Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Baby Born to Die

"A baby changes everything..."

Today we celebrate that Jesus, mighty Prince of heaven, came as a baby to save sinners.  The birth of Christ shows the amazing creativity of our Lord.  Certainly the Jews waiting for the Messiah weren't expecting their Savior to come as a lowly baby born in a stable.  Indeed, Jesus's first visitors weren't priests and kings, but lowly shepherds, the outcasts of society.  I recently heard a minister speak on how the shepherds were really the dregs of society, not people that anyone wanted to associate with, and maybe the angels even caught them mid-crude joke as they announced the birth of the Savior.  But God chose these shepherds for a reason, maybe to show us that Jesus wasn't born to save kings and rich men (although, He certainly can and does!), but that He came for the lowliest of sinners, the people we look down on.  Jesus certainly didn't spend His time on earth with princes and kings.

And then, who should visit Jesus but wise men from the East.  In a recent advent sermon, I learned that usually these men traveled in large groups with many people in their retinue.  This would have caused quite a commotion in the little town of Bethlehem.  And although they did speak to Herod, they were seeking a child from a poor family, not a prince of royal birth.  Even more amazing is that these men were astrologers, some bordering on the occult in their practices.  Certainly we know that there was much more to their party than 3 men on camels.  And God chose a baby to reveal Himself to them.  

We read that Mary pondered all these things in her heart.  What a privilege to give birth to her Savior, but also what pain she must have felt all through His life, knowing that in order for her to be saved, He must die.  As mothers, it is agony to see our children sick and in pain, but we also see their sin natures and their disobedience (much too often!).  Mary never saw evidence of any sin in the life of Jesus, yet she saw Him suffer and die.  

Jesus means "God saves."  According to Romans 5:8, "...God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."  That is why Jesus had to leave His heavenly home.  So that one day we could live with Him there.  He has everything to offer us, and we have nothing to give.  He freely saves us by His blood.  All we have to offer Him are our empty hearts and He will gladly fill them.  

  You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:6-8

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