O, What A Savior
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”
You’ve likely heard this verse before, but have you ever thought about it in the context of Christmas? You might be thinking, “That’s a very strange thought. While we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, we are thinking about His death?” The answer is yes! We cannot separate those two events because it’s the very reason Jesus was born.
After the amazing way that Jesus’ birth was announced to the world and His family fled to Egypt to escape King Herod’s wrath, the Bible goes quiet about the Son of God’s childhood. The author, Luke, finally recorded an instance where Jesus is twelve years old and finds His way to the Temple. Mary and Joseph did not realize that Jesus was not in the group journeying back home after the Passover until about a day in. They rushed back to Jerusalem, and His parents found him teaching in the Temple to scholars and rabbis, who were amazed at Jesus’ knowledge and understanding. His reply to a very worried Mary and Joseph was, “‘Why were you searching for me?’ [Jesus] asked. ‘Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?’ But [Mary and Joseph] did not understand what he was saying to them” (Luke 2:49-50).
Even as a pre-teen, Jesus knew that His Father in Heaven had a specific purpose for Him on earth. In His thirty-three years of ministry on earth, He taught many about God’s love and alluded to the plan for salvation. Jesus was prepared to die on a cross so that anyone who believes in Him would have a restored relationship with God and everlasting life.
Was it easy for Jesus? No, it doesn’t seem so. And truly, to walk through the most painful death humankind had thought up would be hard enough—but Jesus was also taking the weight of the sins of man and the wrath of God.
To be separated from God the Father, which had never happened in all of eternity, would have been agony. Jesus begged in Luke 22, “‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.’ […]And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”
Luke recorded this vital fact that Jesus sweat blood in the Garden of Gethsemane because a human body does that in extreme duress. Jesus knew what would happen, and He prayed that it would be taken away from Him. In the end, He not only accepted the road to the cross; He walked it willingly.
Why would He do that? It’s because His love for you is so deep that He would sacrifice His very life for you. When Jesus hung on the cross, He cried out, “Tetelestai,” which means “it is finished.”
The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death…” And Christ paid it. Jesus was born to die. And He did it readily, for you and for me.
This Christmastime, let us thank our Savior for coming to earth, for choosing to suffer and die, and for loving us so deeply. There is a hymn that describes perfectly how great and vast this love is:
“The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell.
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell.
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled
And pardoned from his sin.
O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song.”
Frederick Martin Lehman
The Love of God Is Greater Far
((This is an excerpt from the 25-day devotional, The Christ of Christmas. You can get your free copy this Christmas season by signing up at www.thebest.news.))
John Sorensen (Doctorate of Divinity, Knox Theological Seminary & Doctor of Humane Letters, Montreat College) is the president of Evangelism Explosion International (www.evangelismexplosion.org) and host of Share Life Today (www.sharelife.today). Sorensen has authored the books Well Done and Your Story Counts and travels the globe for Evangelism Explosion. In 2022, Evangelism Explosion International equipped just under 2 million Christians worldwide to be witnesses for Christ, and saw, by the grace of God, 17.3 million people make a profession of faith in Jesus. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with his wife, Ann, and he has four adult children and six grandchildren.