What is the meaning of Christmas? The answer to this question can be found in another question. It is one Jesus asks Peter, his disciple.
Matthew 16:13 – 17
In this passage, Jesus asks a simple and straight forward question, “Who do the people (the crowds) say I am?” Peter responds, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” Jesus then asks a more direct question, “Who do YOU say that I am?” Peter replies, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus says, “Blessed are you Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”
How would you answer this question if Jesus asked you, “Who do YOU say I am?” Take a moment and think about it. How do/would you answer this question? Is He the Christ/Messiah, the Son of God? Is He the Lord of your life and the Savior of the world? Christmas is about declaring that Jesus has come to set the captives free and to give life to all who believe. What does that mean for us 2000 years later?
Romans 3:23 says, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” Before we can truly declare who, Jesus is, we must know where we stand before God. According to this passage we are all sinners. This is a truth that levels the playing field for all humanity. Every person in this room is a sinner. This may seem like a harsh statement to some of you on this joyous evening. Maybe this statement offends you or hurts your ego a bit! Whether we like it or not it is true. We are sinful and we will never measure up to the glory of God. What do I mean by God’s glory? It is His splendor; it is the outward manifestation of His attributes. God desires that we share this splendor, He desires that we become like Him, to be Christlike. Unfortunately, sin keeps us from sharing it.
We are sinful, and we fall short of God’s glory, and this gives us entitlement to one thing… Death! Romans 6:23 reads, “For the wages of sin is death.” The only thing sinful humanity deserves is eternal separation from God, which is death. How many times have you heard someone say I demand justice, or he/she deserves better than this. We are quick to seek justice and fairness when an offense is shown to us, but truth be told we should be thankful that God does not show us justice, nor give us what we deserve because I don’t think we would get what we thought was due to us. We are entitled to nothing except death and separation.
Thankfully the message doesn’t end there.
“…but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”
There is hope in this horrible news, the truth that has been hidden is now revealed … “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (Romans 5:8) This is the good news! This is the Gospel message! This is why Jesus came to the earth as a humble infant… To bring life, hope, joy, and peace. Take a moment again and let this passage sink in. God loves you! How do you know He loves you? Because of the Christmas message. “And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” God has made a way for humanity to receive life through his only son Jesus. There may be a few people who might possibly be willing to die to save the lives of some good people; but Christ went well beyond that. He died in the place of the powerless (“feeble,” v. 6), the ungodly (v. 6; 4:5), sinners (5:8), and even His enemies! (v. 10). Through Jesus Christ we receive life, we inherit eternal life.
Romans 10:9, “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Public profession and inner faith are the two conditions. You must publicly declare your commitment to and belief in Jesus Christ and secondly, you must believe in your heart that he is Lord of all both living and the dead. The declaration and faith are synonymous (or at least they should be). The Bible is clear that the way we live our lives and the words we speak reflect our spiritual state. Salvation comes through acknowledging that Jesus Christ is Lord and savior of all. If you truly believe this, then your life will reflect it.
When you confess Jesus as Lord you are justified (made right with God) and when you believe in your heart Jesus died in your place you are saved from eternal death and separation. The outcome is peace with God. Romans 5:1 reads, “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.” In your sinful state you are at war with God. Now in Christ Jesus the war is over, the price has been paid, and the death you deserve has been transformed to life. Through the work of Christ all causes of enmity between our souls and God have been removed. We have been changed from foes to friends by a miracle of grace.
What better gift can you receive this Christmas season than to receive the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ? By God’s grace, love, and mercy you can be at peace with God, and this should not be taken lightly. A great price has been paid for you and me so we can have an abundant of life both now and for all eternity. We should never take this for granted. We should never enter a relationship with Jesus Christ nonchalantly; this is a serious and lifelong commitment. If we choose to be exposed to the truth, then this will require a change in your life and there is no turning back. When you choose to accept the truth, it will forever change the way you look at life, live your life and share your life with others. John 8:31, 32 reads, “Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” When you accept the truth… We are all sinners who are saved by grace because we serve a loving, merciful, and gracious God… then you will know true freedom. When Jesus Christ becomes your Lord and Savior you will be freed from the bondage of sin and evil. You have heard the phrase, “Freedom is not free” it is true a great price was paid by Jesus Christ so that you could know and live in the freedom that God truly intended for you.
Jeff has been in full-time ministry for thirty years. He currently serves as Executive Director at Anchor House Ministry at SeaPort Manatee in Palmetto, FL and he is a part-time Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Southside in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored A Lent Devotional (A Spiritual Journey to Lent) an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). All three are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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