By Jim Tune
“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate,” said the prison warden in the 1967 movie Cool Hand Luke. The line has endured because communication is so tough. Marketers spend millions of dollars to communicate. Marriages have broken down due to a lack of communication. In some ways, communication is everything.
The ultimate communication gap, though, is between God and us. Left to ourselves, we’d never be able to figure out what God is like. We would know that he exists, but what is he really like? Is he angry and harsh? Is he loving? Does he care? The world around us gives us enough information to know that he exists, but insufficient information to know his character.
For us to know what God is like, God has to speak. And God did. He sent us prophets. They spoke on his behalf for hundreds of years, and we struggled to listen. Call it a hearing problem, but we still weren’t getting the message.
So, instead, God sent his Son. John 1 calls him the Word, God’s own self-expression to us. Hebrews 1 says that Jesus is God’s final and definitive revelation. In the past God spoke through the prophets, the writer says, “but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.” Or as Raymond Brown says: “In Christ God has closed the greatest communication gap of all time, that which exists between a holy God and a sinful mankind.”
God was so committed to closing the communication gap between himself and us that he sent his Son. Now we know for sure what God is like and what’s on his mind.
Brennan Manning recounts a moving story about his friend Ray. He and Ray did everything together as kids: they bought a car together, double-dated, and even enlisted in the Army together. One day, while in a foxhole during the war, he and Ray were reminiscing about the old days while Ray ate a chocolate bar. A live grenade suddenly landed in the foxhole. Ray looked at Brennan, smiled, dropped his chocolate bar and threw himself on the live grenade. It exploded, killing Ray, but Brennan’s life was spared.
Years later Brennan visited Ray’s mother. “Do you think Ray loved me?” he asked. Ray’s mother got up off the couch, shook her finger in front of Brennan’s face and shouted, “What more could he have done for you?” There was nothing more that Ray could have done to communicate his love for Brennan.
We all sometimes ask, “Does God love us?” The answer is clearly communicated through Jesus. What more could he have done for us? God was so gracious to us that he sent his Son, who came willingly to speak to us, to show us what God is like, and ultimately to die for us so he could bring us new life.
Christmas communicates. As we look at Jesus, we never have to wonder what God’s trying to say. There’s nothing more that he could do than he did for us in Jesus.