Christmas Devotion – St. John (2022 – All is Well)
We’ve all heard the phrase “All’s well that ends well.” It means that, even though everything didn’t go according to plan, everything worked out. It may have been that your sports team made one mistake after another, but somehow, they managed to win the game. Perhaps you had a party planned, but you had problems. The food didn’t turn out as you planned. The guests arrived later than you anticipated. Yet, as you think about that party, you had a good time and people want to come back again soon. You look at that situation and say, “All’s well that ends well.”
I’ve chosen that phrase for our devotion this evening, and not because it comes near the end of our service. I think it well describes God’s dealing with mankind. As we were reminded earlier, it started off well. When God finished creating the world, it was perfect. Not only was every part of God’s creation perfect, but mankind’s relationship with God was perfect. We read of the fact that Adam and Eve used to walk with God in the Garden of Eden in the cool of the evening. They were in perfect harmony with God.
We also heard that the perfection was lost on that fateful day when Adam and Eve ate from the tree that God told them not to eat from. Now that relationship was ruined. When Adam and Eve heard God, they ran and hid. When God addressed Adam and Eve after their disobedience, he spoke of the fact that this loss of perfection would be felt in every aspect of their lives. Now Eve would experience pain in childbirth. Now there would be frustration in the everyday activities of living. Ultimately, there would be death because of their Fall. This included physical death, which mankind would not have known. This also included an eternal separation from God in the punishment of hell. Because of their actions, all was not well.
This is the situation that you and I were born into. We deserve to suffer this same sentence of death because we are Adam and Eve’s descendants. However, we cannot pass all the blame to Adam and Eve, can we? How many times have we gone against God’s will for our lives? What about the times we’ve been discontent with what we have, saying, in essence, that God is holding out on us? Have we always treated other people the way that we should, or do we find excuses to tell the worst we know about others or to be selfish or hurtful? The truth of the matter is that, if we want to find someone to blame for God’s sentence of punishment, we need look no further than the person looking back at us in the mirror. All is not well would be an understatement, wouldn’t you say? All have deserved God’s sentence of punishment.
It is for this reason that we celebrate Jesus’ birth. He came to restore the relationship that had been ruined. He came to make all things well again. How did this happen? St. Paul gives us the formula in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Jesus, the Son of God, came to this earth, taking on human flesh and blood. He did this so that he would be under the same demands of the law that you and I are under. However, as God, he did what we could never do. He kept every single one of them perfectly. Paul says it so clearly. He “had no sin.” Jesus gives us this perfection. But, what about all the sins that we mentioned earlier? Paul tells us that “God made [Jesus] . . . to be sin.” While Jesus suffered and died on the cross, he was the very embodiment of sin. That’s what the Father saw when he looked at Jesus there. In his righteous wrath, the Father punished his Son for the sins that you and I and the whole world committed. God made him to be sin for us and punished him with the torments of hell that all deserved. By his death, Jesus paid for all our sins. By his resurrection on Easter morning, Jesus announced to the world that the debt that mankind had to God was paid in full. The verse from 2 Corinthians continues, “so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” When we are brought to faith in Jesus Christ as our only hope for salvation through the working of the Holy Spirit, we become the righteousness of God. God no longer sees our sins because they have all been washed away. Because our Savior was born on that first Christmas, because he lived for us and died for us and rose again, we can say “All is well.” Our relationship with God has been restored. Yes, all is well.
Because all is well with God, we also have the assurance that all will be well. I’m not naïve enough to say that, if you are a Christian, you will never have any problems in life. We both know that that’s not true. Even though we are Christians, we still run into difficulties in life. There are sicknesses, setbacks, and hurts. There are things that bring tears to the eyes. Yet, we can still say with all confidence, that all is well. We know that we have a loving God who understands what we are going through. We are not aimlessly floating down the river of life. God is still in control and has promised that he will always steer our lives in the way that is the best for us. When we run headlong into one of those problems, we can confidently say that all will be well, because all is well with our God.
Finally, when we reach the end of our journey on this earth, we will definitely be able to say, “All is well.” All the obstacles that we faced, all the hurts and sadness, will all be gone when we are forever with our Lord in heaven. All we will experience will be joy and peace. The apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 8:18, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” The reason he could have this confidence, the reason that you and I can have this confidence is because Jesus came to the earth to make all things well.
So, dear friends, as you leave this place, it is my prayer that you have a blessed Christmas celebration. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the season. Don’t get excited if things don’t turn out exactly the way that you planned. We can have joy, no matter the circumstance, because Jesus came to the earth to be our Savior. For that reason, we can confidently and calmly say, “All is well.” Amen.
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