“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:8-10 ESV).
Life and death. It is a lesson we learn early on; that which is born is going to die. It seems to be an unbroken cycle. Life is a gift, death is a curse. We rejoice with those who experience new life, and we mourn with those who experience death.
For thousands of years people lived and died without knowing the full measure of God’s grace. The faithful longed to see it (Matthew 13:17). The prophets wished to know the fulness of their message (1 Peter 1:10). What is the meaning of life? How will God deal with sin and death?
Then, one day, a child was born. A child whose name was Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). A child whose life stretches back to eternity (Micah 5:2). A child whose birth brought man and God together (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23).
His appearing was unlike any who came before or who would arrive after. His life was going to break the cycle. His life was going to give meaning to all those who longed for more.
John’s father, Zechariah, prophesied at the birth of his son. He said the knowledge of salvation and forgiveness is given because of the “tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:78, 79).
Those who had been in darkness and in the shadow of death for so long would receive the light. The “true light” was coming into the world and was going to bring “true life” to those who believed on him (John 1:10-13).
Jesus’ appearing cast light upon that which was hidden. It revealed God’s gift to man of life and immortality.
As we give and receive, let us rejoice in the great gift of immortality. Let us rejoice that this temporary life is not the sum total of our existence. Let us rejoice that those who have left this life continue to live. Let us rejoice that Jesus brought true life and immortality to light. Let us spread that “good news” so that all the world might rejoice in truth with those who live in it.