Do you realize, this is the gift that was given to us at Christmas time. This story, this life, all that Jesus was and all that Jesus endured, He endured for us so that He could say, “Merry Christmas.” He gave us a gift, and you can’t really separate the beginning from the end because the beginning was given to us so that there would be this end. I know many of us do not enjoy our lives at times, and I know that, at times, our lives are very difficult, and we don’t understand what the future is going to hold. But I believe that God has given each of us life with a purpose, and that He knows the beginning from the end. And at some point, we need to come to that place of saying to ourselves, “It was for this reason that God put me here. It was for this reason — good, bad, or ugly — it was for this reason that I have lived the life that I’ve lived. You know, someone may be saved simply because you were in their life. Guess what? All of us today can be saved because Jesus lived a life, because Jesus did not refuse His Father’s desire to bring a love relationship to this world…
The fact is, Jesus was born. The angels celebrated. The shepherds celebrated. What was it that they were celebrating? This. This story. Even though it had not yet happened, the angels came to say that your Savior is born. Now we know what that meant. For Jesus to be a Savior, He had to go through the ned that we’ve just read [ie, the crucifixion]. The day He came into this world, He gave us a gift. It was a gift of His life, the totality of His life, because when you study the prophecies in the Old Testament, from the beginning of His life to the end of His life, He knew what His life would be, and He could say, it was for this very reason that I was born. And as He was hanging on the cross, and He cries out, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?,” He knew, He knew the answer. He didn’t hang there whining and crying about it. He cried out, and then He gave up the Spirit. Then He gave up the Ghost, because He knew the answer. Without having even to say it, we know what the answer is, because for this very reason you were placed on the earth. Merry Christmas, world! Merry Christmas. He might as well have cried that from the cross, because that’s exactly what He was doing, was giving the gift of life to us. Giving us the gift of the reason He was born. But see, we like to sterilize everything. We like everything neat and clean and tidy, and so we’ll separate the birth of Jesus from the crucifixion of Jesus. But somehow, I feel it’s appropriate that we celebrate the crucifixion to celebrate His birth, and celebrate His birth the day that we celebrate the crucifixion and the resurrection, because it was for this purpose.
And for all the brutality, all the hatred, all the men who tried to make themselves innocent, even for Pilate’s statement, “I wash my hands. I’m innocent,” he wasn’t innocent. And even though the Jews did not understand what they were saying, “Let His blood be on us,” God, please, let Your blood be on me. It was that blood being on them that was going to save them. It is the blood being on us that is going to save us. It is about that blood being shed that you and I can now have [eternal] life. It’s for that purpose, and without this circumstance in Jesus’s life, without what Jesus had gone through in this life, we would not have the gift, and the celebration of Christmas, just as a celebration of the resurrection, would be meaningless. We would not have these celebrations, and we would all be lost. But it is because Jesus fulfilled the purpose of His life, and because Jesus knowingly, knowingly, stepped from the halls of heaven, stepped into this world as a little baby, He had this picture in mind, and He lived His life with purpose and direction, and He came to the end of His life with purpose and direction. Because of that purpose and that direction, you and I now have the greatest gift that there could possibly be: the gift of eternal life, love relationship with God the Father, and the blessing and the cleansing of Jesus through His blood. Merry Christmas.
Pastor Dave Elkins