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Christ was born for you

Hymn series

Posted on December 24, 2020  - By Godly John

Imagine a world where your daily experience is of suffering, sickness, despair and economic poverty. Add to that the government’s imposition of strict conditions and penalties on the common man who just wants to make ends meet. Could such people have hope?

You might think I’m describing the world as it is today. I’m actually referring to life as it was 2,000 years ago. The Jews, like many peoples, were persecuted, subjugated and oppressed in their own homeland. They desired rescue from this situation — yet, we see that God had a greater purpose than what they saw for themselves.

Israel, just like people today, saw their greatest need as political. For sure, there was genuine evil in the form of power structures, oppressive systems and social injustices — all of which required political intervention. But the God of Israel saw a greater evil besetting not only His people, but the entire world. This is the story behind Christmas.

Christmas is not special just because it’s an opportunity to show love to our family, spend time with our friends, or have a time of rest. It’s special because of who Jesus is and what He came to do.

The God of Israel saw a greater evil besetting not only His people, but the entire world. This is the story behind Christmas

An undercurrent in history

The story of Christmas goes a long way back — to a time even before Jesus was born on earth. It started with God’s promise in the Garden of Eden, when mankind first fell, that there would come a human Redeemer who would defeat Satan, sin and death (Genesis 3:15). This promise was the undercurrent in the history of God’s people, Israel, who were called by God in the Mosaic covenant to be a light among nations and a witness to God’s holiness (Exodus 19-24).

Israel broke this by rebelling against God in idolatry and evil. And God promised that He would do what man could not do (Jeremiah 31:31-33) by setting up a New Covenant that would fulfil the Mosaic covenant’s hopes. This new covenant would never fail again, because the One accomplishing it was no mere man — but God (Ezekiel 36:26-27).

How would God fulfil the covenant if it was promised to be accomplished by a seed of the woman i.e. a human? It’s to answer this perplexing question that Jesus was born. To frame it more precisely, Jesus wasn’t just born — He was incarnated.

Why does it matter?

1. It matters because while Jesus was born like any man, He did not begin life like any man.

Jesus was not just another human. Scripture teaches He was, in fact, the second Person of the triune Godhead: God the Son, who preexisted with the Father and the Spirit, who was the Creator, and the One who brought things into being for His own good pleasure (Colossians 1:16).

This Creator was born into His creation. And because such holiness chose to take on human flesh, He was born to a virgin in order that He might possess a perfect, holy human nature (Luke 1:26-35). The incarnation means that it was Jesus who intentionally chose to be born into this world, in order that He might fulfil God’s promises to His people.

2. It matters because while Jesus was born like any man, He was not just a man.

Jesus was born into this world as a man, but this was not the full picture. Jesus was, in fact, God the Son who took on a sinless human nature. Scripture talks of Jesus possessing both a divine and human nature. He never sought to exalt His divine nature above His role as the humble Messiah who suffered and died (Philippians 2:6-8). The incarnation means that God the Son took on human nature. He added it to His eternal divine nature becoming the God-Man (Colossians 2:9).

Jesus wasn’t just born — He was incarnated

3. It matters because while Jesus was born like any man, He did not live just like any man

He lived a life that was filled with signs of His mission and kingship. Jesus publicly declared his mission was to save sinners and to proclaim the advent of the Kingdom of God. His life was filled with the signs of His Messiahship: physically healing the sick, driving out demons and doing miracles. All of these attested to His identity not just as a prophet or a great teacher, but the Messiah, the One who is called mighty God (Isaiah 9:6).

4. It matters because while Jesus was born like any man, He did not die just like any man. And He did not stay dead.

Jesus was born to die. Right from the beginning of His ministry, He proclaimed that the very purpose of His mission was to die for His people to save them from their sins. His death was not a death of old age, but at the hands of those He came to save. His people rejected and condemned Him, yet He went to the cross because of His deep love for them. In doing so, He defeated Satan and the power of sin over His people by defeating death itself (Colossians 2:15). His public resurrection was the proof that what was once true for those who were enslaved to sin was no longer true. Finally, there was hope.

So, why the incarnation?

It was how God would accomplish His perfect justice in the punishment of sin and rebellion of His people without destroying them. He provided a substitute for us. A substitute that would be the perfect atonement that our sin demanded. A Messiah who would provide the restoration that the corruption of the human heart required.

This is why the birth of Jesus was not just the celebration of a good man or a wise teacher. It is the celebration of the wonderful news that God has entered into His own creation to redeem it.

The birth of Jesus was not just the celebration of a good man, but of God entering into His own creation to redeem it

The incarnation is the visible revelation of God’s righteousness and justice — and by it, the entire world has been put on notice that it no longer has any excuse to deny God’s provision of salvation in Christ.

The very Word of God that operated in the creation of this world is now operating in the salvation of the world. The Word of God having the power of creation chose to lay down that power for His creatures. He was born so that He might save His people from their sins and restore them to Himself, just like it was once in the garden of Eden.

“He has come into our country and dwelt in one body amidst the many, and in consequence the designs of the enemy against mankind have been foiled and the corruption of death, which formerly held them in its power, has simply ceased to be. For the human race would have perished utterly had not the Lord and Savior of all, the Son of God, come among us to put an end to death” –  On the Incarnation by Athanasius of Alexandria (298 – 373 AD)

Galatians 4:4-5 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

Godly John

About Godly John

Raised in the Middle East, now living in Melbourne, Australia, Godly John is married with one son. A former agnostic, he is now involved in lay teaching ministries at his local church, and loves thinking about the intersection between reformed theology, philosophy, culture and ethics.



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