Summary: Jesus Christ is the first gift of Christmas
The First Gift of Christmas
December 25, 2011
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
During the time of Jesus, Israel had a deep desire for the Messiah to come but they had many different ideas about what the Messiah would come to accomplish. They were expecting a great leader like David who would lead them into times of great prosperity.
Israel’s desire for the Messiah
• National Leader: Make Israel an independent nation. Israel had been a conquered nation for hundreds of years. They seemed to move from one enemy occupation to the next and there was a desire to be free from enemy control.
• Military Leader: Lead Israel to great military victories. Israel had believed that the Messiah would be a great warrior like David and would have many great military victories. Not only would occupying forces be removed but the former Kingdom of David would be restored and expanded
• Religious Leader: Lead the world in God’s righteousness. Israel had believed that the Messiah would also bring a great spiritual bounty. They believed that the Messiah would come straight from God with supernatural power and authority.
• Personal Leader: Lead the world to an everlasting peace. Israel had believed that the Messiah would be a great military leader who would bring the world to peace that would never end.
These were the desires they expected to find in the Messiah when he came. The problem was that they were looking for the Messiah to do everything at once. They were looking for the Messiah to do everything as they expected.
Jesus fulfilled these expectations in ways they could not imagine or even expect. The gift was far better than what they had expected.
• Wonderful Counselor: Israel believed that the Messiah would have the wisdom of God. Jesus was God’s appointed leader to help the people find their way into a right relationship with Him. Jesus was the divine guide to show us the way to heaven.
• Mighty God: Israel believed that the Messiah would have the power of God behind them. Jesus was God in flesh. He was the perfect promise of God wrapped in human flesh and lived among us. The reality is that we have been given the greatest gift of God in Christ.
• Everlasting Father: The people of Israel used the term father to apply to the care that sustained the children. The Messiah was believed to be a person who would not only carry the wisdom and power of God but also the great care of God for His people.
• Prince of Peace: Israel believed that the Messiah would bring peace. Jesus brings a different kind of peace than what Israel expected. Jesus offers us a deep spiritual peace that passes our ability to understand.
15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:15-17
The peace was broken – The trespass
The trespass that Paul speaks of here is the sin of Adam in the Garden of Eden. Adam was given only one command, not to eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. One command was all that was required. There was only one condition on experiencing peace with God. The condition was broken and Adam ate from the forbidden fruit. The one act of rebellion became a trespass against God the Father.
Some of the older wordings of the Lord’s Prayer say forgive our trespasses. The reality is that a trespass is a voluntary act against the known will of God. Trespass is one of the six terms used in the New Testament to describe sin. The word symbolizes an intentional act that violates the law of God.
Peace or harmony was central to the human relationship with God. Humanity was created in the image of God with the purpose of having a dynamic, personal relationship with Him. We were created to enjoy friendship with God. The harmony was broken by the one act of Adam against the known law of God.