As we all look back a Christmas that is barely a week old, it is sad to see that our culture has all but forgotten that the reason this day ever became a day of celebration was the birth of our Savior. This, or course, is the most over simplified thing we could say.
Jesus is viewed in our earthly Christmas story as a baby, born to human parents. In fact, He was God incarnate. He left His heavenly throne to come live a humble life as a servant to all mankind, essentially homeless, after being born in animals’ quarters.
While we have nothing in Scripture to tell us that He was anything but loved by his earthly parents, and in fact, His mother was one of the only people to be with Him all the way to the end, as a parent and grandparent myself, I think I speak for most when I say that there is a sense of selfishness in most of us when we have children. We want someone to love us. We want to have somebody look up to us, to carry on our name and ideals, to not forget us and our contributions. This may be arrogant and proud, but it does keep us going.
Let’s look now at why Jesus was born. As I said, while I have no doubt that He was loved, when God came to Mary and told her that she would give birth to the Son of God, there was only one reason for this, and surprisingly, it was not so that He could teach and preach, although He did much of that. No. God had done that with prophets and teachers through the ages, and could have continued to. Jesus, on the other hand, was sent as the final Passover Lamb. Jesus was sent to be slain.
Next time you read John 3:16, the most well known verse in the Bible, think about that. Why did He do that? What does that say about His love for us? He was willing to watch His Son die a painful death, even though He knew He would return to heaven for eternity, so that you and I, as unworthy as we are, could be redeemed.
Have you accepted this redemption that He offers? If not, do so today. If you have questions about it, contact us and let us talk to you and pray with you about it.
Serving Him through Serving Others,
How Does the Death of Jesus Save?
One way to understand the meaning of the death of Jesus is to imagine a courtroom scene in which we are on trial for our sins and God is the judge. Our sins against God are capital crimes. God Himself is our judge, and according to divine law our crimes deserve the death penalty. Death, in a spiritual sense, means eternal separation from God in unending torment. That’s a very serious judgment.
By shedding His blood on the cross, Jesus took the punishment we deserve and offered us His righteousness. When we trust Christ for our salvation, essentially we are making a trade. By faith, we trade our sin and its accompanying death penalty for His righteousness and life.
In theological terms, this is called “substitutionary atonement.” Christ died on the cross as our substitute. Without Him, we would suffer the death penalty for our own sins….
The writer to the Hebrews puts it this way: “And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22). For God to forgive our sins, His judgment had to be satisfied and that required the shedding of blood.
Some object, “Shedding blood seems so barbaric. Is it really necessary? Why doesn’t God simply forgive us?” Because God is holy, He must judge sin. Would a just and righteous judge let evil go unpunished? At the cross, God poured out His judgment on His Son, satisfying His wrath and making it possible for Him to forgive us. That’s why Jesus shed His blood for your sins, my sins, and the sins of the whole world….
God unleashed His wrath on His Son so that we might be spared that awful fate. This is the central message of the cross and the reason for our hope: God forsook His Son so that He might never forsake us. God assures us, “‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). Isn’t that a wonderful promise?
Excerpted from “How Does the Death of Jesus Save Me?” by Insight for Living Ministries (used by permission).