“The Peace Child!”
By Pastor Ron Buxton
In Bible college, I had a few classes in world missions. In the very first sentence of one of my textbooks, author J. Herbert Kane wrote these very memorable words: “God only had one Son, and He made that Son a missionary.” And that profound statement got me thinking. You see, it was that “making a missionary part” that we celebrate on Christmas Day. It really is. In fact, our understanding of Christmas lacks its true significance without knowing that.
Allow me to introduce you to something written in the 1960s. It was also another reading assignment that I had. Missionaries named Don and Carol Richardson went to a very hostile tribe of headhunters in Dutch New Guinea. That’s a remote area of the South Pacific where thousands of islands are, and the vast majority of those tribes have never heard the Gospel. While there, Richardson coined the phrase “redemptive analogy” to describe a phenomenon that he soon discovered. And what he found was absolutely amazing. That’s what I want to share with you today.
In Acts 14:17, the Apostle Paul proclaimed: “God has not left Himself without a witness.” What that means is that no matter where you go on planet earth, and no matter what languages are spoken, God has already prepared the audience beforehand. It’s just a matter of looking for that “redemptive analogy” (a culturally-unique folklore or legend) that has already partially communicated God’s ultimate plan of salvation. Without fail, it’s been found truly effective among missionaries–time and time again.
One day, sudden tensions had arisen among the tribe that the Richardsons lived with. Thankfully, they first experienced relative peace for several months to begin translation work and some dialogue with the villagers. But that ended abruptly. You see, war was brewing with a neighboring tribe. And the Richardsons were faced with the possibility of capture or even death. However, that’s when another strange turn of events took place. The “redemptive analogy” was revealed.
Without explanation, both tribes decided not to fight with each other. That was possibly the result of Don and Carol’s prayers. However, it went even further than that. There was an exchange of a first-born son among the tribal chiefs! When Don Richardson asked about that, he was told: “If a man would actually give his son to his enemies, that man could be trusted, and there would be no war while that son remained alive!” They called that exchange “the Peace Child.”
Folks, it’s easy to see where I’m going now with this article. God gave us His only Son Jesus Christ. God entrusted us with Him. And that was while knowing what would happen to Him on the Cross. But guess what? That Son remains alive forevermore! The manger was just the beginning of that glorious exchange. It was the empty tomb 33 years later that confirmed its continuation. And so, if you haven’t already done so, please receive God’s “Peace Child” today. Merry Christmas!