Over the last several days I have written about the theme of obedience that runs through the Christmas story. There was the obedience of the Magi, and of Mary and Joseph. Today we will take a look at the preeminent example of obedience in Christmas: Jesus.
Jesus was obedient to the will of the Father in that He left His heavenly abode to come down to earth and take on human flesh. Philippians 2:5-7 tells us “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” Can you imagine leaving divine perfection to come down to a sin-sick world? The incarnation of the Son of God was not just recorded in the New Testament, but was predicted 700 years earlier by Isaiah “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel [God among us].” (7:14)
That was the first act of obedience. Then He lived a perfectly sinless, obedient life. This culminated with the ultimate act of obedience: obedience unto death on a cross. Picking back up in Philippians 2 with verse 8: “Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
This is also laid out in Hebrews 2:9 “But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.“
The recording of Christ’s purpose of dying for the sins of His people is not limited to the New Testament. It was predicted in the Old Testament by the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah 53:
Who has believed our message?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot,
And like a root out of parched ground;
He has no stately form or majesty
That we should look upon Him,
Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.
He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him.
He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth.
By oppression and judgment He was taken away;
And as for His generation, who considered
That He was cut off out of the land of the living
For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?
His grave was assigned with wicked men,
Yet He was with a rich man in His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.
But the Lord was pleased
To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring,
He will prolong His days,
And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand.
As a result of the anguish of His soul,
He will see it and be satisfied;
By His knowledge the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities.
Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,
And He will divide the booty with the strong;
Because He poured out Himself to death,
And was numbered with the transgressors;
Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,
And interceded for the transgressors.
The little baby in the manger, grew up to be a man who died a brutal death on the cross. He is the perfect and spotless Lamb of God, but He is also the Lion of Judah. He is the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, and Prince of Peace. He is the greatest gift ever given; the author of our salvation through His sacrificial death on the cross in our stead.
Christmas, my friends, is about salvation from our sins! Oh what a gift, oh what a Savior!
Soli Deo Gloria!