"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given…" - Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)
Two thousand years ago, God sent His Son to save the world. His Son’s name is Jesus.
His coming is a wonder. Jesus left His resplendent glory in heaven, clothed Himself with humanity and came to live among man. Like all men whether privileged or ordinary, He went through the process of birth, childhood, teen age, adulthood and death.
Yet there is something different – uniquely different – about His birth, life and death.
Jesus’ birth is unique. The Christmas story does not begin at His birth. Ancient Jewish prophets had long predicted His birth. Seven hundred years before, a prophet by the name of Isaiah proclaimed, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given.” This same prophet also predicted something astonishing – the virgin birth. “Therefore the LORD himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14 – NIV). These ancient prophecies came to pass. When the time came, the power of God came upon a young and godly virgin girl, Mary, and she conceived. Amazing! Who have heard of anything like that?
Jesus’ life is exceptional. His life is as immaculate as His birth. Never since Creation has any man or woman been found to be without the stain of sin. Jesus is the only one. The God-incarnate lived a perfectly sinless life. Stunning! Who have heard of anything like this?
Jesus’ death is extraordinary. He did not die of any natural cause. Neither did He die of sickness. He laid down His life voluntarily. Concerning His life and death, Jesus said, “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again” (John 10:18 – NIV).
Jesus laid down His life for a purpose, as a sacrifice for our sins. The punishment for sin is eternal death. Not willing for humanity to go into eternal condemnation in hell, Jesus took our place of punishment by His death on the Cross. He did it willingly out of love. He had to do it since there was no other way whereby mankind could be saved.
Christmas always brings about that warm and fuzzy feeling. So, why talk about death? It is not possible to talk about Jesus’ birth without talking about His death because Jesus came for a purpose. He came to fulfill a mission. He was born to die. He was born to be the sacrificial Lamb of God. He was born to be the Scapegoat.
In spite of this, we can still say, “Merry Christmas” because Jesus did not remain dead. He laid down His life but He takes it up again. He conquered death and rose from the grave. He lives forevermore. And this is the good news about Christmas: Jesus gives this life – eternal life that death has no power over – to whomsoever that asks from Him. That is why we can rejoice and sing “Joy to the World! The Lord is come. Let earth receive her King!”
Have a blessed Christmas!
Pastors Les & Adeline Chua