We all have a birth day, a particular point in time where life began for us. At some point in life we begin to realize that we are not immortal. We see grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents and even siblings die. Although death is all around us we still get the idea that we will live to be 70, 80 or 100 years old. Surely we won't be one of those who die young. Our focus is on our hopes and dreams and all the things we want to accomplish. Nobody likes to think about death's inevitability. We see our purpose being fulfilled in life and not death.
It wasn’t so for our Lord Jesus Christ. In His life he was the exact representation of His Father in heaven and He demonstrated how we should live on earth but His mission was fulfilled in His death. He said "...the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" Matthew 20:28. Long before there was time, God had a plan to create mankind. Being omniscient, he knew that man would fall prey to Satan and sin, so even before Adam existed, God formulated a redemption plan.
God is perfect. He is holy. Nothing imperfect or unholy can dwell in His sight. Apart from reconciliation to God through Jesus Christ we have no righteousness. Our sin, our disobedience, our iniquities require expiation, and the only way to make atonement is with life-giving blood. "For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life" Leviticus 17:11. Sin is such a grievance to God that it must be covered in blood, the very life of the flesh. "...without the shedding of blood is no remission of sin" Hebrews 9:22.
When Adam and Eve sinned through disobedience, God slaughtered an animal to make a covering for them. The dead animal's hide provided a covering for their skin and the blood of the animal provided a covering for their sin. Many years later when God gave Israel the law, He instituted a sacrificial system where the blood of bulls and goats would be used to make atonement for man's sins. "But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins" Hebrews 10:3, 4. The priest would go to the altar every day, offer the same old sacrifices year in, year out, and never make a dent in the sin problem. But our High Priest, Christ made a single sacrifice for sins, once and for all!
The Bible teaches us that all things point to Christ and His mission to redeem mankind. When Adam and Eve sinned, God promised a redeemer. The promise of a Messiah was given to Abraham, the father of faith. The Ten Commandments demonstrated how imperfect we are and showed us our need for a Savior. There are over 300 prophecies in the Old Testament that foretell Jesus birthplace, details of his life, his mission, his nature, his death, and his resurrection. When the time was right, Jesus was born into the world. "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We saw his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth" John 1:14. Jesus’ purpose was to glorify God in the flesh, and ultimately give his flesh as an offering for the very people He created.
During this season, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, let’s not forget His subsequent death, burial and resurrection. That is the “rest of the story.”