by Roland W. Keith
Tomorrow millions of people will celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Although we are not commanded to do so in scripture, many will take the time midst the more commercial exchanges to offer a prayer, or sing a song, or read a few verses from the Bible to honor God’s great gift to man, esteeming the day above others during the year for that purpose (Romans 14:4-6). Others will, in fact, give little or no thought to our Savior. As Christians we may want to take a few minutes to tell our children and grandchildren the Biblical account of our Savior’s arrival on earth (Matthew 1:18-2:23; Luke 2:1-40), noting that every day is a good day to meditate on what God has done for us. Having said that, today we will consider the life of Jesus in our study.
According to John’s account: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:1-4). Jesus is the eternal Son and Creator, Who humbled Himself according to His Father’s plan and came to earth, taking the form of man. In obedience to God the Father, in the likeness of men, He prepared humanity for the coming kingdom of God, and then gave His life on the cross to purchase it with His own blood (Philippians 2:5-8). Having accomplished all that he had been given to do He returned to His heavenly home, where, as Paul wrote, “God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).
For the earnest Christian tomorrow is just another day in the year that we honor the divine birth and life and sacrifice of the child called Immanuel, that is to say, “God with us,” giving thanks for God’s saving grace (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:20-23). For us Jesus’ birth fulfilled God’s promise of a Messiah, the One who would not only lead us to God, but Who would tear down the barrier erected between God and man because of sin (Matthew 27:50-51; Hebrews 10:19-20), by paying our ransom with His own life, thus redeeming us from our sins (Matthew 10:45; Titus 2:11-14). As Messiah, Jesus was a man without sin, Who’s life and death not only won our eternal freedom, but is also an example of how each one of us should live our lives (I Peter 2:21-22). It is because of what Jesus has done for us that we can, no matter how sinful we have been, be assured that God will forgive the penitent heart, for we now have a perfect high priest, Who has Himself been tempted as we are yet has overcome, and is now our mediator before the throne of God (Hebrews 4:15-16; I Timothy 2:5).
During His life Jesus left no doubt as to Who He was. His knowledge and understanding of scripture, His teaching, and authoritative ownership of God’s word and revelation astounded people (Luke 2:46-49; Matthew 7:28-29). Furthermore, He asserted His claim to deity by saying, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 4:16). Not only did He claim to be the truth, but that the truth (that is He is our Savior), would set those free, who truly followed Him (John 8:31-32). Having accomplished His earthly task and resurrection, Jesus told His disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-19).
Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice in human terms— He died for others. In His case He gave His life in place of ours. An innocent man paying the penalty for the guilty. It is due to that sacrifice that God is willing to forgive our trespasses of His commands (Ephesians 1:7-10). He has reunited God and man through His blood. Noting the Son’s sacrifice Peter wrote, “And if you call on Him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God” (I Peter 1:17-21).
Some may point out that many have given their lives for others, and that is true. However, few innocent people have been willing to die in the stead of a guilty person. And only one perfect being has given His life for sinners. And, only the Son of God, our Creator, has died for His creation. Moreover, Christ proved Who He was not only by the life He lived, but more specifically by the many miracles and works that He did, and even more specifically by rising from the dead (Matthew 28:5-6). So essential is the resurrection to the validity of Christianity that Paul wrote, “Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain” (I Corinthians 15:12-14). Yet, Jesus resurrection was verified- by over 500 eyewitnesses (I Corinthians 15:1-8). Had these evidences not prevailed in first century Jerusalem and beyond no one today would have ever heard of the carpenter’s Son from Nazareth.
The result of Jesus’ life is the New Testament, God’s final covenant with man on earth, which includes the gospel plan of salvation (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; see Mark 16:15-16; also Acts 2). For those who heard Peter’s gospel account on the Day of Pentecost and asked, “What shall we do?”, Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38; 22:16). God has given us a way to escape the eternal punishment that awaits those who reject Him. The question is why would He give such a rebellious race an opportunity to enjoy eternity with Him? According to John, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:16-18).
God has no desire to condemn the world or a single soul in it. However, His justice requires the condemnation and punishment of sin. Therefore, in order to ascertain justice and to be able to extend His infinite grace to man, because of His great love for man, He came up with a plan that would satisfy His justice and permit the redemption of all men who are willing to come to Him in obedient acknowledgement of what He has done for them (Romans 5:6-9). It is by the grace of God that we may be saved (Ephesians 2:8010; Titus 2:11); a free gift that exceeds all the wealth of the world, extending God’s love and salvation throughout eternity in heaven.
When Jesus was preparing to leave this earth, He told His followers, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going” (John 14:1-4). Jesus left us a roadmap or plan to get to heaven. All we have to do is follow His instructions; that is, follow in His footsteps. He has already cleared the path for us. The sacrifices we are asked to make in following Him are small in comparison to what we gain in pursuing the truth and calling on His name. What we can look forward to on the other side of our physical death makes what we have in this life pale in contrast.
Paul once wrote, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord” (I Thessalonians 4:13-17). There is a great day that awaits those who trust in the Lord. He Who gave His life for us, has also prepared an eternal home for those who accept His invitation to join Him. Will you be one of those on that day who clasps our wonderful Savior’s hand giving thanks to Him as He welcomes you into His heavenly abode? Merry Christmas to all!
Hi! I'm Roland. I began writing after retiring from the Navy in 2015. I believe that we each should strive to learn from one another, by sharing our thoughts and ideas. As a writer my goal is to help other seekers of truth to find and grow in Christ.