Christmas, the rest of the story

When I think of the humble birth of Jesus the first Bible verse that comes to mind is this one from Hebrews.

Hebrews 10:5
Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,but a body have you prepared for me”.

The “consequently” in that verse refers to the prior verses that explain that offerings, sacrifices, and religious ritual, and law keeping can never take away sin. Only the once for all, once for all time offering of the body of Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, can take away sin forever.

It is good and right to celebrate Jesus’ birth, and just as important, we celebrate his sacrificial death and victorious resurrection. Each time we share together in communion, eating the bread and drinking the cup, we declare the Lord’s death ’til He comes. And, each time a new believer is immersed in water, the gospel is acted out, the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus is proclaimed.

The Christ child did not come into the world just to be imitated. He came to pay the awful price of the wrath of God against sin and to show the love of God for sinners. The innocent babe of Bethlehem was just as innocent before His crucifixion until…., until the sins of the world were laid upon him. He suffered the shame, torture, and abandonment of God the Father and friends, and He did it for the ungodly, you and me.

Hebrews 10:10
And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Never again would it be necessary for a priest to go daily offering sacrifices. The one offering of Jesus of his own body satisfied completely the justice and righteousness of God so that based on that once for all, once for all time offering, God can declare an ungodly sinner “not guilty”. Those who are in Christ by faith need not try to appease God about their sins or do anything to attempt to gain His favor. His awful punishment of the Christ is His definitive statement on His love for sinners.

The coming of the baby Jesus was marked by people coming from afar to see him and by a bright star that lit the night sky over Bethlehem. He died alone, his friends had forsaken him, even the Father God turned away for a time, and light left the sky. But He rose from death victor over death, hell, and the grave.

Today the gracious offer of Christmas is Jesus Christ who himself is life everlasting, peace, and righteousness. Those who trust Him alone and forsake all to follow Him have newness of life, the forgiveness of all sins, and the promise of a heavenly inheritance reserved for them.

Peace on earth and goodwill toward men is only possible because the One who would suffer and die for us, and now lives for us, was born. “God with us” is the blessing of Christmas. From my home and heart to yours, may you know the true blessing of the Christ whose birth we joyfully celebrate.

Royce Ogle

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