THAT YOU MAY BELIEVE - John Piper
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. —John 20:30–31
I feel so strongly that among those of us who have grown up in church and who can recite the great doctrines of our faith in our sleep and who yawn through the Apostles Creed—that among us something must be done to help us once more feel the awe, the fear, the astonishment, the wonder of the Son of God, begotten by the Father from all eternity, reflecting all the glory of God, being the very image of his person, through whom all things were created, upholding the universe by the word of his power. You can read every fairy tale that was ever written, every mystery thriller, every ghost story, and you will never find anything so shocking, so strange, so weird and so spellbinding as the story of the incarnation of the Son of God. How dead we are! How callous and unfeeling to his glory and his story! How often have I had to repent and say, “God, I am sorry that the stories men have made up stir my emotions, my awe and wonder and admiration and joy, more than your own true story.” The space thrillers of our day, like Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, can do this great good for us: they can humble us and bring us to repentance, by showing us that we really are capable of some of the wonder and awe and amazement that we so seldom feel when we contemplate the eternal God and the cosmic Christ and a real living contact between them and us in Jesus of Nazareth. When Jesus said, “For this I have come into the world,” he said something as crazy and weird and strange and eerie as any statement in science fiction that you have ever read (John 18:37). O, how I pray for a breaking forth of the Spirit of God upon me and upon you. I pray for the Holy Spirit to break into my experience in a frightening way, to wake me up to the unimaginable reality of God. One of these days lightning is going to fill the sky from the rising of the sun to its setting, and there is going to appear in the clouds one like a son of man with his mighty angels in flaming fire. And we will see him clearly. And whether from terror or sheer excitement, we will tremble and we will wonder how, how we ever lived so long with such a domesticated, harmless Christ. These things are written that you might believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came into the world. Really believe.
Piper makes a good point. I don’t think I spend much time thinking about the awesomeness of Jesus. I know he has, is and will continue to do truly amazing things. When I think back and remember what it felt like as a young believer learning about the miracles he did it was so amazing. Being the son of God I’m sure has its advantages, but wow. Now years later, I’ve heard the same stories and read the same prayers over and over. Applying this to Christmas, how can we remain in a state of awe while reciting familiar prayers and singing familiar songs? I think we start by realizing that our faith has become stale. We should ask God to make our hearts and minds hear the stories like when they were new to us. Reading scripture about this amazing Jesus. Digging deeper and doing studies on his miracles. Remembering when he spoke about how we need to receive the kingdom of God like children (Mark 10:15). God has a way of doing amazing things with a humble heart, and we need to make our time here count. So as we are reading and hearing familiar stories this season, let’s remember the one who we are really talking about. The one that created the earth, stars, planets, galaxies, more than we even know about…and he was just getting started.