Jesus. Why was He born? Why did He come? Why did He come to this earth, leaving behind all the glory, all the perfection, all the holiness, only to come into this world, and face being mocked, being rejected, being hated by men, yes, even facing death at the very hands of those He came to touch, to love, and to save? How deeply felt in sadness this must have been to a loving God.
Have you ever considered that Jesus, from the moment He was born ... actually, even before that ... rather, it was from the time He was miraculously conceived in the womb of Mary, by the Holy Spirit of God, but wait ... truly it does go back even before that. It goes back to the beginning. It was "in the beginning", His mission would be to die. Born to die. This was Jesus mission, for you and for me. He was born to save mankind, through death on the Cross. Imagine yourself being born into this world, with only one reason for your birth, that reason being, your life would in no way be about you, in no way, would it be about yourself. It would never be about you. Your life would be about others, always about others. Your life would be about sacrifice. You would have come into this world, with a plan, since before your birth (from the beginning), to die, that the whole world might live. The plan would be, that your life in this world, would only be to take on all the suffering of this world, of all who are in it, and to take on all the brokenness, all the hurt, all the rejection, and all the pain. Taking this even a step further, imagine such a life being your mission, and in such a mission, you must do all that Jesus did, with never a complaint on your lips ... with never a begrudging word, but rather, continually moving toward that Cross, out of a heart of willingness, out of a heart of pure love.
As I reflect on Jesus birth, with understanding, do I realize that He was born to die. Not to live, not to live a long life in this world, not to be enjoying, even as a child, the many childhood friends, friends He would spend His time playing happily with, or even as a young man, planning out a long life, as you and I would do, a life that most of us might consider "normal", a life with perhaps marriage and children in it, a life with perhaps a career attached to it, a life of financial prosperity, a life where I myself would plan to grow old, where I would pursue all that living in this world might offer to me. No, Jesus knew not such thinking. Jesus knew that He was to be about His Father's business, learning of Him, growing in Him, and preparing for a life that was in no way about Himself, but rather, about all those in this world He was to die for ... about all of those who would come to Him, that they might be saved. Surely He was the Lamb that was sacrificed for you, for me ... and yes, for all who might believe:
The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: Acts 8:32 (KJV).
Why am I sharing this today? Because it is Christmas, and I hope that each of us will appreciate Christ Jesus, beyond measure, beyond anthing we've ever know before. Surely He bore our griefs, and carried our sorrows.
He was despised and rejected and forsaken by men, a Man of sorrows and pains, and acquainted with grief and sickness; and like One from Whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or have any esteem for Him. Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy]. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole. All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has made to light upon Him the guilt and iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:3-6 (Amplified Bible).
Yes, surely He lived His life that we might know peace. He died that we might live. Just what does all this say to my heart today? It says, appreciate Him! Praise Him! Thank Him! Worship Him! It says, I ought to open my heart to Him, and extol, and honor Him! Rejoice in Him! Lift up holy hands to Him! Shout songs of joy and praise to Him, and, above all, love Him fully!
Then I looked, and I heard the voices of many angels on every side of the throne and of the living creatures and the elders [of the heavenly Sanhedrin], and they numbered ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands, Saying in a loud voice, Deserving is the Lamb, Who was sacrificed, to receive all the power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and majesty (glory, splendor) and blessing! Revelation 5:11-12 (Amplified Bible).
I WILL extol You, my God, O King; and I will bless Your name forever and ever [with grateful, affectionate praise]. Every day [with its new reasons] will I bless You [affectionately and gratefully praise You]; yes, I will praise Your name forever and ever. Psalm 145:1-2 (Amplified Bible).
Let us lift up our heart with [our] hands unto God in the heavens. Lam 3:41 (KJV).
Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Psalm 98:4 (KJV).
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this [is] the first commandment. Mark 12:30 (Amplified Bible).
So often, with the extreme busyness of the holiday season, even the busyness of everyday life, we find we often barely even think about Him, let alone take time to bless Him, and to say to Him:
My Lord, and my God, it was for me You were born. It was for me You came. It was for me You took those stripes. All of it, You did for me. What can I say Lord? How can I express my love for You? How can I thank You? How can I express to You, how greatly I appreciate You ... how thankful I am for Your birth? How can I tell You, how very much I thank You for coming into this world for me, only to realize that You would know the sorrow and sadness that I was meant to know, due to the very nature of my sin? Jesus, how can I remain mindful to run to You ... to run into Your very arms, shouting all the way, crying out to You "THANK YOU JESUS ... THANK YOU SON OF GOD! THANK YOU MY DEAR FRIEND, THANK YOU FOR SUCH SACRIFICE". THANK YOU FOR SETTING ME FREE"! How Lord can I remain in such an attitude? Not just for today only, but for everyday ... for everyday that I live ... for everyday that I breathe ... for everyday of my life? Oh Lord, that I would not be guilty, of becoming one of the nine. May I always be as that one ... the very one that returned to say "Thank You":
As He went on His way to Jerusalem, it occurred that [Jesus] was passing [along the border] between Samaria and Galilee. And as He was going into one village, He was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance. And they raised up their voices and called, Jesus, Master, take pity and have mercy on us! And when He saw them, He said to them, Go [at once] and show yourselves to the priests. And as they went, they were cured and made clean. Then one of them, upon seeing that he was cured, turned back, recognizing and thanking and praising God with a loud voice; And he fell prostrate at Jesus' feet, thanking Him [over and over]. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, Were not [all] ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was there no one found to return and to recognize and give thanks and praise to God except this alien? And He said to him, Get up and go on your way. Your faith (your trust and confidence that spring from your belief in God) has restored you to health. Luke 17:11-19 (Amplified Bible).
Yes, Jesus was born to die, that we might be healed, made whole, and able to live righteous lives (in and through His Holy Spirit):
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls. (1 Pe 2:24-25 KJV).
And ... from the Amplified Bible:
This Christmas day, will you join me in prayer, offering up to Jesus a prayer of thanksgiving, with a heart of worship and praise, with a heart that says "Thank You Jesus"?
Let's prayerfully honor Him:
May this Christmas be a most blessed Christmas for each of you ... a Christmas that will take on meaning such as has never been known to you, until now, is my prayer.
His love (and mine), to all of you! I wish a "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" to Jesus, and a "MERRY CHRISTMAS" to each and every one of you, as you celebrate the birth of our King!