What is the “Good News” of Christmas?

What is the “Good News” of Christmas?

The good news of Christmas dates back to the creation of the world by God and the creation of man who was made in God’s image. God intended that the man and woman he created, Adam and Eve, would live in perfect harmony with Him—enjoying perfect fellowship and being obedient to His commands thereby allowing them to experience perfect joy.

The problem is that man rebelled against God, breaking the fellowship and learning that what they thought would be freedom, turned into slavery to sin. That brought all the negative consequences that humans experience today. Those include pain, suffering, broken relationships, lack of peace and death. God who is perfect could not be in fellowship with imperfect humans. Their sins separated them forever from God and ensured that they would suffer throughout eternity for their continued rebellion from God.

Through Jesus, His son, God provided a way for men and women to be rescued from the consequences of their sin. God let Jesus take on the sin of all mankind–a substitute sacrifice that was acceptable to God. Jesus laid down his life that those who willingly accepted this substitutionary sacrifice might have their relationship to God restored. That brought with it the promise of an eternal life free of the consequences of sin. That’s the good news of Christmas, because Christmas is the celebration of the arrival of Jesus on earth in the form of a human. It’s the celebration of a life that culminates in death on a cross where the sins of all men and women–past, present and future–are paid for by the shedding of Jesus’ blood allowing us to be redeemed through the subsequent resurrection of Jesus.

What does God expect us to do with this knowledge that Jesus died in our place so we can be saved from God’s wrath against our sins? He expects us to accept the sacrifice of His son Jesus, turn away from our sin, and have faith that we will experience peace in this life and an eternity of contentment with Him. Christmas is a celebration of this good news, “For unto you a Savior is born who is Christ the Lord.” The final question is, have you believed it and accepted Jesus as your Savior? It is the most important decision a person ever makes. Merry Christmas!

Why did Jesus come as a baby?

Why did Jesus come as a baby?

Jesus was with God when the universe was created. He was the instrument of creation of everything, including mankind, with whom he wanted to have a relationship, and on whom he could bestow his love and affection. However, man abused the relationship and rebelled and in the process became lost to God’s companionship and his love. God never stopped loving man, and prescribed a system of sacrifice by which man could atone for his rebellion, generally known as sin. The blood of an unblemished lamb was let each year for the forgiveness of sin, but it was a temporary measure that had to be performed annually, forever.

God decided to remedy that situation by sending his son, Jesus, earth to take the place of the lamb, shedding his blood once for all time. He could have showed up as an animal to be sacrificed, but he would have been unable to communicate with men and express his love for them.

He could have showed up as an adult but his sacrifice would have been less costly than to have lived as a baby, a boy, a teenager and a man. He became fully man while remaining fully God. He experienced the same kind of temptations that everyone experiences throughout a lifetime, but never sinned. He experienced all the emotions of the people he came to save.

Jesus was born into a family, the perfect setting for physical, emotional and spiritual growth. He taught with authority because he was seen as man with divine wisdom. ore He challenged the both the religious and secular authorities who lived lives that violated God’s laws, setting up the situation where those authorities thought they were executing a troublemaker. What they didn’t know was that it was not them who were taking a life, rather it was Jesus who was giving up his so that all who believed in him could be spared the eternal death they deserved.

How better for Jesus to become the perfect sacrifice than to be born in the lowliest of conditions taking the place of the unblemished lamb. God loved us so much that he sent Jesus in total humility to provide a pathway for the restoration of our relationship with Him.

 

 

Was Jesus the promised Messiah?

Was Jesus the promised Messiah?

Yes. According to the Bible, Jesus is the anointed one, or Messiah, who would become King at the end of days.

In the New Testament portion of the Bible, the life and work of Jesus reveal that He fulfills more than 50 specific prophecies that were recorded hundreds of years before his birth. The fulfilled prophecies point to more than an anointed king, but also to a suffering savior, a teacher, and a healer. The kingship of Jesus is traced in the Bible through 30 generations back to Hosea, the last King of Judah, who reigned almost 600 years before Jesus.

More than 400 years passed between the time when God spoke to his chosen people, the Hebrews in the Old Testament and when He spoke again, through John the Baptist and Jesus in the New Testament. During that long time of absence, the words of the prophets of a coming Messiah encouraged people to continue to pray and expect a king to rule them. In Jeremiah 33, we read of Jesus reestablishing God’s chosen people. Micah 5:2 prophecies the birth of Jesus. But is not until we read in John 1:19-34, the testimony of John the Baptist and his introduction of Jesus “the Lamb of God” that we begin to see the fulfillment of the many prophecies and our understanding that Jesus is the promised Messiah.

Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.”
They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”
He said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
He answered, “No.”
Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”

John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”
Now the Pharisees who had been sent questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
“I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”

This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”

Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”

John 1:19-34

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How do we know that Christianity is true?

How do we know that Christianity is true?

That depends on who is defining Christianity. Basic Christianity is the understanding that a person cannot do anything, including good works or good deeds, to win a place in heaven. Christianity alone teaches that forgiveness of individual sin and the promise of eternal life with God are gifts offered to an individual by God. To receive these gifts of both forgiveness and eternal life, one only has to accept the gift by faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. So the question becomes, is Jesus true? Is what he says about himself truthful?

Jesus, the first-century teacher, is documented in the Bible and by historians of that period, Josephus and Tacitus. His teachings are among the best-preserved words from antiquity. His birth, life, teachings, miracles, death and resurrection were all prophesied more than 500 years before he was born. Only God, who exists beyond both time and space, could know the future.

Jesus’ miracles demonstrated his divine power. In his three and a half years of ministry, thousands were healed of all sorts of diseases and these events had many witnesses to testify to their authenticity. His death and resurrection are documented historical facts. After he rose from the dead Jesus was seen by more than 500 people, over a span of 40 days. Jesus’ ascension back into heaven had many witnesses proving again he was the Son of God. In addition, there are thousands of verified reports of Jesus appearing to people throughout the world, even to Muslims, who are accepting in great numbers the truth of Jesus as the human manifestation of God. They are recognizing that Jesus is the only path to an eternal relationship with God, the creator of the universe–the only entity who can bring true peace to the human soul and to the world.

Throughout history, many people have tried to hijack Christianity, to use the religion to advance their personal agendas. They have distorted the teachings of Jesus. They have killed and bullied and destroyed in the name of Jesus. However, even a casual reading of the Bible clearly demonstrates that Christians are called to love their enemies, to serve the poor, care for widows and orphans, and to reflect the love of Jesus in all they do. They are called into a life of service on behalf of God, not because God demands it, but because they are so thankful for what he has already done for them. This is the truth of Christianity. By contrast, all other religious systems are either unverifiable or irrational, thereby disqualifying them as being true. For these reasons alone you can know for certain that Christianity is true, but the question is, Do you believe it?

Every individual has the free will to receive God’s gift of salvation or reject it and pursue their own self-centered life. Heaven and Hell hang in the balance of this decision. All other religions propose a path to God. Unfortunately, the fact is these are all dead ends leading to eternal destruction. There is no path. There is only the Way of Jesus Christ because he is the Truth and he is God. (John 14:6)