God’s Gift to YOU
“Why” is one of mankind’s most searching words. It is the word of the seeker — the word of the individual who wants to understand the “cause” of human events.
The true story is told of a young man who amassed a considerable sum of money which he invested in a business. Within months, the business went bankrupt. He lost everything. Undaunted, he acquired a large sum of money a second time and invested it in a promising business. Unhappily, he achieved the same results — bankruptcy. Humbled but not defeated, through hard work and the help of family he acquired, for the third time, a large amount of money. With daring, he invested it in still another business venture. This time, however, he established one basic rule for conducting his enterprise. In all decision making, he would ask the question “Why?” before making any policy decisions. Whether the decision regarded capital investments, personnel, product change, advertising or any of a myriad of other decisions, he asked the invariable question, “Why?” And, if the preliminary inquiry did not provide sufficient data to make an intelligible decision, he asked the same question again and again and again “Why?, “Why?”, “Why?” The third time around, his business became a great success and eventually this man who had twice gone bankrupt became a multimillionaire.
There is the obvious lesson to be learned in this story, that “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.” But, there is a second, perhaps even more important lesson to be learned, that in life and living — in decision making — asking the little question “Why?” can pay big dividends.
At the Christmas season, a great company of earth’s people reflect on the birth of an infant child born in an obscure village called Bethlehem. But “why” was this preexistent Son of God born on the stage of the planet Earth? Was it to give mankind an additional excuse to make merry? To live it up? To sing of “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas”, “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”, “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” and “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”?
“Why” did Jesus come to earth? Was it to give men occasion to spend billions of dollars on alcohol, presents, greeting cards and Christmas trees?
“Why” did Jesus come to earth? Was it so that we could teach our children to sing of “Little Jesus Meek and Mild”? To tell them of stockings hung by the chimney with care and Jolly Old Saint Nick? How easily we allow our children to be led astray to accept trite, silly, harmful substitutes for the true meaning of the incarnation.
“Why” did Jesus come to earth? Was it so that man could have an outlet for his religious inclination — to indulge in a maudlin, superficial sentimentality divorced from truth and reality?
“Why” did Jesus come to earth?
We need not speculate for an answer.
Let Jesus speak for Himself:
I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness” (Jn. 12:46). And again, “. . . I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (Jn. 10:10).
Jesus was born to bring light to a dark world that had rebelled against its Creator and give life to a people who, because of their sin, were under condemnation and tending toward eternal death. He was the Prophet who proclaimed without apology, the Word of the living God, and the Priest who trailblazed a path for man into the presence of this eternal God.
To accomplish man’s redemption — to buy back His lost creation — God sent His Son to die. Man could not be redeemed through “redemption stamps”. No, the perishable silver and gold of this world would not do (1 Pet. 1:18). Redemption required a Lamb without spot and blemish — a perfect Lamb to provide a perfect salvation. Therefore, the shadow of the cross-fell silently, unmistakenly and irreversibly across the manger. Jesus was the Lamb slain (in the mind of God) before the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8). He “came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mt. 20:28). Concerning His impending death He said, “. . . for this cause came I into the world. . .” (Jn. 18:37).
The Bible is clear — Jesus was born to die. But “why?” — “why” did the Son of God have to suffer and die on a Roman cross? Jesus was born to die because God is hoty, and His holiness condemned man’s sin.
Jesus was born to die because God is just, and His justice must punish sin.
Jesus was born to die because God is truth, and His truth declared, “. . . the soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezek. 18:4).
Jesus was born to die because God is love, and His love abhors sin but loves the sinner.
Jesus was born to die because God is longsuffering, and His longsuffering awaits man’s repentance.
Jesus was born to die because God is good, and His goodness desires the very best for man, His crowning creation.
Jesus was born to die because God is gracious, and His graciousness delights to bestow on man undeserved mercy rather than deserved condemnation.
Jesus was born to die for our sin, lest we die in our own sin.
Calvary, properly understood, is the fullest expression to man of what God is like. There the holiness, justice, truth, love, longsuffering, goodness and mercy of God were fully revealed. Jesus had to die to satisfy the unbending requirements of a holy and just God, so that His love, like a mighty, dammed-up river, could be loosed to flow unabated to save His lost creation.
At Christmas we do well to climb above the tinsel and mistletoe to reflect on the glorious truth that God’s gift to man – is His Son. And that His virgin birth, sinless life, substitutionary death and bodily resurrection make possible peace between God and man which is the requisite for peace between men. Without the former, the latter will never be achieved.
Put succinctly, Jesus was born to die that God’s glory (His intrinsic, eternal perfections) might be seen, and that fallen humanity be given the potential to experience God’s redemption and enjoy Him forever.
The Babe born in the manger in Bethlehem is the Christ of the cross of Calvary, and the Christ of Calvary is the Lord of glory.
God’s gift to you is His Son. Have you, by faith, opened the package to receive and enjoy this unspeakable, inexhaustible treasure?