That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. – 1 John 1:1-5 ESV
As we celebrate this Christmas season, I am sure whatever gifts you get you want them to be GOOD. In the Story of the rich, young ruler (Mark 10:17-22), Jesus tells us that GOOD BELONGS TO GOD: “As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. ‘Good teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ ‘Why do you call me good?’ Jesus answered. ‘No one is good – except God alone. You know the commandments: Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’ ‘Teacher,’ he declared, ‘all these I have kept since I was a boy.’ Jesus looked at him and loved him. ‘One thing you lack,’ he said. ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ At this, the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.”
Leader, GOOD BELONGS TO GOD! God is good and as our verse of the day shows, HE MANIFEST the GOOD GIFT and that is why we celebrate Christmas. The English word “manifest” originated from a Latin word, manifestus, that literally meant something that can be taken hold of by the hand, with the further applied meaning of clearly visible to the eye, or obvious to the understanding. The King James Version uses “manifest” to translate a Hebrew word of the Old Testament, pronounced bar-rawr, which means to clarify, or to brighten, and a Greek word of the New Testament, pronounced fan-er-oh-oo, which means to make apparent to sight or thought. In John 14, Philip wanted to see God the Father and here was Jesus response: Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is.” Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! (John 14:6-7a,9) This is the gift of Christmas; Emmanuel- God among us- MANIFEST.
Conduit, Eugene Peterson paraphrases our verse of the day in the MSG Bible: “From the very first day, we were there, taking it all in—we heard it with our own ears, saw it with our own eyes, verified it with our own hands. The Word of Life appeared right before our eyes; we saw it happen! And now we’re telling you in most sober prose that what we witnessed was, incredibly, this: The infinite Life of God himself took shape before us. We saw it, we heard it, and now we’re telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. Our motive for writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy!” As we celebrate the Manifestation of God this Christmas season let us sing, and understand; Joy to the world, the KING HAS COME! Amen!