MAXIMUM LOVE, Christmas Special

By David Pam McQuel
At Bethlehem, God demonstrated that to love is to give. It was the launch of an epic programme that will bring forth the full expression of His mercy. It was the masterpiece of His desire.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
It was for love that Jesus came. It wasn’t to prove anything or show off. It was just a simple act of God’s compassion. He gave us free love.
Jesus was given to us as the greatest act of God’s love, not because we were God, but because of His goodness. While we were dead in our sins, set in our wicked ways, Jesus came. People show kindness to people who are kind but while we were rebellious He showed us his full kindness.
What are we going to do in respect to what Christ has done for us? We as His people must respond in a certain emphatic way.
Jesus illustrated this in a teaching regarding his return to earth at the end.
Matthew 25:
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.
32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,
36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?
39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,
43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
This illustration clearly demonstrates what is in the mind of God. It shows also how God expects us to carry out our spiritual responsibilities and values. There is nothing complicated in the story if we take time to read it attentively. It is self explanatory.
What are our responsibilities towards the hungry, the thirsty and the stranger?  What do we owe the naked, the sick and prisoners? From the larger part of believers all that comes forth is shame, disdain, excuses, philosophical arguments, mockery and rejection.
But Jesus said, his position on the last day is that He will commend those who fed the hungry, those who gave a drink to the thirsty. He will commend those who took the stranger in, those who clothe the naked, who take care of the sick and care for those in prison. It is also His stand today.
On the other hand, He will not commend those who failed to feed the hungry, those who refused to give a drink to the thirsty. He will also be displeased with those who ignored strangers letting them sleep on the streets, and those who will not clothe the naked. He also will not felicitate those who did not take care of the sick or visit for those prisoners with compassion.
As we celebrate the coming of Christ, let’s not forget the purpose of His coming. Jesus came to love man. He came to save man. He came to restore man from his fallen state. He spent time with the most despised of his day, tax collectors and prostitutes and cared for lepers (these three were the highest objects of shame in His time).
He came to feed the hungry, He came to give a drink to the thirsty. He came to take the stranger in, to clothe the naked, to take heal the sick and set free those in prison .
Isaiah prophesied it detaily nearly 800 years earlier in Isaiah 61:
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
3 To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
And Jesus confirmed that this prophecy was written about Him in Luke 4:
16 “So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.
17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him.
21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
22 So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”
Jesus was the embodiment of God’s greatest gift to man. Celebrating Christ’s birth is recognizing that great giving heart of God. Therefore, there are three things involved:
1. We must be thankful to God for His indescribable gift, Christ.
2. We must accept that gift of salvation that Christ freely brought for us.
3. We must freely give to others, the same token of God’s love either in spiritual way for them to know Christ, material or financial provisions to those who need it.
This is the best way to celebrate God’s maximum love today!

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