I John 1:1 (KJV). That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
As I was listening to the Bible, 1 John 1:1 jumped out to me. John begins his epistle by assuring his readers that he had heard, seen, and even touched the Word of Life, Jesus. I pondered those words and the joy John must have had in writing them. Wow, what an amazing thing to say. I have touched the Son of God. I began to think of others who touched Jesus, and of course the first person I thought of was Mary His mother. Then Joseph. And before long, I was imagining the whole Christmas story in the context of John’s words, “our hands have handled, of the Word of life.”
Every year, I start my Christmas season by going to see the ballet Emmanuel: God With Us. A local Christian ballet company, Light of Joy, has presented this ballet for over thirty years. Young ladies work hard to learn steps, dances, and routines so they can set before our eyes the story of Jesus Christ, the Savior. Mary, Joseph, the Angel Gabriel, the Holy Spirit, Elisabeth, Anna, Simeon, and the nations of the world dance together to welcome the Messiah. But the ballet doesn’t stop there. The girls go on to perform stirring dances that show the life of Christ, His death, burial, and triumphant resurrection. Their last musical numbers represent the peace and perfection of Heaven. By the end of the ballet, the audience has seen a clear presentation of the Gospel. Believers are encouraged, and the unsaved are challenged to get to know the Savior.
My favorite scene in the ballet is danced to Michael W Smith’s song “Son of God”. Some of the lyrics say, “Son of God, purest light, Lord on high is here tonight… Suddenly our eyes behold Heaven’s perfect plan unfold… Son of God, love divine, timeless one steps in to die… Men and angels bow and sing, singing Hallelujah, Hallelujah!” As the song opens, Mary is on her way home after her visit with Elisabeth. She feels alone. She doesn’t even know yet if Joseph will accept her back as his bride. The only one with Mary is the dancer who represents the Holy Spirit guiding her steps across the stage. Suddenly Mary is joined by the throng of angels as they sing Hallelujah. Joseph joins her too. She dances and praises God with the angels knowing her child will be the Savior of the world.
As the song closes, the dancer who represents the Holy Spirit steps off stage and returns holding a baby. Slowly she walks to Mary’s side and lays the child in her arms. It’s a powerful image! The Holy Spirit giving the Son of God to Mary. Emmanuel: God With Us. The mighty God became a helpless babe. The Plan of Salvation for the whole world slept in His mother’s arms that night. He knew the turmoil He was walking into, the cross He would bear, the death He would face. But for that moment, the Prince of Peace filled the stable with the Peace of God.
That night, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and possibly the Wise Men touched the Word of Life as the Angles welcomed Him with anthems and great light. Later, Simeon and Anna would get to hold Him. Throughout His life on earth, many people would be changed by the touch of Jesus. The disciples, the blind, the lame, the deaf. The sinful woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her hair. The woman with the issue of blood who touched a tiny piece of Jesus’ robe. Later, the soldiers would touch Jesus to harm Him, and then Nicodemus would touch Jesus to bury Him.
After Jesus’ resurrection, Thomas touched the scars on Jesus’ hands and side. Jesus knew what Thomas needed to help him believe, but He reprimanded him by adding, “blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”
You and I, dear friends, fall into that category. We will not have the privilege – like Mary, Thomas, and John – to touch the Word of Life with our physical hands, but we can still believe.
Today, I want to invite you to believe in Jesus, the Son of God. He became a man and lived a sinless life. On the cross, He shed His righteous blood as payment for the sins of all mankind. He died, was buried, and on the third day He rose from the grave because death has no power over God. Now He is on His throne in Heaven, beckoning for you to come to Him. All you must do is believe and tell Him you receive Him. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). What a way to start the Christmas season by receiving the Son of God!