When I was a kid I never understood that Christmas was a religious holiday. I got toys, that’s as much as I needed to know. When I got a little older I enjoyed giving & getting presents; but I still had no clue that Christmas was anything more than that.
Thing is, I had no excuse. I heard the Christmas story every year. I mean there were School programs where we sang the carols… Somebody managed to drag me to VBS at least once a summer. We even had a backyard Bible Club in my neighborhood. I went. If that wasn’t enough, every year I listened to Linus telling Charlie Brown the true meaning of Christmas, right out of the Gospel of Luke.
And yet… I got nothin’.
But, maybe it’s not so surprising after all. The twelve men whom Jesus chose to spend his public ministry with—to pour his life into—were just as clueless.
31 Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, "We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. 32 He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. 33 On the third day he will rise again."
34 The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about. Luke 18:31-34 (NIV)
They got nothing, too. Zip. Zero. Nada. They didn’t understand because what Jesus told them was contrary to their desires. The message was hidden because they didn’t want to hear it in the first place. They wanted a Mighty King not a Suffering Servant.
So what about you…? Yeah, yeah, you’ve heard it all before: Baby Jesus, meek and mild… Yada-Yada-Yada…Here’s a surprise, from the point of view of Jesus’ sacrifice, it IS all about you. God became one of us; not just LIKE us, but one of us. He experienced nine months in the womb. He had all the childhood diseases. He had to take care of whiny little brothers and sisters. He made the ULTIMATE sacrifice for you: He VOLUNTARILY went through puberty and the teenage years… He had acne For YOU. That’s what I call suffering before the cross. This little child came specifically to live thirty years as one of us BEFORE giving his life as a ransom for YOU.
Are you like I was? Like the disciples? Are you clueless or do you understand?