Do we realize what price was paid for our sins, rebellion, anarchy and foolish pride? It cost God His only Son. You who have children, would you sacrifice your only son or daughter for Clifford Olson? How about Charles Manson? Exactly! We can’t comprehend the idea of sacrificing our precious children for anyone let alone an enemy of society. But this is exactly what God did for us, He gave His Son up for us and our depravity, sin and pride.
The question we always want to ask is “Why? I didn’t ask Him to do it? I don’t need His sacrifice to give me happiness, anyway. I can find my own way…” Really? When someone says this to me, or I hear someone saying this on the radio where they have been lifted up as an “intellectual”, I have to laugh to myself. FOOLS! Have you not the faintest idea of how mortal you truly are?
You are a speck who relies on the arbitrary will of God just to wake up in the morning!
God is in control of everything, seen and unseen. That which the enemy perpetrates on man has to get the permission of God to follow through.
“The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.”
Even the roll of the dice at a craps table in Las Vegas is in God’s control and He decides the outcome. That’s the God I serve, how about you? Do you think that the ugliness of the world and all that happens to man catches God off guard? The book has been written, the end is known and everything in the middle just takes time to play out. Your sin and rebellion was known to God before the foundations of the universe were laid. He knew you would fling your fist in His face and curse His name and go your own way. He allowed it! He might have even ordained it. How’s that for hitting between the eyes? You’re not this high and mighty man-god who has all this power to change your reality and to speak things into existence, you are a piece on a chess board, controlled and allowed to move according to a pre-ordained plan. You and I and the rest of the universe are on proverbial leashes and we might as well accept it and carry on with doing what makes our journey glorifying to God.
This message is for Christians and non-Christians alike. We are all in the same boat here. We have all bucked against the rider and we have all strained against God’s hand, much like a child does when he wants to run off down an aisle that his daddy doesn’t want him going down. He strains and tries to separates his daddy’s fingers, but to no avail. We can come willingly or forcefully, our choice, and that’s our only choice. We can be rebellious or obedient but either way we are fulfilling God’s plans come hell or high water.
Please understand, God had all of this planned out right from the get go. When He rebuked the “snake” for his rebellion and lies He told the enemy that His head would be crushed by the seed of the woman. This referred to Jesus coming out of this promised seed. And truly Jesus crushed Satan’s head when he bowed his face down to the earth in submission and obedience to a triumphant Christ. If only we could have seen that moment when Jesus took away the keys of death, hell and the grave from the enemy. What a sight that would have been!
Jesus went to the earth to suffer and die for you and me because if He didn’t, we would eventually all be consumed by the wrath of an incensed God Who had had enough of man’s sin. Just like man of today who constantly curses God to His face and strives to make life hard for Him, he will too be judged and thrown into an ever-stoked and ever- ready hell. Don’t think for a moment that your sin hasn’t escaped God’s notice. He’s watching, taking names and waiting…ever waiting.
Jesus bridged a gap between us and God. An impassable gap that we could never traverse on our own merits. Man tries but ultimately fails. The gap is Christ-shaped, not man-shaped and only Christ could fill the gap between us and God. He had to die in order to save man from himself and God. He gave us the antidote to our sin-sickness. He gave us a way out of our depravity and selfishness. He made the way to our Father’s loving arms.
Who killed Jesus? Who put Him on the cross? Who drove the nails into His hands and feet? Who pounded the crown of thorns into His precious head? Was it the Jews? Was it Satan? Was it the political powers at large? Yes and no. Those were the players in the story. Characters who were choreographed and positioned perfectly to play their roles in this drama of life, death and life again.
Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
God was pleased to crucify His own Son to satisfy His own need and demands for justice and righteousness. God needed a sacrifice to atone for our sins and His Son stood up and took the fall for us. He dove on the grenade and took the brunt of His Father’s anger and wrath and drank the cup until there was none left.
And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.
Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.
Yes, Christmas is about friends, family, presents, food…etc. But regardless of the pagan roots, and regardless of how many Christians refuse to celebrate this day, this family remembers Christ Jesus, Who came to this earth, humbled and emptied out. Who lived a sinless, holy life and died on that horrid cross.
Does it not make sense to look for ways to give Him the glory He so richly deserves? If we can find that which is redeemable and focus on that, are we not honoring God? My children know that Santa doesn’t exist. They know that we don’t worship the Christmas tree, but it stands as a symbol of the tree that God hung Jesus on, the glorious and perfect ornament that made the cross beautiful.
One more thing…I have had people, Christians, stand up and say, “I refuse to celebrate Christmas because of its pagan roots”.
Okay then, if you are to be dogmatic about Christmas, then be dogmatic through to its logical end. The days of the week are named after false gods. The months of the year are as well. Many vehicles are named after gods and religious symbols, and I’m sure that if we did the research, we would find that almost everything in our day and age has its foundations in paganism. You see…? Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Focus on the glorifying and ignore that which has no merit to it. Turn your head away from the commercialism and focus on giving, serving and looking for opportunities to tell others about Jesus Christ, the best gift of all.