Listening to the Jim Reeves hit C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S and following this series brings us to the letter “R”. Any child would quickly tell you one of the “R” words for Christmas is Rudolph. Other words that come to mind might be reindeer, ribbons, red, rejoice, rituals, or receive. Those are all true, but the one I did not mention was the one in the song…Redeemer. This stands well above all the rest of the list of words because He was the Word made flesh.
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem that night so long ago, many had no idea who had arrived in their midst or that nothing in the world would ever be the same again. Oh, yes, there were those prophecies some of the rabbis talked about, the ones about a Messiah who would come and make things right, but who knew when or if that would ever happen.
This was not just Joseph and Mary’s son. This was the “Curse Crusher” who would break the curse on mankind that had been present since that awful day in the Garden of Eden when man fell to the devices of Lucifer. To any who would receive Him, the curse of the sin from the Garden would be broken so fellowship with Jesus’ Father, our Father, could be restored and we would not live in separation from Him through death.
Lucifer could never have imagined how his plans to rule the earth would be thwarted or that Jesus had been in the plan all along. After all, he wasn’t sure how much Jesus actually bought into the idea of leaving the splendors of heaven to take on human flesh and be common man.
Then there was that business of dying on a cross. Certainly Jesus must have doubted His Father on that one.
Who would ever volunteer for such a thing?
And yet He had done it.
He must have agreed because the heavens were abuzz with the arrival of Jesus in a manger in Bethlehem. Lucifer was sure there would be time yet to upend things. He had grown more cunning in his schemes and temptations since that day in the Garden. In human flesh Jesus could not possess all the power He had when He sat next to His Father could He? He just needed to be patient and wait.
The truth of the story is that Lucifer was always underestimating God and Jesus.
Try as he might at every turn to tempt Him to join in league with his schemes, Jesus turned him down flat. He had thought the cross would finish Jesus off when He had to endure its cruel agony, but that didn’t happen either. Now Jesus had done it all. He had died, gone into hell and crushed death and the curse it held for all mankind and He had risen again. On top of that, He had shown Himself alive to His disciples and hundreds more and the news had spread far and wide of this victory.
Jesus had actually done it. He had crushed the curse of sin for all who would believe.
He had also kept God’s promise first given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as “Covenant Keeper” that from their lineage a child would be born that would come from the line of Judah. One of His many names would be the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. He would be born in a lineage that would include an imperfect lot of cheaters, adulterers, and a prostitute. Who could have guessed He would choose this sort as a means to His promise?
But on that night in a lowly manger, Jesus, son of Mary and Joseph, Son of God, arrived on earth’s stage to free humankind from their sin and folly, to keep His promise of the covenant first given to Abraham.
I wonder if we really get the magnitude of this as we approach this Christmas in 2017. Will we too underestimate God and Jesus?
Jesus was born into a chaotic world where the Roman Empire was ruling with a cruel hand and the religious leaders of the day were largely lining their pockets and laying burdens on the children of the promise that were often impossible for them to accomplish.
It was a dark world when Jesus was born bringing light and truth.
It can be easy to look at the darkness of the world in this present day. The result can be fear and trembling. But this Christmas should stand, as a reminder of who is in charge and it should remind us of other promises yet to be fulfilled. Jesus promised to return again, this time as King of Kings and Lord of Lords at the end of the age when everything might look the most bleak.
Let us not be like those of long ago who had lost hope in the dusty stories and prophecies the rabbis told. Every prophecy to this point has been fulfilled. Do not doubt His return and this time He will not arrive in an obscure manger.
Let us keep our lamps filled and our wicks trimmed as we eagerly await the Curse Crusher and Covenant Keeper, our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.