Summary: The Divine Purpose for the Divine Birth of Jesus
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL
December 23, 2018
Born to Die
This reading so illuminates and so magnifies the will of God and the mission of His Only Son that it needs to be more fully shared at this time of year. This reading is surely a Christmas message. But we need to have a good understanding of the why and wherefore of God in the sending of Jesus to obediently journey from Bethlehem to the cross.
I feel it imperative to again share: Jesus was not created at Bethlehem some 2,018 years ago. Jesus became a physical being at His birth in Bethlehem. Thus, as I so frequently state: B.C. (Before Christ) identifies a time period before Jesus came into this world in the flesh. A.D. (Ano Domini) identifies a time period after the death and resurrection of Our Lord. BUT – Jesus the Christ = God the Son. He always was, since the very beginning of time.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” John1:1-5
Our reading begins: “Therefore, when He came into the world, He said ‘Sacrifice and offering You did not desire;
My ears You have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require. Then I said, “Behold, I come; In the scroll of the book it is written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart.’” (Psalm 40:6-8)
This reading goes on to suggest to us that, Before Christ, the laws of sacrifice required sacrificing animals to atone for our sins. This practice was not pleasing to God (see verse 8). Why would the obedience to the laws of sacrifice not be pleasing to God? My take is that the practice became more of a ritual to appease man but failed in a spiritual sense of cleansing the bodies and minds of man. After all, one could go out and participate in any kind of sinful activity and then go to the temple and kill a turtledove, lamb or fatted calf and walk away believing that “all is forgiven”. If that sacrifice meant total forgiveness and cleansing, it would have meant a change in lifestyle and behavior. It did not. We must understand that God would not be pleased with any ritual that did not realize its purpose by its practice.
“Behold, I have come to do your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that we will have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all. Verses 9-10
And there it is – I have come to do your Will, O God. It was the will of God for Jesus to die on the cross for our sins, right from the start. Jesus was BORN TO DIE. He was born to die, not as a ritual and not a means of a quick fix for us when we fall – as we ALL do! This sacrifice was made to SANCTIFY us. To set us apart from the world.
We do not become “set apart” (sanctified) by playing a part. Saying words of confession and seeking redemption do not set Christians apart from the world. Celebrating Communion does not set Christians apart from the world. We become set apart by LIVING apart from the world (the way the world lives, that is).
As we celebrate the Birth of Christ, let’s pause and reflect on the true purpose of that birth. We can begin a NEW Sanctified life in that celebration, simply by making a covenant with God.
Let us pray – “Father God, today as we reflect on the very purpose of the birth of your Son, JESUS THE CHRIST,
We beseech your blessings and your help in honoring your Will by the way we live. We can be sanctified and set apart from this world, even though we are and remain in this world. We give you thanks for the birth and the sacrifice of God the Son. Help us to better honor Him and You. We ask that you bless us each one with great and greater opportunities to love and serve YOU by loving and serving each other.” Amen
I humbly and sincerely ask for your prayers!
Note: It is the practice of this church to preach straight from the bible. We follow the lectionary assigned readings from which the sermon/messages are derived.