Christmas Day 2022: Ian Middlemist

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Christmas can be a little like hide and seek for many people around us. Where can I find the real Jesus? It seems very different for some people. For some, we wish it would be a lot easier. The search for the real Jesus can seem like a game of hide and seek.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been hiding things in secret places. In the game of hide and seek someone hides and someone seeks. Seeking the real Jesus – who is the one hiding in your mind and who is the one seeking? Is Jesus hiding or is it you hiding? The light was coming into the world. Jesus is the light, so He isn’t hiding. We, therefore, are the ones who are hiding.

  1. Revealing the light.

 “The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.” (John 1:9). The true light. ‘True’ here means genuine. Our pursuit this Christmas time is for the real Jesus, not the Nativity shown in school plays. John’s point is Jesus is the true light, the ultimate disclosure of God to man. The true light is revealed to every man who comes into the world. Coming into the world is repeatedly said about Jesus.

The following verses talk about Jesus being in the world. He comes into the world and enlightens every man. The light is shining for everyone. “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20). This includes the right of conscience, of right and wrong. The Quakers say it’s the inner light God gives to everyone. We need to connect with that inner light and gain purpose. Some say the light is only for those who are born again. But verse 9 refers to the exposure the light brings when it shines on something. It’s not inner light, but the revelation of light that came into the world through the incarnation. It shines on every man, but it divides human nature. Those who hate the light flee. But some receive the light and respond and welcome the light.

In John’s gospel, the revelation of Christ is the revelation of light that shines on all and causes a distinction. The witness that comes through the light, Jesus, demands a response. It exposes sin. Some react angrily, others love the light, knowing it’s for healing.

  • Rejecting the Light.

He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.” (John 1:10-11).

A sad sign of Christmas, of the things occurring around us, is rejecting Jesus. The tragedy of sin and terrible wickedness in human hearts. Sin is completely irrational. How irrational it is for people to reject the light of the gospel. Jesus paid the price for sin and offered the gift of light. Some love their sin so much they would rather face eternal judgement rather than receive the light to become God’s child, to receive the blessings, the riches of His goodness.

The world is a key concept for John; he uses it 78 times, mostly in reference to the evil system that is under Satan. It’s hostile both to Jesus and His followers. Verses 3 and 10 – Jesus made the world and yet the world didn’t know Him. When human beings do not recognise the Creator – as a nation we are seeking to remove the name of Jesus Christ from all consciousness. People are replacing Jesus’ name to make it a swear word. The world did not know Him. Knowing Jesus is central. Peter says, in chapter 6, “We have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 1:69). But in chapter 8 Jesus says to the hostile Jews, “But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word.” (John 8:55).

Why didn’t the world know its Saviour? Because it is spiritually blind and loves its own darkness. People have no desire to know Jesus in a personal way. John says, He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.” (John 1:11). He came to His own kingdom and Hs own people didn’t receive him. They should have recognised Jesus as the prophesied one in their beloved scriptures. But He wasn’t the kind of messiah they wanted. They were hoping for a political messiah, to deliver them from Rome’s power. They didn’t want a Saviour to save them from sin. They rejected the light. This gift, at first sight, maybe doesn’t look like much, but it’s far better than anything you could have expected or imagines.

There are two applications:

  1. Make sure we are not rejecting the true light. He is seeking. The light is shining.
  2. Don’t be surprised when people don’t respond positively to the witness of Christ. People love darkness.
  • Receiving the Light.

“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13).

To receive light is the opposite to not knowing Him and rejecting Him. To receive light means to welcome Him. His name refers to all Jesus is in His person. It refers to all He did. By dying on the cross Jesus shed HIs blood as a substitute for my sin. You rely totally on what Jesus did for you on the cross. Your only hope is not in yourself but in Him and His works.

Receiving Christ means to rely on Him totally for the payment for sin. He gave us the authority to become children of God. Those who believe become children of God. Therefore, all people are not God’s children by natural birth. We cannot assume we have the right to be called children of God. We need spiritual birth, See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” (1 John 3:1).

What a wonderful privilege is ours today. Because He came, we can be called children of God. Children of God – not natural birth. This birth comes through the supernatural work of God through regeneration. All glory must be given to God.

Our responsibility today is to believe the light has shone, to believe in Christ today for salvation. Have you believed? We can’t take credit. All the glory goes to Him, for all that He has done. The Light has shone. Jesus Himself shines as the true light. The baby born in Bethlehem is the revelation for all time. It’s time to respond.  Will you ignore Him as you set out your own agenda? If you remain indifferent, you are someone who has been found but wants to remain hidden. Will you receive him by believing His name, so you become a child born of God?