The ancient Hebrew prophets had also foretold that the Messiah would suffer for our sins, being “pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities.” God had established a sacrificial system in which the blood of a slain spotless lamb provided a picture of God’s willingness forgive sin. That picture would be fulfilled when the Messiah would literally die, offering his blood as the perfect Lamb of God.
God’s perfect justice demanded sin be punished, and his perfect love provided a way for sin to be forgiven through the sacrifice of the only perfect offering—his Son. Jesus is called the “Lamb of God,” because he is that perfect sacrifice.
As God, Jesus was pure, righteous and sinless. This qualified him to be our Savior. As man, he represented us as mortal beings, subject to all our human limitations, yet without sin. This is why only Jesus was qualified to be our Savior.
Now we can understand why Mary, Joseph and the shepherds were so in awe of that baby in the manger. They understood that Jesus was God in human flesh. The first clue in the Christmas story that indicates Jesus’ deity is the fact that he was worshiped by those who saw him. Later, Jesus was worshiped by his disciples. Today he is worshiped by his followers.
The apostle John tells us that the world is divided into two camps: those who reject Jesus Christ, and those who worship him.
“Although the world was made through him, the world didn’t recognize him when he came. Even in his own land…he was not accepted. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.”
These words about Jesus from John’s Gospel remind us that the Christmas story is much more than the adoration of a baby in a manger by Mary, Joseph and the shepherds. The Christmas story is God invading our planet with his message of love and forgiveness. Furthermore, it’s the story of incredible hope for those who put their faith in his greatest gift of all: eternal life through Jesus Christ.
However, in order for that wonderful gift to be a reality in our lives, we must receive him. Eternal life begins when we ask him to become our Savior and Lord. Because he gives us free will, we have the right to reject him. Yet he tells us that if we do reject him, it will result in the tragic consequence of an eternity separated from his love and forgiveness.
Have you received the wonderful free gift of God’s grace and forgiveness through Jesus Christ? It is a gift that can’t be earned by human effort. We encourage you to read the following article which explains in more detail why Jesus came to Planet Earth, and what that means to you: Is Jesus Relevant Today?
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