who comes down from his mighty throne and takes on the pain and suffering and evil in this world.
That is the amazing glory of Christ’s incarnation. That is the amazing glory of his humility that he would not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped but he humbled himself and took on the form of a servant. He became obedient to the point of death and even death on a cross.
He went through strife so that we could know peace!
He was crushed so that we could be lifted up!
He experienced the displeasure of God so that we could experience His pleasure!