The two greatest events in the year for Christians are Christmas and Easter. Which is most important for the world? With Christmas music and decorations in the stores now before Thanksgiving and Black Friday starting Thursday evening for the first time, it’s pretty clear that the world finds Christmas to be its favorite holiday. One man was quoted in the paper as saying he went shopping straight from Thanksgiving dinner and planned to return home and eat more when he was finished in the stores. This is what our holidays have now become.
How about Christians? What is our most important holiday? My answer would be Easter because that was the ultimate purpose of the incarnation. Jesus was born to die and rise again. All people who are born will die, but Jesus was the only person ever born for the express purpose of dying. Good Friday–Easter was the goal, Christmas was the means to the goal. Jesus had a mission and assumed a human nature to accomplish that mission. Since the fulfillment of the mission brought the greatest glory to God in the accomplishing of our salvation, Easter becomes the capstone while Christmas was the means to it.
This Christmas season I want to take us deep into the purpose of Jesus’ incarnation. I want us to see why God had to become man to accomplish the goal of world redemption. In a two-part message on December 2 and 16 from Hebrews 2:5-18 I want to study the significance of Christ’s humanity. This magnificent passage starts with God’s original intention for humanity that was lost through sin. God in mercy devised a plan whereby redeemed human beings could recapture the role and glory that God intended. For that to happen, the Son of God had to become incarnate which He did at Christmas.
In becoming incarnate Jesus assumed four roles which enabled Him to give us four gifts. It was these four roles that required Christ’s humanity, and it is these four gifts accomplished in His death, resurrection and ascension that are at the heart of our salvation. The four gifts are these: we have been 1) crowned as kings, 2) destined for glory, 3) set free from slavery, and 4) given the daily help we need. All this is carefully explained in Hebrews 2:5-18 as being what we receive because He came.
If you are like me you are already thinking of gifts for family and friends as Christmas approaches. Our gifts will not require condescension, humiliation, suffering and death. If a gift ever came at such a cost we would prize it highly and honor whoever paid such a cost for us. That’s what the incarnation required of Jesus. Let’s understand it, wonder at it, rejoice in it, and love our Savior because of it more and more. Join me in plumbing the depths of “God becoming man” with the Apostle to the Hebrews as our teacher leading up to Christmas.
Your friend, enjoying the greatest gifts, Pastor Brian (:-}).