Celebrate His Birth, But Remember His Death :: By Nathele Graham


Our finite human minds tend to think of life in terms of a timeline. A person is born, life events happen, then death comes. This timeline of events isn’t completely true of Jesus. God has no beginning and has no end. Jesus was God incarnate, but His birth only marked the beginning of His life on this earth.

“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God” (Psalm 90:2).

Those words were written by Moses, who first met God when He spoke from a bush that was on fire but wasn’t consumed. God had chosen Moses to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. Moses asked who he should say sent him. “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you” (Exodus 3:14).

To our English-speaking minds, this sounds odd, but it speaks of the Eternal God who had no beginning… He just exists. He has no beginning and has no end.

Scripture begins with the beginning of creation. Jesus Christ was the Word who spoke everything (things seen and things unseen) into existence. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth… And God said, Let there be light: and there was light” (Genesis 1:1 and 3).

The Apostle John begins his Gospel by describing who Jesus was. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:1-3).

The Gospel of Matthew contains the genealogy of Christ, proving Him to be of the Royal lineage of King David. Joseph, Jesus’ earthly adoptive father, was from this royal line through David’s son, King Solomon. The Gospel of Luke proves His human lineage through King David’s son Nathan, who was an ancestor of Mary. Luke’s account also tells us that Mary was a virgin and that Jesus was not conceived by a mortal man.

“And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).

Jesus was fully God and fully human. This can be very difficult to comprehend, but there are many things in Scripture that God doesn’t fully explain. Our human minds just can’t grasp God’s power.

Unfortunately, there are many false doctrines that arise when people try to explain God. God spoke and creation happened, but human false teaching says first there was nothing, then it exploded, and all of the diverse and marvelous things God created evolved over billions of years. It makes more sense to believe God than the fairytales of humanity.

Satan is a created being. Pride caused him to rebel against God, and his evil intentions are evident throughout history, beginning in the Garden of Eden. Satan hates humans; his lies and twisting of God’s words were the cause of the Fall of mankind. When Adam ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, sin separated him (and us) from God.

“And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons” (Genesis 3:7).

This was the first act of religion… doing something by human efforts to try to cover sin. An apron made of fig leaves had to have been very uncomfortable and couldn’t take the sin away. God’s ways are always better, and faith, not works, honor God. There’s no doubt that God knew exactly what had happened but called for Adam. It was important for Adam to confess his sin. Of course, Adam blamed God. He was happy when God gave him a wife, but now it was the fault of the woman God gave him.

“And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat” (Genesis 3:12).

God had been very clear with Adam not to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, and Scripture doesn’t say Eve forced the fruit into his mouth. In her turn, Eve had been deceived by the serpent. It was still her choice, but she blamed the serpent. Death entered all of creation, but God never stopped loving us. He had a plan to make way for humankind to be reunited with Him. The first thing God did was cover their sin by shedding blood. Death only came into the world after Adam sinned, and it took a death to cover them.

“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21). It took the shedding of the blood of an animal to make coats of skins to cover their sin.

God had an even greater plan of salvation, but it would take many years for that plan to be fulfilled. First, He had to call out a people from the nations of the earth. Abraham was called, and his descendants would be given the land we now know as Israel. Before they took possession of it, they became slaves in Egypt. When Moses led them from slavery, God first instituted Passover. A perfect lamb was chosen by each family, and, according to God’s directions, the chosen lamb was to be sacrificed and his blood put upon the doorposts of the houses. Death would pass over all houses that had the blood of the lamb to protect them. This, of course, foreshadowed the Lamb of God who would be God incarnate, and His blood would take sin away, not just cover it.

The Egyptian Pharaoh did grant freedom to the Israelites, and not long after they began their trip to the Promised Land, God gave them the Law. This Law had many “rules” that taught them how God expected them to live. Like the religion Adam and Eve tried to use to cover their sin, it was hard to deal with. Animal sacrifices were required to cover sin but could never take the sin away. Eventually, God would step into His creation and shed His own blood to take sin away.

“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:14).

The people before the cross looked forward to the coming Messiah. They had prophecy to help them recognize His arrival. Like us, most of them had their eyes shut and ignored prophecy.

The story of Jesus is about God’s love. His life was foretold in prophecy. Isaiah gave a prophecy that the Messiah would be born of a Virgin. “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).

Indeed, Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus. She was engaged to Joseph, but they had not come together as husband and wife. It’s important to understand this part of the story of Jesus because it’s important to understand that He was God. His mother was human, but the Holy Spirit impregnated her. In that way, Adam’s sin-tainted blood wouldn’t be passed on to Jesus. His blood was God’s pure, untainted blood. This made it possible for Jesus to be our Kinsman Redeemer.

The law of redemption says “If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold” (Leviticus 25:25). Only a close relative of the one who lost the possession could redeem it. In our case, Adam lost what he possessed. He was immortal until he ate the fruit and lost his immortality and Paradise. Adam was human, so Jesus had to be human (through Mary) in order to redeem what had been lost.

On the other hand, a human sacrifice is never required by God, so our Redeemer had to be divine. Animals don’t qualify as a kinsman redeemer because animals aren’t “next of kin” to humans, and their blood isn’t human. Only God in human form could qualify to shed His blood for our redemption. In order for God to take on human flesh, the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary. She was a virgin and gave birth to the Son of God in a manger in Bethlehem. An angel appeared to shepherds that night and announced Christ’s birth.

“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger” (Luke 2:10-12).

Then a multitude of angels appeared, saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:13-14).

The shepherds are part of the story of Jesus. They left their sheep to find Mary, Joseph, and the Child in the manger. Shepherds weren’t highly respected members of society, yet it was these lowly men who first found the Christ child.

The story of Jesus didn’t end in the manger. Wise men from the east had come to worship Him, bringing gifts of gold, myrrh, and frankincense. After their visit, King Herod, who was a very wicked man, tried to kill Him, but an angel warned Joseph to take Jesus and Mary to Egypt until it was safe to return to Israel. The valuable gifts that the wise men brought made it possible for them to flee to safety in Egypt until it was safe to return.

When Jesus grew to adulthood and began His ministry, He called twelve men to follow Him. Jesus traveled the Holy Land spreading the Good News that redemption had come. He healed the sick, cast out demons, and forgave sin. The Pharisees were offended by His teaching and accused Him of claiming to be God (blasphemy). Judas, a man who had followed Jesus, betrayed Him to the Pharisees, and they arrested Jesus and had Him crucified. This part of the story of Jesus was the plan of salvation even before Adam sinned. God sacrificed an animal to cover Adam and Eve, and the Passover Lamb was sacrificed each year to commemorate their release from slavery. The pure blood of Jesus, untainted by sin, had to be shed in order to take sin away.

Earnestly placing your faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ will give you eternal life. No works or religion will bring salvation; only faith can do this. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

The fig leaf aprons that Adam and Eve religiously made to cover their sin weren’t sufficient, nor was shedding animal blood. Only faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross will take your sin away. When you truly believe, you are sealed with the Holy Spirit.

“That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:12-14).

As we come to the time of year when we remember Christ’s birth, take time to remember that we celebrate God’s love for His creation. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).

As we celebrate His birth, let us remember His death and honor Him with our lives.

God bless you all,

Nathele Graham


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All original scripture is “theopneustos,” God-breathed.

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