By John Larkins
The beautiful songs of Christmas joy are still, thankfully, in our ears. But our joy must be tempered by a sincere determination to accept our salvation, the stunning gift the Christ child gives us through his Apostles.
Our human world was deeply wounded by the sin of Adam and Eve. There was only The Way to save us from eternal damnation. The Way is a serious and perilous matter. We can assess the seriousness by reflecting upon the magnitude of sacrifice on the part of God in the degradation of His son, simply by taking on a human nature, when He is God!
Going further, in His being tortured to death on a cross, undergoing this despicable form of public humiliation was too extreme.
To accentuate this line of reasoning, the common understanding is that when God’s angels learned this was going to happen, a third of them revolted to God and declared they were superior beings to such a God that would allow Himself to be humiliated in this way! Those fallen angels thus joined Satan for eternity and became our enemies.
Perhaps the most impressive perspective that can be given to The Way that lay ahead for the beautiful and innocent babe is by fast-forwarding to just before the traitor Judas guided the despicable Roman soldiers and temple police to take our Savior away for crucifixion.
In John 17, we hear Jesus pray to His Father a heartbreaking prayer that acknowledges the risks of Jesus’s supreme sacrifice, just 33 years away from the rejoicing of Christmas.
As He lifted His eyes to heaven, Jesus said, “Father, the hour is come. Glorify Thy Son that Thou Son also may glorify You. As thou gave Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as thou gave Him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou has sent. I have glorified Thee on the earth; I have finished the works which you gave me. And now Father, glorify you me, with your own self, with the glory which I had with you before the world was.”
Jesus’ prayer reveals a special authority His Father gives Him and entrusts Him with the care and protection of the Apostles. Perhaps people who do not love God lack a shield from Satan. We clearly see the continuity of authority and power given by Jesus to the Apostles, to administer His mission on earth (His Church) after Jesus goes back to His Father. Jesus will return for the Final Judgement to personally take care of that duty. As He promises in Matthew 28:20, regarding the Commissioning of the Disciples, Jesus says, “And behold, I am with you always until the end of the world.”
As you can see, the full meaning of The Way must include the several phases of God’s complete plan. The Way leads to all people having completed the journey we choose. Jesus Christ’s good news is that there most assuredly is a Way for all people!
John Larkins was born in Oklahoma to an U.S. Army family. His education was in the Catholic Church and teaching in the United Methodist Church for 10 years. After 50 years of various positions in federal service at home and in Vietnam, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, John and his wife Carol live in Gadsden. His formal education includes a BS certified for science teaching, an MBA from the University of Missouri and an MPA from Jacksonville State University in public administration and environmental management. For the past 15 years, John evangelized on the street, door-to-door, in tent revivals, and church situations. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.