Looking over life it would seem it is a long process from start to finish.
The reality, life happens in short moments — moments that change everything. Just recently one such moment was remembered: December 7th. Some folks know the significance because they are students of history, others because they lived through that moment of history. For the rest, December 7, 1941 was the day Pearl Harbor was attacked and the United States entered World War II.
A more recent moment that changed life: September 11, 2001. My daughter and I were out of the country at the time and when we were finally able to come home so much had changed and that in just a few days after the event.
Not all moments are tragic. Some are anything but. Guys remember the moment that gal of yours said yes when you popped the question? What a change that brief moment made. As a matter of fact that one brought on a series of moments – the day your little one left the warmth and security of its first home to come kicking and crying into its new home; the first day they went off to school, the last day they lived at home.
Moments, that’s what life is made up of.
Christmas is one of those moments. But unlike all others, it is the greatest, the most significant of moments. No other moment has more changed the course of human history than the birth of Jesus Christ.
Like December 7th and 9-11many people know what happened on that first Christmas day. They know something about the place, that Jesus was not born in the inn but instead in a stable and laid in manger. They know about the shepherds and the angel’s proclamation.
But more than the where and the when of that moment is the why. Why did God do it? Why did God the Son, the Creator of this universe we live in, come to live in this world He created? The answer is no mystery. God did not hide His intentions nor did Jesus cover-up the purpose of His becoming flesh and dwelling among us. Truth is, the Bible is replete with the reason. As a matter of fact the whole Bible is about the reason we have a Christmas at all.
Genesis 3:15 tells us that One would come to save us from the power of the Serpent. Isaiah foretold the coming of the One who would be called Immanuel, meaning “God with Us” (Isaiah 7:14). The prophet Zechariah foretold of a day when the One would “remove the sin of the land in a single day” (Zechariah 3:10). All these were a foreshadowing.
In the days just before and immediately following Jesus’ birth, God made clear, through the message of an angel, the mission of the One of whom the Old Testament spoke. Read closely the conversation an angel had with Joseph as he considered not marrying Mary: “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)
The angel that spoke to the shepherds the night Jesus was born proclaimed, “For unto you is born this day in Bethlehem a Savior who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)
Did you catch the common thread in these two birth announcements? In both instances the angel said that Jesus came to save us. You see humanity was in trouble. Our sin, our rebellion against God put us at odds with our Creator. It devastated our relationship with Him and roused His anger toward us. However, it also stirred God’s love toward us. Because He so loved the world He sent His only begotten Son to save us from that which we could not and cannot save ourselves from – the penalty of sin.
God declares that the wages of sin is death. That is what we have earned for our work of waywardness; and God is absolutely just in paying the wage. But God is also love, so He offers humanity a gift, the greatest of gifts, eternal life through Jesus Christ.
Jesus knew the mission on which He was sent. He was in on the planning of it that took place before He created anything. One day Jesus told a man who knew well how to sin and its consequences, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Not long after that moment with Zacchaeus, another man came to experience the wonder of “being saved.” He spoke often of his own moment. In a letter to a young preacher named Timothy he made clear why Jesus came. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” (1Timothy 1:15) Paul counted himself the worst of sinners thus proclaiming that no one is too bad to be saved.
This is why Jesus came. He came to bring life to the dying. He came to bring peace between God and mankind and He did it in the most amazing moment, the moment we call the cross. You see Jesus did not stay in the manger and we must fight the temptation to keep Him there. It’s too easy to leave Jesus a little baby; it seems so warm and safe when we do that. But don’t do it, for the sake of your soul do not do it. Remember that Jesus left the manger, walked the dusty roads of Judea and Galilee until He died less than ten miles away from the place He was born. That’s why He came and that’s how He saved sinners.
He came to save you. The question now is: Has He?