CHRISTMAS is a time to deeply ponder.
I wonder what it was like that first Christmas Eve? We can try to imagine what it was like for Mary and Joseph. But I wonder what it was like in Heaven…as the birth of the Son of God was about to happen?
Following is a part of the Christmas Story not often told:
“Those soft little hands, fashioned by the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb, were made so that nails might be driven through them.
Those baby feet, pink and unable to walk, would one day walk up a dusty hill to be nailed to a cross.
That sweet infant’s head with sparking eyes and eager mouth was formed so that someday men might force a crown of thorns onto it.
That tender body, warm and soft, wrapped in swaddling clothes, would one day be ripped open by a spear” [GOD WITH US, MacArthur p. 116]. ” Quote by Pastor and Author, John MacArthur.
As I read the above paragraphs written by John MacArthur, I can’t help but think about the most quoted Bible verse ever–John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He GAVE His ONE AND ONLY SON, that whoever believes in HIM shall not perish but have eternal life.” This verse sums up what Christmas is truly all about…For God so loved the world!
A few years ago I preached a sermon titled, “Born to Die”. I asked the congregation these three questions:
1. “How many of you here in church today want to go to heaven?”
Of course, everyone in the room smiles big, raises their hands and signs, “Yes, I want to go to heaven!”
2. Then I ask another question; “How many of you want to die?”
The immediate response is silence. People look at each other and wonder, “What kind of a question is that?” After a few moments of thinking about the question, people begin to answer and say, “No, of course I don’t want to die!.” Of course, that’s a normal response, not many people really want to die, at least not at this very moment.
3. Finally, I ask the congregation, “How can we go to heaven? The answer is, we must die in order to go to heaven.”
Think about it: There is no avoiding death; of course, unless Jesus returns first. The Bible is clear in Hebrews 9:27b (KJV) it reads,“…it is appointed for men to die once…”
Thankfully we have no idea when our appointment with death will be. Have you ever thought about how you will die or when you will die? Most of us don’t ever think about that; because naturally, it isn’t something we like to think about. I surely would not want to know the day I will die, nor would I want to know how I am going to die. I think most of us would not want to know.
Jesus knew the EXACT DAY He was going to die.
Jesus knew HOW He was going to die.
Put simply–Jesus was BORN to DIE.
Jesus knew the very day He would die, and He knew He would die a horrific, painful and humiliating death because this was God’s plan: “…GOD GAVE JESUS, HIS ONLY SON…” John 3:16.
Jesus came to die for the sins of the world (you and me). As Jesus hung on the cross He cried out, “It is finished.” It is accomplished. Salvation has come to completion. Jesus came to die on the cross so that life may be given to us. This was His Gift to us, this Gift would set us free and give us life for eternity.
Jesus did all of this because He loved us, and He proved it with His own life, “God showed how much he loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love–not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins” (1 John 4:9-10). Thank God for His wonderful, amazing Gift–Jesus! The apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 9:15, THANKS BE TO GOD FOR HIS
Artwork © by Rhonda Barrett
“Born to Die” by Barbara Mandrell
Shepherds gaze in wonder
While angel voices sing
This night of nights has come
And brought the world the long-awaited King
The earth is filled with gladness
And yet the heavens weep
For heaven’s eyes can see
He was born to die for me
Is that a tear in your eye
You must know you were born to die
It must have broken God’s heart
For the future He could see
Yet He formed His hands and feet
Knowing one day they’d be nailed to a tree
So all the world could know it
A gift came from above
For God so loved the world
That He gave His only Son
With a tear of love in your eye
You knew you were born to die
Dear God: Thank You for The First Christmas. Thank You, Jesus, for leaving heaven, being born in a manger, living on earth, and dying in my place. Amazing, amazing love! Help me to live a life pleasing to You, lifting up Your Name–in everything I say and do. I want other people to see You in me. Jesus, help me to lift Your Name Higher and Higher as I serve You! AMEN.
MAY YOU AND YOUR FAMILY HAVE A VERY BLESSED CHRISTMAS SEASON!
“Born to Die” is the Christmas message Gary shares each year during the month of December.