Faith Matters: Keep the main thing the main thingOn Dec. 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright finally succeeded in keeping their homemade airplane aloft for 59 seconds.
By: Pastor Ron Weller, The River, River Falls Journal
On Dec. 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright finally succeeded in keeping their homemade airplane aloft for 59 seconds.
They were ecstatic! As part of the excitement, they sent a telegram to their sister in Dayton, Ohio. Their simple message was, “First sustained flight today, fifty-nine seconds. Hope to be home by Christmas.”
Their sister was so enthralled by their success that she immediately took the telegram to the local newspaper and gave it to the editor. The following day (as the story is told), the Wright brothers name was splashed across the front page. The headline surprisingly read, “Popular Local Bicycle Merchants to Be Home for Holidays.” The editor missed the main point of this historic telegram. The main point of the message and the historic moment in the history of aviation had been overlooked by a well meaning newspaper editor.
Dear friends, each December many sincere people impersonate this newspaper editor. The most significant point of the Christmas story is lost in the endless hours of planning, shopping and celebration and sometimes elevated conflict.
The words that best shape the rudimentary meaning of Christmas and keep us from becoming like that newspaper editor are the words from the angel to Joseph the caretaker of Jesus. (By the way, Joseph is never called the father of Jesus).
The words to Joseph concerning the Christ are: “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matt. 1:21” (ESV).
The crucial nugget of the Christmas story is that Christ would come to save those who would believe from the power, penalty and eventually the presence of sin.
What does He also accomplish in this act? He vindicates the Father’s infinite value and glory. When the power of sin is broken, so is the problem of not giving God His proper place. That is what “He will save His people from their sins” means.
Thus Jesus came to confront the greatest human problem (though there are many others) that has ever existed and will ever exist: The awful curse of sin. It is a weed whose root goes so deep into the heart of which we are that only the axe of a sacrificial savior could cut it out. The extreme measures taken by God are an apologetic of how sinful sin surely is.
Thus the main thing in the message of Christmas is about a savior saving sinful people from sinful ways and from a disposition which belittles God and His son.
This Christmas season, would you consider again the gospel message and the implications of a savior who would come as a man, die for the likes of sinful people (us) and then be raised from the dead conquering sin, Satan and death?
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:15 ESV.