What Do You Really Need for Christmas? Part 1

by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)

What Do You Really Need for Christmas?

John 3:16-18

Text: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. “He who believes in Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:16-18)

There is a poem by an unknown author that I would like to read to you. It goes like this:
If the world had needed an educator,
God in His mercy would have sent us a Great Teacher.
If the world had needed a financial manager,
God in His mercy would have sent us a Great Economist.
If the world had needed more entertainment,
God in His mercy would have sent us a Great Actor.
If the world had needed a revolution,
God in His mercy would have sent us a great Leader.
But what the world really needed was a Savior,
So God in His mercy sent us Jesus!

This is the thought that I would like for you to mull over this morning: I believe a look at this poem when read in the light of scripture will show us the gift each of us needs to give and receive this Christmas season.

Many claim that education is what we need the most; but “If the world had needed an educator, God in His mercy would have sent us a Great Teacher.”

Education is wonderful, however, the fact is that education fails to meet the deepest needs of individuals and society. Some scientists report that information that is available to the public used to double every 30-50 years, however, since the internet was created and become so commonplace, it now doubles every 2-3 years.

Consider this:
• The books in all the libraries of the world.
• Out of print books.
• The magazines past and present.
• The multitude of term papers written by students.
• Web-pages.
• TV.
• Radio.
• And there many are other forms of dispensing information.

It used to take 30-50 years for publicly accessible information to double; now all of the information stuff in the world doubles every 2-3 years. Leading educators say we are in the midst of an information onslaught. Not only is information booming; so is education! More people are educated around the world today than have ever been educated in history, yet the moral and physical condition of our world is declining.

If education is the answer to all our problems, why does America have the highest crime rate in the world? If education is the answer, why do some of the world’s most educated people struggle with substance abuse? If education is the answer, why are so many educated people still depressed and unfulfilled? A good education is truly important, but the greatest need for individuals and society is not a good education or a great teacher-OUR GREATEST NEED IS A SAVIOR. Don’t get me wrong; I’m all in favor of education and Jesus was too.

I know that Jesus was educated, because Luke wrote, “Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. So when they saw Him, they were

amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.” And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 6:42-49) This is the account of when Jesus was twelve; He was already teaching the teachers. He was able to understand, question and teach those who were much older than He was.

I am confident that Jesus received a good education as he grew because it was common for Jewish boys to go to school and be educated. As Jesus grew He got even wiser. That’s the thought behind Luke 2:52, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” There is no doubt that Jesus was an educated man; He was educated by human teachers and the Holy Spirit. Jesus was even a teacher Himself. Throughout the New Testament Jesus is addressed by His followers as Teacher or Rabbi.

He also identifies Himself as a teacher. Listen to what He said in John 14:23-24, “Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words, and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.”

It’s clear from scripture that Jesus definitely was the great Teacher; however, it’s also clear that the focus of Jesus’ ministry was not to teach-BUT TO SAVE.

Many claim that more wealth is what we need the most; but “If the world had needed a financial manager, God in His mercy would have sent us a Great Economist.”

Money is important, but it fails to meet the deepest need of individuals and society. I know people who think money is the most important thing in life and they will do anything to get it. If they get enough of it, they feel they will be happy.
What about those who have reached a high level of wealth? What do they have to say about this issue? Residents of Saddle Back California are some of the best-paid professionals in the country, but statistics show that their level of debt is higher than their income. Even with the enormous income that many of them make they still do not feel that they have enough. Those who earn wages in the top 2% of the country when polled say they do not consider themselves wealthy enough. Wealth will not bring contentment in this life, and even if someone is content with their wealth they will still die. When the great J. D. Rockefeller died a reporter asked his chief lawyer, “How much did he take with him?” The lawyer replied in a mellow tone, “Not a penny.”

What if we were to try to equally distribute the wealth, wouldn’t that solve some of society's problems? It didn’t help the USSR. It has not helped in our cities. Many inner-city public housing projects are often used as drug houses with their insides gutted out.

It has not helped on the Indian Reservations where casinos were placed supposedly “to provide jobs and wealth.” But they have only caused more poverty and abuse.

Money is important; we need it to live, but it’s not what we need the most. The greatest need for individuals and society is not financial management or a good economist-OUR GREATEST NEED IS FOR A SAVIOR.

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