Each year at Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus.  He left heaven, laid down all His divine power, was born as a helpless baby, grew up and lived as a human man.

Can you even imagine that? Picture being very rich, influential, with a close-knit family, a beautiful home, and you choose to leave home and live in the slums or some remote jungle, just to reach those people. That is as close as we can get to what Jesus did for us. Few would do it.  Mother Teresa came close, but most would never even consider that life.  Some have left riches to help the poor, but what they left doesn’t even come close to the riches of heaven and the fellowship with the Father that Jesus left to become a human – with all our weaknesses – and come here for us.

I’ve heard it preached that Jesus was born to die.  We are all born and we will all die, but that is different.  God created each of us with a purpose and a plan.  We may never really know FULLY what His plan is, but it is not that we just die, let alone suffer the gruesome death of Jesus.  But Jesus was born to die.

Man had sinned.  Fellowship with God was broken.  Satan had been given dominion over this world, and mankind was sold into slavery and destined for eternal separation from God and torment in hell.  Payment was required to buy us back.  But who could pay the price?  If every man, woman, and child were sacrificed, it would not be enough – and that would defeat God’s desire for family.  I am forever grateful that God was not okay with that.  Only a holy, perfect God could pay the price.  We could not gain our own freedom, so Jesus came to pay the price for our sin and restore us to the family of God.  Hallelujah!

I grew up Catholic.  The prayer I was taught to say after receiving Holy Communion said something like this.  “One drop of Jesus’ Blood would have been enough, but He shed it all for us.”  Did Jesus HAVE to die such a cruel death?

Right after Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, God promised to send a Redeemer.  There are over three hundred prophetic words that point to our Messiah.  Jesus fulfilled every one of them, from being born of a virgin in Bethlehem, to His scourging for our healing, to His method of death – crucifixion – which was prophesied years before the Romans even invented it.  His willingness to submit to such a tortuous death, carrying OUR GUILT to the cross, testifies of His obedience to the Father and His commitment to free us from eternal bondage.  (Do we have any idea of how long eternity is?)

But there is more.  Jesus didn’t JUST come to die for our sins.  Next time we’ll talk about “The Rest of the Story.”

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