We Christians have good news to share with the world. However, the truth about Jesus is not welcome in our society. What attitude should we adopt as we share this good news? Watch the video or scroll down to read the transcript.
Christmas is a joyful time of year. We get together with family and friends, exchange gifts, listen to Christmas carols, eat good food, and repeat treasured traditions. As Christians, part of the reason this is a joyful season is because we know we have the good news of Jesus Christ to share with the world. We know there are many people in our world who need the truth of Jesus. We see people in our society ensnared in addictions. Others are desperately seeking fame or attention on social media, or pursuing sin in a vain effort to fill a void in their lives. We Christians know that, ultimately, these people need the truth about Jesus. We Christians should go out and share this good news.
Unfortunately, the truth of Christianity is not welcome in our culture. Many people are trying to take Christ out of Christmas. Christianity is based on absolute truth, but our culture says there is no such thing as absolute truth. Christianity says the God of the Bible is the one and only true God, but our culture says there are many gods. Christianity says Jesus is the only way to heaven, but our culture says there are many ways to heaven. When we Christians share the truth of Christianity, our society mocks us and tries to delegitimize us. When we insist that Christianity is the only religion that is true, we face the threat of persecution. All of this raises a question. How should we Christians respond when we face the fear of persecution?
There’s a small part of the Christmas story that illustrates the mentality we Christians should have as we consider our part in sharing the good news of Jesus. Let’s take a look at this, starting at Luke 1:26.
Luke 1:26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. 31 “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. 32 “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” 34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. 36 “And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. 37 “For nothing will be impossible with God.”
Let’s pause here. Notice the angel greeted Mary with a positive message that she was a favored one. The angel proceeded to tell Mary that she was going to become pregnant while she was still a virgin and without being married. In our culture it has become common for women to bear children outside of marriage, so we have lost the impact of what we read here in the Gospel of Luke. In the culture in which Mary lived, it was very taboo for a lady to be pregnant without being married. When Mary heard she was going to be pregnant without being married, she knew she faced the prospect of being ostracized, or worse. When the angel greeted Mary, he very easily could have greeted her by saying, “Mary, I have a message for you that is going to destroy your reputation and ruin your life.”
Let’s look at how Mary reacted to the news she received.
Luke 1:38 And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
The phrasing in that verse is a little odd compared to how we talk in 21st century America, so let me interpret it a little bit. Basically, Mary said, “I am a servant of the Lord. I accept whatever lot in life the Lord gives me.”
That’s the attitude we Christians need to have in 21st century America. We have good news that the world needs to hear. We need to proclaim the truth about Jesus Christ, and we need to have the mentality that we are servants of Jesus, and if the truth about Jesus results in persecution, then so be it.
Let me give you three reasons why we should have that attitude. First, Jesus deserves it. Jesus died on the cross for us. The pain and persecution that we might go through in 21st century America is nothing compared to the pain and persecution that Jesus went through when He died on the cross for us.
Second, we have a message the world needs to hear. Think about Mary. The benefits to the world of her bringing Jesus into the world are far greater than the scorn she faced for being pregnant outside of marriage. Likewise for us, the good that we can achieve by sharing the good news of Jesus is greater than the persecution we need to endure in order to share that news.
Third, this is an opportunity to love Jesus. Let me illustrate it this way. Imagine there’s a father who goes to his son on a Saturday morning and says, “Let’s spend the morning watching TV and eating candy.” Now imagine there’s another father who goes to his son on a Saturday morning and says, “I need you to help me fix the roof this morning.” If both sons say yes, which son demonstrates more love? The second son demonstrates more love because fixing a roof is harder than watching TV and eating candy.
The same is true of our love for Jesus. We don’t demonstrate much love for Jesus if we follow and obey Him when life is easy. However, we demonstrate a lot of love for Jesus if we serve and obey Him when it’s difficult to do so.
Let me close by challenging you to answer two questions. First, what are the abilities, circumstances, and opportunities that Jesus has placed in your life that you can use to serve Him? Second, are you willing to take advantage of those opportunities even if it means you will be mocked, scorned, attacked, and persecuted? In other words, are you willing to say, as Mary said, “I am a servant of the Lord. I accept whatever lot in life the Lord has assigned to me.”?
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“Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®,
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