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Raison d’être

An Advent Devotional by Stan Key

Human history is one long parade of would-be messiahs competing for the hearts and minds of men. These self-proclaimed saviors know that things aren’t quite right on planet Earth and that we need to be saved from something. But what is the real problem from which we need most to be delivered? Ah, that is the question. Because each one sees the problem differently, each one offers a different remedy.

• Buddha would save us from suffering.

• Krishna would save us from the endless cycle of reincarnations.

• Confucius would save us from social isolation.

• Plato would save us from ignorance.

• Sartre would save us from inauthentic existence.

• Freud would save us from dangerous urges buried deep in our unconscious.

• Marx would save us from class distinctions.

• Oprah and Dr. Phil would save us from negativism and poor self-image.

• Doctors would save us from disease.

• Economists would save us from poverty.

• Hollywood would save us from boredom.

• The military would save us from war.

• Democrats would save us from Republicans.

• Republicans would save us from Democrats.

Yes, trying to name the problem is harder than you think! Instinctively we know that something is wrong. Things aren’t right. Life is not what it was meant to be. But what lies at the roof of our dysfunction? What (or who) is to blame? The stakes are high in how we answer this question because if we misdiagnose the problem then we misunderstand the cure!

Among all the would-be messiahs, only Jesus comes to save us from sin. Although he was quick to show compassion and often ministered to alleviate other human problems (disease, hunger, poverty, suffering, etc.) he realized that these were only symptoms of a deeper root issue. Sin was the real problem. Jesus did not come to merely alleviate symptoms; he came to treat the core cause of all our problems and offer a final cure!

To grasp the real meaning of Christmas we must do more than understand who this baby is. We must also understand why he came. The Bible is clear in answering this question. He came to deal with sin: to name it, to expose it, and to destroy it. This is his raison d’être (reason for being). “You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

You know that he appeared to take away sins … No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you ... The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil ... By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil (1 John 3:5-10).

This Christmas, don’t just look for pain relief. Ask Doctor Jesus for the full cure!


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