Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Anticipating Christ: The Sacrifice of the Lamb

So far, we’ve looked at some specific details of Jesus Christ’s birth. (If you’ve missed any of the previous posts, you can check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.) But to share the story of the beginning of His life, without also sharing the rest would be a disservice to those of my readers who may not know the story of His death.
The best part of the Christmas story is understanding why He came in the first place. Why did the King of Kings step out of heaven into human flesh? What is the big deal about all of this in the first place?
After His birth, Jesus grew into a man. He lived a perfect life, because He was the Son of God. He went through all of the same temptations that we did, but He was without sin. When He was 30 years old, He began His public ministry. He called twelve disciples, and for three years they travelled throughout Israel, teaching, preaching, performing miracles, and calling the people to repent. When He was 33 years old, the religious leaders in Israel finally had enough of this Jesus, and they arrested Him and accused Him of blasphemy. They turned the people’s hearts against Him and He was crucified.
But this was all part of the plan in the first place. This was the climax of a story that had been thousands of years in the making. This was the whole point of His humble birth. He lived so He could die a terrible death. He lived to pay the ultimate price for our shortcomings.
It can be summed up like this: when God created the earth and everything on the earth, it was perfect. But Adam & Eve disobeyed God, and brought the curse of sin not only on themselves, but on all of creation. Sin created a divide between God and His people. In order to re-connect with God, the people had to make periodic sacrifices to atone for their sins. But sacrificing animals was not the ultimate solution. In order to make things right, sin and death had to be conquered once and for all. So God sent His Son, Jesus, perfect and holy. He lived a blameless life. He sacrificed Himself by taking on the sin of the world and allowing Himself to be crucified. He died for us, so that we could once again live in the freedom of God. But that still is not the end of the story. Because three days later Christ rose from the dead, conquering sin and death forever. He later ascended back into heaven, and God sent the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us in His physical (flesh and blood) absence.
Friends, this is the true meaning of Christmas. It is not the gifts. Not the songs. Not the stress. Not the parties. Not a paid day off work. The true meaning of Christmas is to celebrate the birth of our Savior. To remember everything He came for. To rejoice in the fact that our God loves us so much that He would make the ultimate sacrifice so that we can have a full relationship with Him once more. To know that one day, if we follow Him, we will see Him face-to-face and spend an eternity with Him in heaven.
And that is something to be excited about!
But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” ~Romans 5:8
P.S. If you want to know more about Jesus, please feel free to send me a message. My e-mail address is lifewtc@gmail.com. I would be happy to share with you and guide you to some Scripture that gives some deeper descriptions of Jesus and His sacrifice for us. In the meantime, I would suggest reading through the first four books of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. All four give an account of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.

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