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Invitation Purchased Reservation Required (published in The Tribune, 12/11/10)

posted Sep 7, 2013, 1:16 PM by Fccea Webmaster
The children in a Christmas pageant had their lines by heart. Right on cue, the innkeeper said, "There is no room. You cannot stay here." No one was prepared, however, for Joseph when he turned to Mary and said, "I told you to make reservations!"

Mary and Joseph's failure to find a welcoming place for the birth of Mary's divine infant became, of course, a metaphor for His lack of reception by the world in general -- whether in first century Palestine or 21st century America.

Despite the fact that Jesus increased "in favor with God and man" (Luke 2:52), and that the multitudes were amazed that "such mighty works are wrought by his hands" (Mark 6:2), and marveled "at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth" (Luke 4:22), still they rejected Him in the end.

People flocked to Jesus while he was doing mighty miracles and feeding them. But when the gravy train stopped, and he offered them "bread of life" (eternal life through faith in him) instead of physical food, we are told that "many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him" (John 6:66).

Can you imagine arriving in eternity one day and finding yourself face-to-face with the same Jesus whom you met face-to-face on earth, but whom you rejected?!

John summarizes Jesus ministry this way in John 1:11, "He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him." Same as his birth. No room. No reservation for him.

Why? Why did they find him so intriguing and gracious and yet ultimately refuse him? Pretty simple really. The moment he claimed to be God and pressed the exclusivity implied by that claim, they turned away -- killed him as a blasphemer and went about their business.

So what does this ancient history have to do with us? Simply this. The same Jesus is making the same claim and issuing the same invitation to men today as he was then. Only now he is doing it as a risen Lord, his credibility established, his message ratified, his exclusivity substantiated by his unprecedented bodily resurrection from the grave.

Unfortunately, now, just as then, most are saying "No" to his invitation. But in John's words, "As many as received him, to them he gave the power to become the sons of God, even to those who believe on his name." So have you believed? Have you reserved a place for him in your heart?

When Queen Victoria reigned in England, she occasionally would visit some of the humble cottages of her subjects. One time she entered the home of a widow and stayed to enjoy a brief period of Christian fellowship.

Later on, the poor woman was taunted by her skeptical neighbors. "Granny," they said, "who's the most honored guest you've ever entertained in your home?" They expected her to say it was Jesus, for despite their constant ridicule of her Christian witness, they recognized her deep spirituality. To their surprise she answered, "The most honored guest I've entertained is Her Majesty the Queen."

"Did you say the Queen? Ah, we caught you this time! How about this Jesus you're always talking about? Isn't He your most honored guest?" Her answer was definite and scriptural, "NO, indeed! Hes not a guest. HE LIVES HERE!"

Does he live in your heart? If not, why not accept his invitation now? What better time than the anniversary of His incarnation? You say, its all too simple, too childish. Jesus said, "Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it" (Luke 18:17). Get your reservation now. Even a child can do it. And Merry Christmas to all!