Today we celebrate what we are thankful for, those things that mean the most to us, for which we thank Almighty God. Reflecting on what I am most grateful for in my life, there is one thing that especially stands out. It is greater than all of my trials and remains even in the midst of pain and suffering.
It is the gift of knowing Jesus Christ, my Lord! I am grateful that God, the Father of mercies and of all consolation, would come down from heaven and console us through the gift of His Precious Son, our Lord Jesus.
As I ponder the reason why Jesus Christ came into this world, it immediately leads me to the situation today. So many people think the mission of Jesus is tied with politics, setting us free from an oppressive government, for example. What was the government like at the time of Jesus? King Herod tried to kill the baby Jesus, the worst act that could happen–to kill God. The Jews were living under great oppression and thought Jesus would save them from such corruption. Even those on the road to Emmaus were disheartened: “But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.” (Luke 24:21).
Jesus Christ entered this world not to save us from oppression of political power, not as just another teacher to teach us a moral code or tell us how to live a moral life; He came not primarily to heal us through signs and wonders, though he did perform healings. His primary mission, the mission that echoes far and wide in the heavens, was to save us from our sin. Jesus Christ came into this world, so that my sins, which deprived me of the glory and majesty of our God, might be left on that bloodied cross. He came so that even though I had turned my back on him through my life of sin, once I moved but an inch toward Him, I would be saved from that sin.
Why did Jesus Christ come to save me? He came to save me so that I might have eternal life. Jesus tells us, “And this is eternal life, that they might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3). Jesus Christ came into this world because God loved me so much that He sent His only Son to die naked on that cross. He loved me so much that even though I turned my back on him time and again, as long as I turn to Him, He will set me free from that sin.
He shows me what it means to be a son of the Father, a child of God, and what it means to know Jesus as my King and my Master, for whom I live my life. He shows me how to know Jesus as my advocate and my friend, always by my side and protecting me from the evil dragon that tries to kill His children. Most importantly, He shows me how to know Jesus as my Savior, as the One whose love is so great that He died so that I might live.
He died in shame and rose in victory; He died in weakness and rose in strength. He died in apparent defeat but rose victorious from the grave. All of these attributes could be said about my life. Through Jesus, my shame has been replaced by knowing a glimpse of His glory. In Jesus even amid my own weaknesses, be it physical, emotional, mental, I am strong. Lastly, in Him my dark life of sin has been replaced by His very life in Holy Communion, and the life of the Holy Spirit within me.
It is Jesus Christ that I am grateful for above all. He alone will satisfy; He alone is our Savior. He loves me infinitely and He wants me to know Him both in this life and then even more fully in eternal life, where I will gaze upon Him, intercede for His children that they too might be saved, and praise Him forever and ever.