Now is the time for last minute gifts. The time of the holiday when folks all run out at the same time to buy more stuff to stuff the stocking or because they forgot Uncle Fred's gift...again. Or Aunt Gertie just called and said she's coming to your house for Christmas. Oh joy!
Last minute gifts. Aren't you glad Jesus wasn't a last minute gift? Jesus, the gift of God to the world, wasn't an afterthought. The gift of Christ to the world was most anticipated. More than 300 Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled with precision by the life of Jesus. 300!
Scholars and mathematicians have calculated the odds. Set 300 aside for a moment. If Jesus had only fulfilled 8 of the Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament, the odds would be 1 out of 10 to the 17th power (a one followed by 17 zeros).
Try wrapping your mind around it this way: Mark one silver dollar with a marker and hide it in a stack of silver dollars two feet deep that covers the entire state of Texas. Blindfold someone and have them pick the marked silver dollar at random on the first try. How do you like the odds? And that's only 8 of the prophecies. The odds of one man fulfilling 60 -- not 300 -- but 60 of these prophecies would be 1 out of 10 to the 895th power.*
Jesus was not a last minute gift. Unless you think of it in a much different way. The minute before I accepted the gift of Jesus as my personal Savior was the last minute I lived only for myself. The next minute was the first minute I began living for God. Between that last minute and that next minute, time met eternity in my heart. I was forgiven. The transaction for my soul was ratified. I was born again.
I didn't embrace a religion. I didn't pick up a new set of meditation mantras. I didn't hold myself real tight, embrace the inner child (mine's ADD...he won't hold still long enough to be embraced), or will my way into right living. I gave up. I surrendered. I quit. I died. Went into the tomb of my soul and found Jesus there. He wasn't dead. He was alive. And He was giving out new life! I resurrected from that tomb a new person -- alive only because Christ lives in me.
How difficult is it to describe new life to someone who is still spiritually dead? Probably as difficult as a butterfly trying to convince a caterpillar about the change in his life. All you can do is spread your wings, fly, and testify!
Don't wait until the last minute. You don't know which one it is any more than a blindfolded person knows which silver dollar is marked. Choose this minute to be the last minute you live without Jesus.
See you in a minute.
*Statistics provided in "A Rabbi Looks at the Last Days," by Rabbi Jonathan Bernis, p. 81-82.