A Star Shines from Bethlehem
Years ago, Tammy and I went to see one of the world’s greatest musicians at a fair. He was known in guitar circles as the world’s greatest acoustic guitarist. The band that opened for him was also world class and as they were warming up the crowd a couple of farmers in overalls wandered in off the fairway and sat in the empty seats in front of us. Soon, one of the guys turned around to me and said, “Wow, this guy really is great. I’m glad I came.” I remarked, “If you like these guys, just wait until you see the star. This is just a warmup act.” The old farmer shook his head in disbelief and muttered under his breath, “Oh Lord, If this is the warm up, I can’t wait to see the star.”
Jesus told the Pharisees, “You search the scriptures for in them you think you have eternal life, But these are they which testify of Me. They were so caught up in the supporting cast and the warmup acts that they couldn’t see the star. You see, every story in the Bible has Jesus shining as its star. In the Garden of Eden, He is the Tree of Life. In the story of Noah, The Ark is a foreshadowing of the salvation that we will find in Him. He is the Voice that called out to Moses from the burning bush and said “I Am that I Am.” Joshua had to listen to His direction before Jericho fell. Daniel wrote about Him as the fourth man in the fire. Jacob had to wrestle with Him before he could be changed into Israel. Look at every story. This star known as Jesus shines. You’ll find Him there (In the thick of things) long before the appearance at Bethlehem.
Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Christmas! I love the story of the Babe in the manger. I love how the Magi, Wise Men, and Shepherds were drawn to Jesus. However, to believe that the story of Jesus started in Luke 2 or ended with the resurrection is a fallacy. Jesus, the shining star from Bethlehem, was who God the Father was looking at when He decided to make man in His image. Early on in life, the light of Jesus drew me irresistibly to the Baby in Bethlehem, but as I continued to grow it illuminated the Man, Jesus, who saved me. He walked up to Calvary bearing a cross with my name on it. In my youth I’ve seen Jesus help me learn to walk. Doctors said I’d never do that. I’ve seen Jesus help me to talk, think and grow. Doctors said I’d be retarded and might not live long. God shines in our lives and our past if we take a look.
I’ve personally seen a man at the altar throw up his cancer. I’ve felt broken bones go back together in my hands. I’ve seen the precious love of Jesus melt the heart of hard-core racists. Families have been reunited. I’ve seen Jesus make the heart of the hardest people I knew become soft, loving, and pliable in His hands. He’s given me hope. He’s given me purpose. He’s healed my marriage when I thought I’d destroyed it. I’ve seen alcoholics come up for prayer and the urge was instantly gone, never to return. One time in the hospital, a member of our church blue-lined and died while Dad and I were there to pray. Dad simply placed his hand on the man’s foot and said “LORD, I know this isn’t your will. Just be You and Heal.” Within the week, this dead man walked out of the hospital under his own power.
The Light of Bethlehem; Jesus is always shining. But, do we see it? I’ve been blessed to see God do the most incredible things. Under the ministries of my parents, Pastor Sam, Dr. Shockley, Brother Gorman, et cetera, I’ve seen Jesus shine over and over again. The one thing that was in common is that none of these ministries wanted the glory. They just wanted people to see Jesus, shining. This Christmas, let’s look beyond this modern world of personality, celebritism, and shallowness and point people to the light that always shines. The Light of Bethlehem (Heaven’s star and the star of the story) still lights our way to God. Oh, folks, Jesus is Glorious!! Tell everyone you know how Jesus shines.
Oh beautiful star, the hope, the grace For the redeemed, the good, the blessed Yonder in glory when the crowd is one Jesus is clear, the Star divine Brighter and brighter He will shine Oh beautiful Star of Bethlehem shine on
Pastor Ed Brewer