It has been interesting for me to be going through Matthew’s Gospel just as we come up to Christmas — to be reading about Christ’s Triumphal Entry, Last Supper, and Crucifixion while listening to Christmas carols — to juxtapose the Child laid in a manger and the Savior nailed to the cross. So what is clearer to me now?
It is a hard truth, but it is important to remember that He was born to die:
Hebrews 10:5-7 (NLT)
That is why, when Christ came into the world, he said to God,
“You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings.
But you have given me a body to offer.
You were not pleased with burnt offerings
or other offerings for sin.
Then I said, ‘Look, I have come to do your will, O God—
as is written about me in the Scriptures.’”
The story of his birth is only significant in relation to His sacrificial death:
Mark 8:27-33 (NLT)
Jesus and his disciples left Galilee and went up to the villages near Caesarea Philippi. As they were walking along, he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”
“Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other prophets.”
Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”
Peter replied, “You are the Messiah.”
But Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.
Then Jesus began to tell them that the Son of Man must suffer many terrible things and be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but three days later he would rise from the dead. As he talked about this openly with his disciples, Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things.
Jesus turned around and looked at his disciples, then reprimanded Peter. “Get away from me, Satan!” he said. “You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”
Bethlehem leads directly to Calvary:
Ecclesiastes 7:1 (NLT)
A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume.
And the day you die is better than the day you are born.
Thank You, Jesus, that You emptied Yourself of all Your regal glory and power to be clothed in human flesh in order to die as our sin offering before the Father.
1 Timothy 1:15 (NLT)
This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”
HERE is John Rutter’s arrangement of “I Wonder as I Wander,” performed by the Cambridge Singers.
I want to remember that the joy of Christmas is more than the lovely music and the pleasure of giving and the reminder that Mary had a baby boy. The truer, more amazing joy is that the Child grew up and by His death and resurrection became the Redeemer of the world, opening for us the doors of meaningful life on earth and everlasting life in heaven! So let us rejoice with great joy! Merry Christmas, dear readers!