Tuesday, December 16, 2014

3 Miracles of Christmas

From today's installment of Our Daily Bread:
Luke’s telling of the birth of Christ includes the shepherds, who lived apart from society in their lowly occupation, and the angels, who announced to those shepherds the arrival of the Messiah (vv.9-14). From the humble to the heavenly, the contrast of shepherds and angels pictures the journey of the Son who came from the highest place to be the Lamb of God.
There are many miracles associated with Christmas. Here are just three.

One is that God took on human flesh. This was and remains so scandalous to some that it prevents them from even considering following Christ. But it's a great comfort to think that God loves us so much that He's willing to become one us (John 1:1, 14). As an old Christmas song puts it, in Christ "the soul felt its worth."

Because God became human, "...we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet he did not sin" (Hebrews 4:15).

Another miracle of Christmas is that the baby was born of a virgin (Luke 1:30-35). God didn't do this because there's anything inherently wrong with human flesh or with sex, a good creation of God for use by a man and a woman in marriage covenant with each other (and with God). 

But when the Holy Spirit caused Mary to conceive a child, without involvement of human DNA, it was an instance of God the Father creating the new Adam, unfettered by the inheritance of inborn sin could establish a new, sinless race of human beings born anew, "born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 3:13). This happens not by our effort, but by God's effort, apprehensible to us through our faith in Christ alone. When we trust in Christ, we become a new creation

Another miracle of Christmas is what this Child came to do

He didn't come to teach new moral standards, except to teach the people of His Church to love each other as confirmation of His power working in their lives; rather, He affirmed moral standards God gave long ago in the Ten Commandments. 

He didn't come to be a miracle worker, per se, though He worked miracles as "signs"in which sin, death, disease, and natural elements were show as subordinate to His power as God in the flesh. 

He didn't come to offer an example of a nice life, though Christ does exemplify what it means to be truly human, set free from the limitations of sin and death that God never has wanted for us. 

Jesus Christ came into our world to do two things: 

(1) To die. "He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 John 1:22). "God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). "“Look, the Lamb of God,who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29) The death of sinless Jesus erases the power of sin and death over those who believe in Him.

(2) To rise. By His resurrection, Jesus became the pioneer who tore down the walls of sin and death and like Joshua, who led ancient Israel across the River Jordan to the promised land in the Old Testament, Jesus leads all who believe in Him into eternity with God. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

These aren't the only miracles of the Christmas. But these three are enough so that, when apprehended by faith, melt our skepticism and self-will, building within us trust in Jesus Christ as our God, Savior, and King.

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