A Miraculous Birth
It was the day that everyone was waiting for. The new baby was coming home from the hospital. Tender and loving hands had been preparing a special room for many months; filling it with soft blankets, stuffed animals, diapers, and clothes. As the parents and family members gathered around this beloved gift, they asked themselves what this child would be like in the years to come. Perhaps a police officer or a scientist? What if he grew up to be the next President?
While many parents wonder what impact their child will make on this world, one child, born about 2000 years ago in Nazareth, to a virgin named Mary, would change history. Mary and her husband, Joseph, were entrusted to raise the Christ child, the savior of the world.
Born a few miles south of Jerusalem, in a small town called Bethlehem, Jesus was given to this world. At the time of his birth, his family was traveling far from home, to answer a government summons. All of the nearby inns were full, so Mary and Joseph took refuge in a stable.
Jesus was born in humble surroundings, his crib a livestock bin, and his baby blanket made from strips of cloth.
As Jesus matured, he learned the family business of carpentry. God’s grace was upon him, and he grew strong in spirit and wisdom. He learned about Hebrew ceremonies and the different Jewish traditions.
After reaching 30 years of age, Jesus’ life was chronicled in detail. Jesus spent three years serving his father, God, as a traveling preacher. While many questioned Jesus’ chosen profession, his mother, Mary, knew that her son had a very special purpose in life. She was soon to see the fulfillment of God’s promises that were given shortly before his birth. Not only would Mary see her son die at the hands of his own people, she would also be there to see his resurrection, an event that rebuked every doubt that He is the Son of God.
The Message of Jesus
Beginning to preach in a seaside town, Jesus spoke out to all who would listen, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt 4:17 NKJV). During the time he spent on the beach of Galilee, Jesus began to acquire his staff of disciples. The message that he wanted to share was simple; He spoke of repentance; how people should ask for forgiveness and turn away from their wrongful acts and attitudes, and the sins that came along with them.
These stunning words may not have meant much to most people, but Jesus spoke these words while also performing miracles, causing people to stop and pay attention. He gave healing to those who were seriously ill, let the deaf hear again, and gave sight to the blind. He raised the dead and drove out numerous evil spirits. Jesus did these things not to show how awesome he was in terms of power, but because he truly loved his people. He knew these miracles would stop people in their tracks and cause people to consider his words about repenting and where they would live out their days in eternity. Jesus told people who he was and what his desire for them was.
“I am the way, the truth, and the life,” Jesus declared publicly (John 14:6 NKJV). He did not claim to be “one way” for people to have a relationship with God, but “The Way” for people to begin this relationship. For people to have this personal relationship with God as their Father, they must first recognize that Jesus was sent as their savior. The first step in recognizing that Jesus is our savior is to admit that we are sinners, and that Jesus died on the cross for our very own sins.
One Undeniable Certainty
Jesus tells us that He is the truth. Today, we are all bombarded with countless spiritual gurus who claim to have the market cornered on true spiritual wisdom. The truth is that none of these gurus were killed on a cross, only to triumph over death by returning alive three days later. If someone wants to learn the truth about God, and desires to know him personally, this act shows us that
Jesus is the whole truth and all that anyone will ever need.
Jesus also tells us that He is the life. That’s the wonderful thing about forming a relationship with Jesus, our savior. Not only does it bring forth a dynamic life here on earth, but also an eternal life with him in heaven. It is only through Jesus’ death that we inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.
Throughout his entire life, Jesus gave people hope. This hope allows his followers to take comfort in the midst of suffering, offers peace while going through strife, and keeps us protected through dangerous times.
Many people today will agree that Heaven will be a truly wonderful place, but they only focus on Heaven, they do not give enough thought to how terrible a place Hell will be. God is very clear in his scripture that our lives are like a vapor, here one minute and gone the next (James 4:14). He loves us enough to warn us that, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe in the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36).
God shows us his love for us and his desire for us to have a relationship with him, over and over again. He has also freely given us the choice between Heaven and Hell. Although it is our sin that denies us from living in heaven, Jesus dying on the cross, to live again, solves this dilemma for us.
After spreading the message of good-News for three years, Jesus’ life came to a close. While many of those who are famous receive strong praise and recognition of achievement at their deaths, Jesus received quite the opposite. This perfect man, who healed many, poured out blessings, taught the truth of God so that people may have eternal life, and demonstrated power over death, was beaten and left to die on a splintered cross.
His Sacrificial Love
Having lived his life an innocent man, Jesus offered up no defense to accusations that were conjured up by malicious priests. Although not convicted of having committed any crime, Jesus faced a bloodthirsty and evil crowd that demanded he be executed. The very hands that were taught how to build houses, and later gave sight to the blind, had nails driven through them, as did his feet, that had once carried the message of salvation so that people could live eternally.
Jesus’ horrific death was the penalty of our sins. God, the Father, experienced a pain that was beyond human endurance, as he accepted the sacrificial death of his Son, who was tortured and beaten beyond recognition. God offered up his Son to endure this death because he loves each of us as His only child.
Many parents enjoy watching their child grow up in adulthood, but Mary’s reality was to watch her Son be born to die, so that all may live. By surrendering his earthly life, Jesus gave each and every one of us the opportunity to have eternal life with God in Heaven.
Today, God still extends an invitation to us all to be with him forever; our sins permanently forgiven through Jesus. All he asks us to do is repent for our sins, for the kingdom of God is at hand.