Matthew 2:16 tells us that King Herod was a very dangerous man. My Christmas story this year is about an even more dangerous man.
In the small community where I grew up there was an odd old man by the name of Merle Simpson. He must have been at least eighty years old. When I was a teenager, this strange, round, funny looking and funny acting old man would walk the streets of our town with a cane and a peculiar waddle that caused every kid my age (including me) to point a finger, laugh and make fun of him. We thought it harmless back then. It was the way kids all acted. We really didn’t mean anything by it.
In the late summer just before I turned nineteen, my wife Shirley and I, married a year by then, surrendered our lives to Christ. We began going to church every Sunday. And God did a complete makeover in our lives.
One day, of all people, old, strange, Merle Simpson waddled into our church, and began attending every Sunday. And we found out that Merle Simpson was indeed an odd old man. We called him Brother Simpson. He didn’t talk very clear. And often, when we could understand him, he said strange things. And he always waddled; and he always cried.
Now and then our little church would have a testimony time and without fail Brother Simpson would stand and do the same thing. Everytime. He started out by thanking God and then he would trail off into a high pitched kind of crying squeal. Something like, “I praise the Lord for all He’s done for meeeeeeeee.” Everytime. And everyone would lightly chuckle each time he did.
One day before church was about to start I heard a commotion. When I came to the stairs leading up to the sanctuary, there was Brother Simpson stuck halfway up the stairs. He had lost his balance and was bracing himself with his cane and holding the rail with his other hand. But he couldn’t move and was about to fall. And in his nervousness he had soiled himself.
People were looking at him from the top and the bottom of the stairs not knowing what to do. So I came to his rescue; and while trying to help him, I accidently touched him where he was soiled. As I did I looked to the top of the stairs, and a few of my friends, who had also heard the noise, were laughing at me.
I helped Brother Simpson regain his balance and assisted him to the top of the stairs.
Before Christ had come into my heart, I would never have helped. I would have been at the top of the stairs with my friends laughing at whoever would have been helping him. But Jesus had gotten into my heart. And from that day forward, Brother Simpson got into my heart as well.
Shirley and I started giving Brother Simpson rides home after church, because he couldn’t walk very well and it was starting to get cold. He lived in an old boarding house and I would help him up the stairs to his tiny one-bedroom apartment.
About the third time we helped him, he invited us into his room. And Brother Simpson had almost nothing. All that was there was a single bed with an old raggedy blanket on it, a few clothes hanging in the closet, and a tiny dresser with paint peeling off of it; with a few pictures on its top.
I asked, “Brother Simpson, who are the people in the pictures?”
He said, “Oh, they are my children.”
I said, “Really, when did you see them last?”
He said, “Oh it’s been about twenty years since I’ve heard from any of them. They must be mad at me because they won’t return any of my calls.”
So the last Sunday before Christmas that year, when Shirley and I brought Brother Simpson home after church, we brought with us a bag full of presents. Because there were no chairs, Shirley and I sat beside Brother Simpson on his single bed and as we held our one year old son we tried unsuccessfully to hold back the tears as he opened the first Christmas presents he had received in two decades.
As he did he said, “Thank you so much. I don’t deserve theeeeeeese preseeeeeeents.”
No, Brother Simpson wasn’t the man of danger. Nor was King Herod, though he was indeed a very dangerous man. Jesus is who I am talking about. Herod had every reason to be afraid of Him.
Two years before this I had mocked this strange old man as he waddled down the street. But after Jesus came into my life everything changed. He imposed His will upon me. He overthrew my kingdom, set up His throne in my heart, and altered my entire way of thinking. He did to me exactly what I had not wanted Him to do. That was why I had resisted Him for so long. But I couldn’t resist him any longer. So I surrendered, as more than a billion others have. I am now his slave (Romans 1:1 NLT). Jesus is the most dangerous man in the world.
And once He was in my life, I was never the same. And neither do I want to be.