It's that time of year again! There is
a 'buzz' permeating the crowds of shoppers in the town - decorations
are being put up, presents bought, cards sent - it's Christmas. The
time of year when the birth of Jesus is celebrated.
Or is it? How many of us think of the birth of Jesus and fully appreciate
the meaning behind it when we decorate the Christmas tree, write our
cards, exchange our gifts?
A lot of what we do, we do 'in memory' of the events surrounding the
birth of Jesus although it has to be said that a large number of festive
traditions are of pagan origins. It can be shown that Jesus was not
born on the 25th of December, but that he was born there is no doubt.
Jesus was the Son of God and the events surrounding his birth are
recorded for us in the Word of God, the Bible.
In fact, his birth was prophesied many years before he was actually
born and the early writers placed great significance on the future
event. They wrote of one who was to be a Saviour, a King and a Priest.
He would be a man of humility, a man who was prepared to die in order
to save people from the consequence of their sins, and a man who would
rule as King over a restored earth. He was to be the Son of God.
How many of us, I wonder then, really think of the significance of
Jesus' birth at this time of year?
We give gifts - as did the wise men. We sing praises to God - as did
the angels. In thought, at least, we visit Bethlehem as the shepherds
visited in person all those years ago. But why was Jesus born? Does
his birth have any meaning today?
To find an answer to such questions we have to go back to the beginning
- to the book of Genesis. God created Adam and, as we know, gave him
To obey God or
to disobey God
Adam chose to disobey God and the punishment
for his disobedience was to be death. From that moment on, he was
under sentence of death. Adam became mortal, a dying creature, and
because all men and women are descended from Adam, all have inherited
the same sinful nature and all are under sentence of death.
"As by one man sin entered
into the world, and death by sin; ...so death passed upon all
men, for that all have sinned." (Romans 5:12)
When Adam disobeyed God and was
punished by death, that could have been the end of the matter, but
God "is not willing that any should perish" (2 Peter 3:9) and
has "no pleasure in the death of him that dieth" (Ezekiel 18:32)
so He offered a means whereby we could escape from death and the grave.
God gave us a Saviour - a man who obeyed Him in all things and who
was prepared to offer himself as a perfect sacrifice for sin. His
After disobeying God, Adam became aware of his shame and nakedness
and attempted to cover himself with fig leaves, but God provided him
instead with a covering of animal skins. In order to do so, animals
had to be killed. Life had to be taken and blood had to be shed and
this theme of blood being shed, of a sacrifice being made, to provide
a 'covering' for sin runs right through Scripture.
The Israelites were instructed in the giving of such sacrifices and
great emphasis was placed on the fact that the sacrificial animals
had to be "without blemish", perfect. But they also had to learn that
such sacrifices were allegorical. The sacrificing of the animals served
to remind the Israelites of their sinful nature and the need for forgiveness
from God - forgiveness which could only be provided for by a perfect
Jesus was that sacrifice. Jesus was born in order to die.
"For as by one man's disobedience [Adam]
many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one [Jesus] shall
many be made righteous." (Romans 5:19)
All his life Jesus fought against sin.
"In all points tempted...as we are" (Hebrews 4:15) he
did not succumb but overcame his natural propensity to disobey God
and instead led a life "without sin" and in complete obedience to
"Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians
15:3) having been "delivered by the determined counsel and foreknowledge
of God...crucified and put to death." (Romans 2:23)
But God raised him up, "having loosed the pains of death, because
it was not possible that he should be held by it." (Acts 2:24)
Jesus was raised from the dead because he led a life free from sin;
he was the perfect sacrifice, the covering for our sin and, as a consequence
of being 'covered', we can be accounted righteous and given life again
"For since by man [Adam] came death,
by man [Jesus] came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in
Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."
(1 Corinthians 15:21-22)
The birth of Jesus, therefore, and its
It is the same as it was over 2000 years ago - "Christ Jesus came
into the world to save sinners" (1 Timothy 1:15). He was born
in order to die so that we may live.
"And the angel said unto [the shepherds],
Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which
shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city
of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:10-11)
The message of the Bible is still relevant
today, the best way to find out more is to read it for yourself. We
have a FREE Bible Course which we hope
will help you to do this.
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