EL CAJON, Calif. (BP)–As He approached His 33rd birthday, Jesus must have been thinking of His mission. He came to dwell among us as a human being.
The great secret about Christ is that He is, was and always will be God Himself. Thomas, seeing the risen Christ after Easter, proclaimed, “My Lord and My God!” (John 20:28). The apostle John explained, “And the Word (Jesus Christ) was God … and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:1, 14).
Christmas celebrates the moment our eternal God entered the human race through the womb of a virgin upon whom the Holy Spirit had come in history’s greatest miracle of conception and birth.
Many people today go through the Christmas season with faulty spiritual eyesight, not recognizing that the Babe in the manger is the King of the universe:
— He came to die for every person
Jesus came to die for every person. All of us have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). You or I might be the best person in the world, but there is a great chasm between our morality and God’s holiness. No one can achieve God’s glory; we have all sinned and fallen short. Our inability to be holy separates us from God, resulting in our being in a state of spiritual death.
Christ — perfect God and perfect Man — died in our place. We can put our trust in One who truly measures up and who, as the perfect sacrifice, died on the cross for us.
Crucifixion was death by torture; it was designed to be both excruciating and bloody. It had to be that way to reveal the ugliness of sin, the terror of death, and the power of His redeeming blood. How deeply Jesus must have felt the shadow of the Cross as He celebrated his 33rd birthday.
— He came to deliver us from the fear of death
Jesus’ death for us destroyed the power of death, removed its sting; and it frees us from the fear of death. He came into this world at Bethlehem to dwell among us, to die for every person and to deliver us all from the fear of death. He was born to die, that we might die to death and be born into God’s eternal kingdom.
— He came to demonstrate his love for us
His birthday also demonstrates His love for us. Jesus Christ was born in a manger and became one of us so He could walk the same path we walk. When we go to Him in prayer for comfort, we know He understands. There’s nothing you’ve ever experienced that the Lord didn’t know in His flesh when He walked upon this earth.
Christmas is not just the pageantry of a little baby born in a manger. It is the story of a God who loves us so much. He knew that the only way to redeem and save us was to send His own Son to be one of us. In that moment in Bethlehem, God invaded humanity. That was God in the manger; and as He grew, it was God walking around in a body. As He celebrated His fleeting birthdays, it was to mark the passing years of a divine life lived with an ultimate purpose in mind. As He was crucified, it was God hanging between heaven and earth, God forsaken by God. Who can understand it?
And yet it is the mystery of our salvation. He was born to die, but He rose again to give life freely, abundantly and eternally. As you celebrate His birth this year, think of how He must have felt as He marked each passing birthday during His short span on earth. It sobers us; but it gladdens us, too. Contained in His birthday are the secrets of the new birth for each of us. In His cradle is our life; on His cross is our forgiveness; and in His resurrection is our hope.
Alleluia! O how the angels sang.
Alleluia! How it rang!
And the sky was bright with a holy light
‘Twas the birthday of a King.
(From the Christmas song, “Birthday of a King.”)
Dr. Jeremiah is the founder of Turning Point for God, senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif., and chancellor of San Diego Christian College. For more information on Turning Point, go to www.TurningPointOnline.org.