“…a little child shall lead them…”
Isaiah 11:6 (NIVUK)
The grief of the parents, families and friends of the children massacred by gunmen in Peshawar on the 16th December is unimaginable. Our thoughts and prayers are for them, that the one and only God of grace may comfort them and give them hope.
This heart-rending event brings to mind the biblical story of “the slaughter of the innocents”. This was also a heartless act born out of fear of losing power and influence. A tyrant named Herod was paranoid about protecting his kingship. Fearing that the child Jesus would one day usurp him, Herod ordered that all male children under two living in Bethlehem be killed. Jesus, however, escaped. Today Bethlehem is in a conflict area. The war poet, Felicity Currie, laments the modern atrocities that occur there and throughout the Middle East in her poem, It out-herods Herod. She asks, “Where can a baby now be safely born?”[i]. It is a question for everywhere.
From time to time the Bible describes our hope of a future with God in terms of children. Isaiah, in the scripture above, shows how animals would no longer threaten human beings, and also how people “will neither harm nor destroy” (v.9) in God’s kingdom. Another prophet, Zechariah, talks of boys and girls who play safely in the streets. It doesn’t sound like our world, does it? How do we get from here to there? How do we change the way we are? The answer begins with a child: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulders…and of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end” (Isaiah 9:6-7).
The child is Jesus. His birth changed everything. Jesus Christ was born to save everyone and anyone, irrespective of religion, ethnicity or politics. In that sense we were all involved in that stable over 2000 years ago. Every man and woman – every child that was ever born – was there.
Let God’s love be shown through us as we mourn with those who mourn and weep with those weep, and let’s pray for consolation and encouragement.
Turn to the child Jesus, the hope for children everywhere, and let him lead you.
Thank you, Father, that you sent your Son, Jesus, so that we may all become your children and live safely with you forever. In His name.
Study by James Henderson
About the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland. This weekend James is speaking in our Watford and London churches. You are welcome to attend any of our local congregations. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.wcg.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.