Pul­pit Notes

The Covington News - - Religion -

God Picked Me!

Way back when, when I asked my wife to marry me, she didn’t say “Yes.” Well, even­tu­ally she did, but not right away. She said some­thing much bet­ter. She grabbed my face in her hands and said, “You mean, I get you? You picked me?” as if I was some sort of prize. (You can see what they mean when they say love is blind).

I tell that story be­cause it sums up the feel­ings each of the char­ac­ters in this his­tory of Je­sus’ birth would be feel­ing. “God picked me?” It sums up the feel­ings we should be feel­ing as we open our Bi­bles and read Luke 2. “God picked me?”

And as we keep read­ing, we can take the ques­tion mark out of there, be­cause as un­be­liev­able as it is, yes, God picked you. It goes through­out the story, from the un­wed, unim­pres­sive young woman from a tiny lit­tle town who is picked to be the vir­gin mother of God’s son, to the shep­herds who were picked to be his first worshippers; from the place, that lit­tle town of , to you, right here, right now — read­ing this news­pa­per. God picked you.

But why? Why did God send the an­gel to come to a town ar­chae­ol­o­gists strug­gle to find any­thing on to talk to a girl there with noth­ing to com­mend her? In­stead of en­ter­ing with flashes of light­ning and char­i­ots of fire, our God en­tered our world as a cou­ple of cells in the womb of a no­body, in a noth­ing town that even the Old Tes­ta­ment calls small. And as if that weren’t enough, it hap­pened in a sta­ble, with likely more an­i­mal than hu­man wit­nesses. And his bed was their feed trough.

Why? Be­cause by pick­ing all of th­ese hum­ble cir­cum­stances — God was do­ing some­thing else. God was pick­ing me… God was pick­ing you.

Add up all the small­ness of the sit­u­a­tion — Nazareth, Beth­le­hem, sta­ble, manger — and it doesn’t even come close to com­par­ing to this choice God made. God picked me, a sin­ner. The way he came isn’t nearly as earth shat­ter­ing as the fact that he came — for us. You see those small towns and those hum­ble set­tings weren’t fight­ing against him. We were. God cre­ated us hu­mans to be per­fect, to live love, to give him glory. In­stead we de­cided to try to give our­selves glory, and in so do­ing re­moved any­thing glo­ri­ous from our­selves.

God told Adam and Eve — “Love me and your life will be ideal.” Satan told them to love them­selves more and find out how much bet­ter life could be re­belling against God. So they slapped their cre­ator in the face with a bite of the for­bid­den fruit. And we haven’t stopped fol­low­ing their lead. Ev­ery selfish thought, ev­ery hurt­ing word, ev­ery jeal­ous heart is an all out as­sault on God. He is holy. Our sin sets us at odds with him, and it is a bar­rier that we can­not over­come be­cause if ho­li­ness and sin in­ter­act, one of them must die, ei­ther the sin kills the ho­li­ness like Adam and Eve’s sin did for the hu­man race — or the ho­li­ness kills the sin like God’s wrath does over all who break his law.

This means that we must die. We were death row con­victs with no op­por­tu­nity for ap­peal. Un­til…God picked us. He found a so­lu­tion. Ei­ther the sin­ner or the holy one must die. So, God sent his son, born of a woman. And “While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her first­born, a son.” God be­came one of us…to die, to take our sin with him to death and de­stroy it. It doesn’t make sense. It is emo­tion­ally over­whelm­ing, but God picked me.

That’s what this baby in the manger is all about. God picked me. That’s what the cross shouts out: God picked me. Above his own son, above his own com­fort, above all — God picked me. And God picked you too — to be his per­fect, his for­given child, to live with him for­ever. It is a Merry Christ­mas.

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