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Listen: What Child Is This

Read: Isaiah 55:1-13

Many wonderful hymns that we have today have not actually come to us as they were originally written. There are several famous hymns that have verses that are all but lost to modern hymnals. This excellent Christmas carol is one such example. The original version produced in the late 19th century had a particular line I want us to consider. 

Why lies He in such mean estate, 

Where ox and ass are feeding?

Good Christian, fear: for sinners here,

The silent Word is pleading.

What does this song mean to communicate in the words, “Good Christian, fear: for sinners here, the silent Word is pleading”? As Jesus’ followers, we ought to be in “fear” as we live out our faith that believes Jesus has commanded us to preach the gospel to every creature.“For sinners here, the silent Word is pleading” is the truth the Christian is to act upon or “fear.” The “silent Word” is God’s written revelation, namely the Scripture. Paul, in Romans 10, helps us to recognize the Word of God is what produces faith in lost sinners and not our excellency of speech or wisdom. Yet, Paul points out that the written Word is “the silent Word” that pleads for sinners to believe. 

It is not the ordained minister alone that has been given the responsibility of preaching the gospel to not yet repentant sinners. We all who have been reconciled to God have been given the ministry of preaching the gospel that reconciles sinners and God. The Word of God does the miraculous work of producing faith, but the written Words are “silent” in the fact that they have no audible voice. God’s Words are written for you and I to put in our mouths and plead for “sinners here” to believe the gospel.