Summary: The Christmas Tree is the cross of Christ, reminding us of His suffering and victory for our salvation.
(This sermon is prepared by Pastor Arturo Sangalang, my student in Central Bible College, as part of his course requirement in Bible Exposition)
“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins.” I Peter 2:24
As the months of "bers" started from the very first day of September, I cant help but feel the morning breeze of christmas athmosphere especially when Christmas carols, in the same manner are being played in the air. Indeed, the much awaited holiday season is fast approaching.
Although constrained by time due to the hectic schedule I have, I am grateful to the Holy Spirit for helping me prepare this message which while unfortunately is well delayed for submission, it is well advance for Christmas pulpit message anyway.
Worthy to be appreciated of our Counsellor is the timely opening of a newsletter sent to me by a certain denominational church dated December 2001. As I gather materials for this assignment, I incidentally
opened up for the first time said communication which it has for its theme Christmas Season, and randomly happened to opened up the middle Portion, page 9 which contains God’s Commandment for the Christmas Season. What touch my keen interest is the 10th commandment instilling in my heart that my responsibility to comply. Kindly allow me to emphasize: God’s Commandment for the Christmas Season: "Thou shalt teach thy children the true meaning of Christmas, of the Prince of Peace, who came to give mankind a way to righteousness and true lasting happiness."
This commandment has touched my heart. I realized my moral duty to share to my children and this world my humble but sincerest belief on the true meaning of Christmas. This is for the purpose of truly knowing our savior even of living in righteousness and enjoying a life of lasting happiness.
Foremost amongst the Christmas symbols is the Christmas tree. Nothing attracts me most in this joyous season of Christendom then the Christmas tree.
Last week, we have resolve at home to bring out of the stock room our disassembled Christmas tree properly arrange in a big box. My mother and my kids loves to clean, assemble and display. And of course to decorate it. It has been yearly used for 8 years now. They enjoy putting different hanging toys and decorative materials to this tree. With dancing lights, this is the most attractive Christmas prop at home. Placed under it are the Christmas gifts we receive during the season and opening them up on the Eve of Christmas.
Likewise, as we passed by last week at the Big Dome in Cubao, Quezon City Philippines, the biggest known Christmas tree in the country is being prepared.
Furthermore, Roxas Boulevard is now filled with Christmas trees for sale. Its Christmas time indeed as evidenced by the preparations and symbols we see, the Christmas trees most especially, which in fact is a wonderful component of Christmas season.
The excitement must not stop here. I do believe that rather than just be mesmerized by the beauty of a Christmas tree, a fervent desire to find its roots and dig deeper into the message it brings to the world will enable us to grasp the true meaning of Christmas and the real message our dear Lord is conveying us.
Please allow me to concentrate on the tree mentioned by Peter in our text where Jesus was unrefutably hanged.
I. THE TREE IS THE CROSS
The tree specified here used to described the cross. It was also mentioned in the Book of Acts.
“The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead –
whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree.”(Acts 5:30)
“We are witnesses of everything he did…They killed him
by hanging him on a tree.” (Acts 10:39)
Jesus died for our sins like the sacrificial lamb in the Old Testament time. Although innocent, he died for us sinners. He shed His blood on this tree which we now know as the cross. As a result, we are considered
dead to sin that we may live a new life walking in God’s righteousness.
II. JESUS CARRIES THIS CROSS
This cross-beam which is called “Patibulum” weigh about 50 kilos bore down upon the Lord’s shoulders with face running with blood. He was racked with pain. Indeed He was “the man of sorrows” as foretold by the
prophet Isaiah. He was a victim of the worst human cruelty and hatred just to save us. Jesus carries this cross and walked up a hill to His death. An open wound with bloody flesh was exposed to his left and right shoulders because of the rubbing pressure of the Patibulum. He carried with this cross the full weight and burden of mans sins, past, present and future to