I’m sending this post a little early for two reasons:
- From my family to yours, we’d like to wish everyone a very Merry and Blessed Christmas and a very healthy and prosperous New Year.
- Most importantly, I’d like to encourage all of us to take a deep breath, put all of our fears and stressful circumstances on the shelf for a few days, seriously count our blessings, and reverently celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the One God sent to give the world hope for a new life and a new relationship with the Creator of the universe.
I know I’m going to be “preaching to the choir” for some reading this. However, for those who either don’t know the “real” Christmas story or who just don’t believe it, I thought it was the perfect time to share the “real” story once again hoping the power of God’s Living Word, the Holy Bible, might move some to a new relationship with Him.
Much of what I’ll share below is taken from a book I’m currently reading, Turning Everyday Conversations Into Gospel Conversations, written by Jimmy Scroggins and Steve Wright.
Who Is This Jesus?
Jesus is God’s one and only Son. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a woman, a virgin, as described in the Bible, the REAL Christmas story:
This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly. As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the Child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a Son, and you are to name Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through His prophet (Isaiah 7:14): “Look! The virgin will conceive a Child! She will give birth to a Son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’” When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. But he did not have sexual relations with her until her Son was born. And Joseph named Him Jesus. (Matthew 1:18-25 – NLT)
Jesus is God. This is difficult for us to comprehend. He is both God and God’s Son. He is co-eternal with the Father and the Holy Spirit. He has no beginning and no end. He has always been.
Jesus is fully God. He is all knowing, all powerful, and in all places at all times. He is coequal with God the Father and God the Spirit. There is no hierarchy in the Trinity. There is order and submission, but there is equality.
Jesus is also fully man, God with us. He took on human flesh and lived life just like us. He got tired, hungry, thirsty, sad, and happy. He was, and is, a real person just like us.
There is one major distinction between Jesus and other humans: Jesus never sinned, not one time! He knows what it’s like to be tempted to sin. He was tempted in every way we are, but He never sinned. This is how He is able to help us in our time of need. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. (Hebrews 4:16 – NLT) It’s also what qualifies Him to do the work God the Father sent Him to do.
Jesus Died For Our Sins
Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin for us. For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:21 – NLT) When Jesus died on the cross, God the Father took all of our sin, shame, and guilt and put it on Jesus. Then He took all of Jesus’ righteousness and put it on all those who repent and believe. Jesus died the death of a sinner so believers can live as righteous people. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23 – NIV)
God’s Word reminds us that, In fact, according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness (of sins). (Hebrews 9:22 – NLT)
God’s holiness requires the blood of a lamb without blemish, in other words, a perfect lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish. . .(Exodus 12:5 – ESV) This is why it’s important to understand the essence of Jesus. He is a sinless man, and it’s only His blood that could cover and cleanse us of our sin once and for all. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:10 – NIV) Jesus shed His blood and died for our sins so we can receive this free gift of life forever in God’s perfect presence.
He Was Buried
When one of the Roman soldiers pierced His side as Jesus hung on the cross, one eyewitness testified that water and blood flowed out. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. (John 19:34,35)
Then His body was taken down from the cross and laid in a borrowed tomb. He took the death penalty we deserve. It’s not a hoax or a trick, and what happened next is the lynch pin of the hope we have in Him.
God Raised Him From The Dead
This is the best part. It’s proof that Jesus is who He claimed to be and will deliver on His promise of eternal life. There were plenty of eye witnesses to this event. I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and He was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, He was seen by more than 500 of His followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then He was seen by James and later by all the apostles. Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw Him. (1 Corinthians 3-8 – NLT)
Jesus isn’t dead. He is alive. This makes Him unique among all other well known religious figures.
Buddha lived an exemplary life and then he died, and he stayed dead. Muhammad lived a very religious life but when he was sixty-three years old he died, and he stayed dead. Swami Prabhupada started a form of Hinduism called the Hare Krishnas. Prabhupada was still striving to attain a higher state of mind in 1977 when he died, and he stayed dead.
Jesus also died but He did not stay dead. Jesus is alive, seated in the heavenly realms with His Father. He will return one day to judge the living and the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that He is the One whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. (Acts 10:42 – NIV)
He will judge based on the answer to this question alone: “Who do you say I am?”
God says, Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves His Child as well. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:1,12,13 – NIV)
“Having” Jesus means believing He was born “God With Us”, He died for our sins, He was buried, and He was raised from the dead.
This in a nutshell folks is the gospel (the good news) of Jesus Christ: Jesus died for our sins, He was buried, and God raised Him from the dead. It’s His finished work that makes us right with God. Jesus did something for us we could never do for ourselves.
What you choose to do with this “good news” is solely between you and God.
One option is to dismiss all this “good news” as just a bunch of childish myths, and go on with your life as usual.
The other option is to believe all this “good news” is absolute life-changing truth. Confess before God that you are a sinner in desperate need of a Savior. Ask the Spirit of God to come into your life to change your heart and mind and help you turn from your brokenness, your old ways of thinking and living (to repent).
The Bible says, If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9 – NLT)
This may be the best news your friends and family members will ever hear. It certainly has eternal implications.
Don’t miss an opportunity to share this “good news”!
See you next week for more Wisdom Matters!