Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The Light of Christmas Pt. 9 {Born to Die}

continued from part 8
 
Peace.  We talk about it a lot at this time of the year.  Verses like “peace on earth, good will to men” sing out in Christmas carols and cards abounding.  But all you have to do is turn on the t.v. to know that there isn’t much peace on earth, what with death, destruction, war, and most recently utter and unbelievable carnage in a small and once peaceful town.
When we think of peace we often think of a state of mind, of tranquility or quietness or the ‘freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts’; but the Hebrew word for ‘peace’ in the Bible has a broader context.  Shalom means ‘to be complete’, as in a right relationship.  The Hebrew word also refers to victory over one’s enemies.
Jesus, the Prince of peace, was born in a stable manger.  He walked the earth with a rag-tag group of men.  Some of the last words He spoke to His disciples were, These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33
That in Me, you may be complete
That in Me, you may have victory over your enemy.
Jesus was born for a reason.  It wasn’t Plan B of God’s design.  It was God’s design.  That Jesus came from on high to dwell among men was God’s plan.  His plan had a purpose.
Jesus came to bring light to the world. (John 12:46)
Jesus came that we might have life. (John 10:10)
He came to save His people from their sins. (Matt. 1:21)
He came to give us peace. (John 16:33
He came to give us eternal life. (John 3:16)
Yes, for all of these things the Son of God was born, but they are results of a greater purpose.  These secondary effects are accomplished through the main reason Jesus lived on earth as a man – His death.
Jesus was born to die.  For you and for me.
He died so we could have life. (Rom. 5:8)
He died to take the punishment for our sins. (Is. 53:5)
He died so his blood would be shed on the cross so we would have peace in Him. (Col. 1:19-20)
He died, so He could rise again from the grave – because God cannot die – so our punishment could be born by one other than ourselves, so wecould finally do what we were created to do – glorify YAHWEH and enjoy Him forever, eternally.
John Piper puts it this way in his advent devotional 'Good News of Great Joy', “The reason Jesus became man was to die.  As God, he could not die for sinners.  But as man he could.  His aim was to die.  Therefore, he had to be born human.  He was born to die.  Good Friday is the reason for Christmas.”
Why?
“For it pleased the father that in Him (Christ) all the fullness should dwell, and by Him (Christ) to reconcile all things to himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.”  Col. 1:19-20
Do you have peace?  Is your peace tranquility and quietness, and thus temporary?  Or is it the peace brought through the blood of the cross, made possible by the birth in a humble manger; the peace of a relationship made right; the peace of being complete? 
This peace of completion is not a peace that comes from a frame of mind, or meditation.  It’s a peace that transcends all understanding and only comes by faith and repentance.  John the Baptist said it, Jesus said it, Paul said it, “Repent and believe.”
The path to peace is to accept, by faith, the gift of salvation.  Believe, trust, surrender.
Yet some will say, “Yeah, but I need to really know.”
And God says, “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.” (Rom 4:3)
It is by faith, and faith alone, that we each are justified, made right and have peace with God, our Creator, through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Two thousand years ago, a babe was born in a barn because the world had no room for Him.  He came to die so He could save the world through His death.  His birth and life and death is not about condemnation, it is about loving redemption.
He is stretching out His hand to you right now saying “Come”.  All each one of us has to do is take hold of it and say, “Yes, Lord!”. 
When we believe, we receive peace, not condemnation.  It is when we reject His way to mercy that we find ourselves in trouble, in sin and error pining.

We each have a choice to make.  What will yours be?
"And this is the condemnation, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." (John 3:19)

To be continued......

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