You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem,
lift up your voice with a shout,
lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and his arm rules for him.
See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.
In a certain family somewhere there were two children, a boy and a girl. Their father was concerned that as they had been growing up, they were not understanding the gospel properly.
The sister, who was the oldest, always did everything her parents asked of her, and even more. She excelled in all of her endeavors, which was a good thing. But she was always trying to impress those around her with all of her accomplishments.
The brother, who was the youngest and a bit spoiled by the family, was content to entertain himself, and avoided his chores and assignments.
One day, when the sister and brother were having one of their regular arguments, their father sat them down and asked each of them what their complaints were. The girl complained that her brother did nothing and she always did everything for dad and mom. The boy complained that his sister constantly picked on him for no reason, and he was really OK.
The father listened to all of this, and then asked them a strange question: Why was Jesus Born?
To this the girl immediately responded, Jesus was born to save the world.
The boy thought for a moment and said, Jesus was born to save me.
The father took a deep breath and then said, You are both right, and you are both wrong.
Looking at his daughter he began, Jesus did come to save the world, so why are you trying to save it all over again? Why do you demand that everyone be just like you, busy and impressive, and then you get angry when others don’t measure up? Your gospel has the cart before the horse. You do good works, but the love of Jesus for the world is not in your heart. Your hard work has made you a Pharisee. Your gospel is all law without love. The daughter’s mouth was open, but no words were coming out.
And then looking at his son he began again, Jesus did come to save you. So why will you not be saved? You cling to your salvation with your mouth, but your hands and feet are lame. Your gospel has nothing in the cart. You say you believe and trust in Jesus, but you do not do as Jesus did. Your loud profession has made you a hypocrite. Your gospel is all talk with no action. The son’s mouth was stuck in the same position as his sister’s.
The father then said, These will be your first acts of repentance. Looking at his daughter he said, I want you to go to your bedroom and take a nap–resting in your salvation. Then, looking at his son he said, I want you to do the dishes, sacrificially–working out your salvation with fear and trembling. Neither of them was completely happy yet, but their mouths did finally close.
~ Curt Bakker, December 16, 2007