Dennis Kinlaw was the president of Asbury College. He is probably the most brilliant man I ever knew personally. He was a true scholar. He read the Bible in the original languages (Greek and Hebrew), but when he preached, a six year old (and I) could understand him. He had the gift of bringing complex thoughts to the level of the common man. Here is one of his meditations on the Christmas season:
In a few days the world will pause to acknowledge the birth of Jesus. How many world leaders will see a relation between the One whose birth is celebrated and the events that take place in our world? Most of the Western world will again hear Handel’s Messiah, but few will think that the “Hallelujah Chorus” has anything to do with actual world events and history. The reality is that those lines- “King of kings and Lord of lords, and He shall reign forever and ever” -are not just music. They are truth. Jesus will reign. Better still, He does reign. It is He who presides over world history, even though the media and the politicians do not know it. Jesus is Lord.
Sam Kamaleson was preaching in an evangelistic crusade in Romania just as the Communist world of Eastern Europe was collapsing. His audience, so long deprived of God and His Word, was large and attentive. One night as he preached, Sam became conscious of an unexpected sound that swept across his audience. Slowly he recognized that the wave of sound came every time he used the name of Jesus. Then he realized that it was the women in the audience weeping. The sound increased, and he realized that the men were weeping as well. Sam said that soon, he found himself weeping everytime he mentioned the name of Jesus. He explained, “You know, when the last alternative option to Jesus has been exhausted and shown for its true bankruptcy, the name of Jesus takes on great power and allure.”
Sam’s statement is the best expression of the biblical philosophy of history that I have ever heard. When we choose to go our own way, God does not stop us. He lets us go until our lives collapse around us. Then in the chaos and hurt we become open again to the One from whom we have turned, and we find hope in His name. This is true for institutions, movements, countries, and cultures as well as individuals like you and me. We may reject Him for a long time, but at the end of every road will be the ultimately inescapable Christ. Ezekiel has a word for this, recurrent through his prophecy: “You shall know that I am the LORD.” (Ezek. 13:23)
– Dennis Kinlaw, This Day with the Master, pg. Dec. 2
Merry Christmas! May the Christ become more real to you this Christmas season!