Ignorance and apathy as Christmas approaches...

by Gavin  

Ignorance and apathy as Christmas approaches...

Homer Simpson is not the best guide to spiritual truth.

 

However, with that statement he does come close to a prevailing worldview about Jesus Christ… “Just because I don’t care, doesn’t mean that I don’t understand.”

 

A teenager once told me that his life motto was “Ignorance and apathy” – I don’t know, and I don’t care! That’s pretty sad.  But also pretty common when it comes to the birth, life and death of Jesus Christ.

 

We see that same attitude in some of the characters in the story when the Magi arrive to visit Jesus as a young child, between 6 months and 2 years after the actual birth.  The following thoughts are extracts from my message for tomorrow morning’s Christmas Day service, so come along for the full package deal :)

 

So, the Magi arrive.  They’ve seen a star.  They have worked out the significance – a king has been born in Israel.  They come bearing gifts.  Herod hears the news and freaks out.  And he gets his “brains trust” together – the scribes and high priests of Israel, to get some clarity….

 

Look at the religious leaders whom Herod summoned – the chief priests and the scribes.  These guys were the ones who actually knew something – they had all the facts and figures about religious life before them.  They knew all there was to know about the prophesied Messiah. That’s why Herod called them!

 

Herod plays a little Q&A with them : “Where is the Christ to be born?” And this bunch of religious fanatics and legal professors and top theologians are like, “Herod, is that the best you’ve got?  That’s a no-brainer!  Everyone knows that!  Bethlehem is the birthplace of the Christ!” These men probably had the whole of the Old Testament memorised, and they knew Micah 5:2 :

 

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.” (Micah 5:2, ESV)

 

They know the information, the prophecy and the facts.  They too were Jews, looking out for the coming of the Messiah, the Christ – they too wanted Him as the Liberator.  They have all they need to know about the coming of the Anointed One from God.

 

But what do they do when they hear something about the birth of a King? There is a strong rumour in the city that a King has been born. Bethlehem was like 9 ½ kilometres from Jerusalem… a half day walk and they could have got there. Do you not think that this group of ultra-religious Jews would have leapt at the chance to go and see, to witness, to verify?

 

But they do nothing!

 

They’re less than 10km from where the Messiah might be, and nothing stirs within them to go and investigate. The Gentile Magi have travelled 100’s of kilometres to Jerusalem, but the local Jewish leaders cannot be bothered.  Sheer apathy.  Total disinterest.  Couldn’t be bothered. They knew the facts and the signs, but they couldn’t be bothered in actually knowing the King, and believing in the fact that maybe God had actually sent the long awaited One.

 

Years later, this apathy and indifference and disbelief would turn to active hate. There initial disinterest in Jesus led to rejection and a murderous desire to see Him dead. Those whom ignored His coming when He was still a young child, would one day cry out, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!”

 

Homer Simpson said that he understood, but just didn’t care.  Well, these Jews did too – they too understood, but failed to care.

 

What do we learn from this group?

 

Quite simply – do not be apathetic about the rule and reign of Jesus Christ. Jesus is King, He is the rule, and you cannot afford to not care. You cannot afford to drift along through life, ignoring the facts and evidence as to who Jesus is. You cannot fail to give attention to the birth, life and death of Jesus, the Saviour and Lord.

 

If I put a Bible Quiz before you today, you might score quite well – knowing all those facts and figures from Sunday School and youth and all the church services you have attended so faithfully. O yes, you might have all the information, attend church regularly, be involved even, give lots, be charitable…   But is it possible that you, like these Jewish religious leaders, know about Jesus but don’t actually know Jesus. Maybe you’re cold, indifferent and apathetic about who He really is, and what He came to do. He is the ruler, the shepherd. Your own salvation from sin and God’s judgement hinges on whether you accept and trust and obey this Jesus.

 

Apathy is a highly dangerous place to be when it comes to responding to the birth of Jesus as King.

 

Don’t be like Homer Simpson – ever!  But more importantly, don’t play the apathy game like these Jewish leaders of old – because it affects you forever.

 

 

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