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This is Why He Came

Stories of Salvation and Transformation from Around the World

The Christ Has Come: A Savior for All Nations

by Dr. Michael Whiting, DBU Staff

Today's Reading

John 3

Long ago, in the stillness and quiet of an ordinary night in Jerusalem, a prominent leader among the Jews stole secretly to meet with Jesus of Nazareth, an emerging itinerant teacher who was attracting attention from crowds throughout Galilee and Judea but raising suspicion among Jewish religious leaders.

In his conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus spoke of the longed-for Kingdom of God and the necessity to be “born again” to enter it. Nicodemus, misunderstanding Jesus’ meaning, learned that the new birth Jesus was referring to is from above through the Spirit.

The presence of God’s indwelling Holy Spirit, a promise given through Ezekiel (36: 26-28) that the people might walk in obedience to His ways and inhabit the land, was now nearing its fulfillment with the coming of Jesus, the Son of God, the Messiah.

Embedded in this dialogue between Nicodemus and Jesus falls arguably one of the most well-known verses in all the Bible:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life (Jn. 3:16).

The words “the world” and “whosever” are especially important in the context of Jesus’ primary conversation with Nicodemus, because the future blessing of the Messiah would be for all the nations, not just the Jews. Even in the Old Testament, God demonstrated concern for the nations – in His promise to Abraham and his offspring (Genesis 12:3); in allowing the prostitute Rahab of Jericho and Ruth of Moab to be welcomed into His covenant family; in His calling of the prophet Jonah to preach repentance to the enemies of Israel in Nineveh; etc.

In the very next chapter that follows in the Gospel of John is found the familiar story of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman. Not only was this moment in Jesus’ ministry significant in itself, for Jews did not associate with Samaritans (let alone a Jewish man and Samaritan woman), but Jesus declared to her these profound and prophetic words:

“a time is coming and has now come where true worshippers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth” (Jn. 4:23).

In other words, the Kingdom of the one true God and His Messiah would not be geographically or culturally bound but global. Paul speaks of God building one dwelling for His Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ, which includes both Jews and Gentiles (Ephesians 2:22). The vision of the heavenly Kingdom in Revelation 7:9 is of worshippers gathered around the throne from every tribe, tongue, and nation.

The theme chosen for this year’s Advent devotionals is that the coming of Christ at Christmas was and is good news for all the nations of the world, the Jew first and then the Gentile (Roman 1:16). Beginning with biblical stories of God’s inclusion of people from the nations into His story of redemption, followed by examples of transformational encounters with Jesus from the Gospels, and the missionary witness of the early Church in the book of Acts, the next several weeks of devotionals will trace selected stories from 2,000 years around the world following that first Christmas Advent, detailing testimonies of men and women touched by Christ in profound ways that not only brought personal salvation for them but through them impacted the historical movement and spread of God’s Kingdom throughout Asia, Great Britain, the U.S., Africa, Europe, and South America.

As we prepare for the coming of Christmas, may these stories cause each of us to reflect on our own transformational encounters with Christ and how God is using each of us to serve His Kingdom, which has both come among us and yet is still to come in all its fullness.

To redeem people from every nation and transform the world for His glory … this is why He came.

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