Back in 1998, Tom Hanks starred in the famous movie “Saving Private Ryan”. The story was set in WWII and depicted the carnage of war and what a group of military personnel went through to bring home a soldier from Europe. It was one of the bloodiest movies I have ever seen and those people I know who served in the war have, to a person, said it was one of the most realistic movies they have ever seen. It was a great movie, but at times, hard to watch what our troops went through.
Last week, I became aware of another Tom Hanks movie – having to do with the life of Walt Disney and his journey to acquire the rights to the movie that became “Mary Poppins”. The title of the movie is “Saving Mr. Banks” and at first I had no idea what the movie was to be about. Janet and I have been to the Disney museum in the Presidio in San Fransisco and I don’t remember anything about a Mr. Banks. Anyway, Janet and I decided to chill out this afternoon and we went to see the movie. Once again, it was a terrific choice. Now I realize that since the motion picture just came out, it would be wrong of me to give away the plot of the story but suffice it to say that both of us loved it.
It’s not often that we go to see movies right when they open but today everything just fell into place – free time, a great movie and then a little dinner – a really nice day. Although I picked up on the fact that both these wonderful movies I have mentioned this evening had a title that included the word “Saving”, I forgot about Tom Hanks starring in both of them until we were in the theatre today. I highly recommend that you spend some free time watching Mr. Hanks at his best.
Of course, it also occurred to me that Tom Hanks isn’t the only one doing some “saving”. Particularly at this time of year, it is important to remember that Jesus came to earth, as human and as a baby, to save the world. He also provided a way for mankind, full of sinners, to get back into relationship and eternal life with God the Father. We have all heard the Christmas story many times, so I won’t recount it here, but it is important to know that Jesus saves – that is all there is to it – we all need to be saved and Jesus, as they say, is the reason for the season.
We’ll get right to the verse for this evening. It affirms the mission of Jesus. We are told, in John 3:17, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” Until that time, people were expecting a Messiah who would right the wrongs and persecute those who had hurt the Jews. Instead, they received a child, in a manger, whose mission was to offer salvation to anyone who wanted it – the biggest mission to save people ever undertaken before or since.
My encouragement this evening is that Jesus came to save each of us and that story is better than anything you will ever see on the silver screen – even if Tom Hanks is a great actor. My prayer is that this Christmas week you will remember the saving grace of a relationship with Jesus and how God’s grand plan came together through a child in a manger on the other side of the world. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…