When Christ came into the world, He said:
"Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You prepared for me…
Then I said, 'Here I am – it is written about me in the scroll –
I have come to do Your will, O God.' "
Have you ever tried to get a feel for a book by reading only the first chapter and the last chapter? Maybe you’ve tried to get away with that for an assignment or a test, but odds are it didn’t turn out that well. Such an approach leaves you with a big gap in your understanding of the story. Everything in the middle adds significance and meaning to both the beginning and the end of the story. Without that context, the beginning and the end can seem like two disconnected events which have little to do with each other.
When you think of Jesus in the manger, do you look ahead to Jesus on the cross? And when you think of Jesus on the cross, do you look back to Jesus in the manger? If you know nothing more about Jesus than His birth and His death, those may seem like two disconnected events which have little to do with each other. But the life He lived and why He lived it reveals the significance of both His birth and His death.
"When Christ came into the world, He said: 'Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You prepared for me.' " Jesus was not born into this world to offer the same sacrifices of bulls and goats that had been slain on the altars of Israel for the previous 1,500 years. Those sacrifices served their purpose as "an annual reminder of sins," pointing to a complete sacrifice which was to come, "because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins." (Hebrews 10:3,4) No bull or goat could be a true substitute for you and for me; no animal could take our place under God's wrath against sinners. So the Son of God came, taking on flesh, born with a body just like you and me.
"Then [Jesus] said, 'Here I am – it is written about me in the scroll – I have come to do Your will, O God.' " God's will for His Son is seen in the life Jesus lived, one of perfect obedience, perfect love toward God and mankind. You could say that Jesus is the embodiment of obedience – that is, if you want to see what obedience looks like, look at Jesus, the life He lived. Though we are apt to follow temptation into sin, Jesus was "tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin." (Hebrews 4:15)
His life of perfect obedience connects His birth and His death with supreme significance. His holy life shows us that this Jesus who was born is exactly who the prophets and angels proclaimed Him to be, the Son of God, for only "the Holy One of God" (John 6:69) could live a life set apart from sin. His holy life also shows us that His death could not have been for any sins of His own, for He was without sin. He lived a perfect life to offer up Himself as the perfect sacrifice, to endure the full wrath of God for our sins. All this He did in obedience to God's will; God's will is fulfilled in Christ! "And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." (Hebrews 10:10) "Made holy" means you have been dressed for heaven, your sins forgiven "once for all." This is what Jesus has done for you, and through faith in Him, it is yours! He rose from the dead to assure you that it is so.
Don’t be content with a basic knowledge of Jesus. Get to know Him in the Bible and grow in your understanding. See how God's will, fulfilled in Jesus, extends to you with the promise of eternal life.
See how the blessings of Christmas extend throughout the year to fill your everyday life!
Follow "The ABC's of Christmas" series:
INTRO, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W
Questions or Comments? CLICK HERE TO CONTACT DANIEL.
Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church
Daniel is the Staff Minister at Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, El Paso TX.