Drama written by: Scott Wegener
Sermon written/compiled by: Fraser Catton
Performance: Lilydale Seventh-day Adventist Church - December 19, 2015
- Drama elements only (10min):
- Raw live service video, including songs, drama and speaker Click Here (28mins)
- The background window projection Video File
- Backing music:
- Lingering at dusk - Lee Johnson
- When the roll is called up yonder - Eden Symphonic Orchestra
- Sandfloor Cathedral - Lee Johnson
- Agnus Dei - Michael W. Smith (RTB version)
- Baby cry
- God: white robe with additional white shimmery transparent outer garment
- Jesus: white robe with a toga/sash of Gods same material.
- Angel: white rope, gold rope belt.
- Satan: white robe with black rope belt. An older more 'weathered ' actor to the rest.
If you were to tell someone the Christmas story of Jesus, how would you start? You could begin with a young lady named Mary or perhaps you could start it off with a few verses from the Old Testament predicting Jesus’ birth. Today we’re going back even further than that.
To grasp the deep significance of Christmas we need to go back to the beginning of the story. So when was the beginning? Jesus’ birth wasn’t the beginning. Mary discovering she was pregnant wasn’t the beginning. The beginning wasn’t even in the Old Testament predictions. The beginning was even before all that.
It was in the beginning Jesus rolled out the heavens and laid the foundation of the earth. He hung the worlds in space and delicately crafted each little flower. In the beginning heaven and nature sang and reflected God’s love like a giant, perfect mirror.
But not all of heaven. In Isaiah and Ezekiel we read that Lucifer, the brightest and mightiest angel, wanted more. He wanted to be the most important being in heaven. He wanted to be greater than God. And so he began suggesting that God was demanding worship and loyalty. Satan painted him as a self-centred dictator. And he deceived some angels.
With the same suggestions, he also deceived humans. He tricked them into seeing a God of justice and awesome majesty as cruel and unforgiving. By misrepresenting God’s character Satan pulled humans into his rebellion and so the long, dark night of earth’s history began.
The only way to lighten the shadows was to show that Satan’s description of God was wrong. Not by force or by demand. It had to be by love. God is love. The way to lead humans back to God was to show humans was God was really like. There was only one who could do that: Jesus. And so the plan, which was in place before Adam and Eve sinned, came into effect.
Jesus would come to earth and become a human.
[Jesus takes off a a shimmery toga and hands it to God. Walks off stage and down the church isle, Angel comes in slowly.]
I wonder, would a heavenly Sabbath be the same without the Lord of the Sabbath there? Perhaps it helps to think of it this way: if triplets were celebrating their birthday would you still sing Happy Birthday if one of them wasn’t at the party? Probably, but it wouldn’t be the same.
Imagine what a Sabbath in heaven could possibly be like.
A heavenly worship service; everything is about God’s goodness and perfection and limitless love. Think of the music. Each of those beings singing, each with the voice of an angel. All worshipping God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. What an incredible experience: the perfection and splendour and atmosphere with Jesus and his Father at the centre of it all. And this is the amazing part: He could have stayed there.
He could have stayed in heaven with his Father being honoured and worshipped as the King of the Universe. He could have but he didn’t because that wasn’t the plan.
The plan was for Jesus to clearly reveal God’s character; for every person on earth and every being in the universe to be absolutely crystal clear about who God is and what He is like. That He is loving and He is fair. Jesus was going to show that God’s law could be kept because with God all things are possible.
But to do that he had to leave His Father and become a human.
And so even before the Earthly Phase of the plan began, we catch a glimpse of God’s character in Jesus. Jesus had equal status with God. But he didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what.
Instead he chose to step down from the throne of the universe to bring light and life to a dark world. He chose to set aside the privileges of being God and become a human. He entered into our world to show God is love and God is fair. That was the plan. He couldn’t use force or pressure. There would be no PR campaign or promotion. Just the truth.
For the Son of God it was a very modest arrival to an unassuming family. In reality Jesus could have been born into any family. He could have arrived in the penthouse of Bethlehem’s rich and famous. He could have been born into greatness and prestige and honour. He could have and he deserved it but he didn’t. That wasn’t the plan.
The plan was to show God’s love and fairness. Greatness and prestige and honour were nothing to Jesus. Instead He chose the lowest and most humble arrival. That was the path for the rest of his earthly life. No one would follow him for his looks or his friends or his money. It was his love and his truth that was attractive. He lived a humble, simple life so that no one could find any reason to think Jesus didn’t understand them. Even the poorest person in the most difficult situation could relate to Him. It was, and still is, His truth that captures the heart and mind.
Jesus gave up honour and glory to become a human. He showed that His character, God’s character, is just the opposite of Satan’s. But Jesus went even further. The plan wasn’t just to become a human. The plan was to become a sacrifice to save humans. It was a bold, risky plan. And Satan knew it. If He could get Jesus to fall for his temptations and disobey God’s law just once, the world would forever be his and he would win the Greatest Battle the universe had ever known.
[Angel bows and exits. God stands, staring focused on audience. Satan enters]
And if I can’t, I’ll make him suffer, until he calls for his daddy to save him.... [turns and starts to exit] This time you lose.
[Puts flowers up, stares and slowly prods at them for a few moments] I’ve been reading their scriptures. But I still can't see...
There was no other way. God’s authority was in question. Satan had convinced humans that God wasn’t loving or fair. They believed him and had separated themselves from God. To show how deep the Father’s love was, Jesus came. To show how fair his law was Jesus obeyed.
If Jesus failed, the Father would forever be separated from His Son. His authority as God of the universe would forever be in question. If Jesus didn’t go ahead with the plan humanity would never have any chance of being back with God. We would forever be separated. God didn’t want that.
Jesus was the only hope. He was the plan and if he failed, it was all over. There was no backup.
And so it’s no wonder that in the book of Hebrews we read that Jesus was tempted in every way possible. Satan threw everything he possibly could at him! But Jesus was given strength from God to stay committed and stick with the plan.
He would reveal God’s perfect character in his life. He would save people from their sins through his death. He would shine light into a dark world as he rose from the dead. He would bring peace on earth and good news to all people.
That’s why there was heavenly excitement the evening Jesus was born. This was a crucial part of a big plan to restore everything back to how it was in the beginning.
God: [smiling] Yes, a second going. You can make a spectacular entry for Him then. For now, why don't you take a bunch of friends and all go down and sing. Announce their saviour has been born!