Anyone who knows me, I mean really knows me, knows that I love to read books by a guy named John Piper. I admittedly read him more than I perhaps should. Other than Jesus, no one has helped me grasp the deep truths found in God’s Word more than him. Everyone who reads my blogs would be better served to read his blogs. You can find all his stuff and more at www.desiringgod.com. With that said, Piper wrote a book called “Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die.” It is a great, impactful, understandable book about the realities of Jesus Christ and how they are significantly relevant to your life. You can find the book here: http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/books/fifty-reasons-why-jesus-came-to-die. In my opinion this is a great Christmas book, and this is why…
The beginning of the book starts with this quote from Isaiah 53:10, “It was the will of the Lord to crush him…” What a mind blowing statement, especially in the midst of the Christmas season.
This time of year we think of Baby Jesus., asleep in the hay, no crying he makes (side fact…not in the Bible). What we often fail to remember is that Baby Jesus had a death sentence hanging over His head from the moment He was born, and not just from Herod, but from His Father in Heaven. It was God’s will to crush him. The truth of the matter is that Baby Jesus was born to die.
Jesus says it himself in Mark 10:45, “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Jesus says that His purpose is to die, and not only to die arbitrarily, but to purchase people, and not just any people, but sinners. “God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8. On top of that, don’t forget that Jesus is without sin. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin…” 2 Corinthians 5:21.
Jesus did not deserve this death sentence, but he accepted it. Why? Because he loves his friends. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:3
Despite you doing all the sinning, Jesus takes all the wrath. This is the greatest gift of love that exists. This love should cause us to rejoice that our Sovereign God would go to such extent to glorify His name by such extreme acts of loves towards us. This gift of crushing His Son for us explodes with immeasurable grace.
Are babies cute? Yes. Is the story of Jesus being born in a manger important? Yes. Is it ok to sing traditional Christmas songs? Yes….But remember, the Christmas celebration is really just a warm up for Easter Celebration. We should celebrate the birth of Christ simultaneously with the death of Christ.
For it is at the cross is where all the promises become a reality. It is where the gift of grace is unwrapped for those who have faith in Jesus Christ. The glory of God shines most brightly, not in the star above the stable, but in the gospel of Jesus Christ. And I pray it shines in your heart this season!