As we experience another Christmas season, with all the commercial aspects that are now the main feature of the event, just what the birth of the Saviour means to us can be lost.
The Babe in the manger in Bethlehem is about a whole lot more that gift giving, parties, helping those in need and attending a few special church services. The importance of not just the Babe, but why the Babe came and what this special gift from God was to accomplish for us.
To understand the importance of the Babe in the manger we have to remember why we needed such a gift. In the garden of Eden, man was tempted by Satan and disobeyed God. God had warned Adam if he ate from the forbidden tree he would die. Adan and Eve ate, but continued to live.
However, they died a spiritual death. They became separated from their spiritual connection to God. Adam was created in the image of God but his spiritual death was indicative of the loss of that image. He was now alienated from God and subject to God’s wrath for his sin.
Adam’s children after him were born in Adam’s image, not God’s image. All people on Earth inherit this spiritual death and are born separated from God and subject to God’s wrath for their sin, and we all sin. The reason for the birth of the Babe in the manger was to undo what happened in the garden of Eden.
And so Christ (the Babe) came, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a woman. He was born both true God and true man and was named Jesus.
Prior to coming to Earth as the Babe, He was with God, even participating in the creation of all things. On Earth He lived his whole life without sin, even though He was tempted directly by Satan. He demonstrated He was the promised Messiah or Christ who was to come and save the Jewish nation by numerous healings, deliverances and miracles including raising people from the dead.
He was born a Jew but the majority of the people He came to save rejected Him, including the hierarchy of the Jewish nation. To those who became His followers (disciples) He was eventually recognized and believed on as the promised Messiah or Christ.
The Jewish hierarchy was jealous and fearful of His growing popularity and conspired to accuse Him falsely before the Roman governor and He was sentenced to die on the cross. He was beaten terribly and hung on a cross until He died.
From the outside that may appear to be a victory for Satan, but it was all preordained by God. The death of the Babe of Bethlehem was to accomplish what mankind needed to overcome the spiritual death in the garden of Eden.
First, God is righteous, and so payment had to be made for the sin of man. There on the cross as Jesus was dying the sin of all humanity past, present and future, was laid upon this innocent Son of God and the full wrath of God was taken out on Him. Jesus paid the full penalty for all our sin (our sin was atoned for) and the wrath of our righteous God for the sin of man was appeased.
Also, by His obedience to God, even to be willing to die on our behalf,
He defeated Satan as was promised to Adam and Eve.
Then on the third day after His death, Jesus was raised from death to life. He made numerous appearances to His followers demonstrating He was truly alive and that He was human, not a ghost.
By His resurrection He demonstrated His power over death, which was held by Satan prior to His being defeated. Because He has the power of death, we can be sure of His promise that we also will be resurrected and united with Him at the end of the age.
After about 40 days, Jesus returned to heaven from where He came before being born. Before leaving He promised His followers they would be clothed with power from high when the Holy Spirit came upon them.
About 10 days after His ascension to heaven, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit into His followers. With the power they received they witnessed to all that Jesus was the promised Son of God, the Christ. And that all who believed in what was accomplished for them by Jesus would inherit the gift of eternal life.
Jesus gave His followers (who were now the Christian church) the sacrament of baptism, telling them to teach and baptize to the entire world.
By our baptism we also receive the Holy Spirit. By that Holy Spirit the death we all born with that is inherited from Adam is undone, and we become children of God. So God fixed the spiritual death all men inherit from the disobedience of Adam by putting the Spirit of His Son Jesus Christ in us to restore us to spiritual life.
God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has Life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. (1 John 5:11b 12).
So, as we celebrate the birth of the Babe of Bethlehem, remember why He came and what this Babe accomplished for us.
I encourage each of you to attend one of the Christian churches this Christmas season, celebrating the true reason for the season and growing your faith in that Babe of Bethlehem.
Christmas Blessings to all!
by Rev. Terry Goerz, Redeemer Lutheran Church.
December 21, 2022