Summary: Jesus, God's Plan & Gift, Sacrifice, Love
THE REAL CHRISTMAS STORY - The Manger and the Cross
Colossians 1:15-23 (p. 821) December 18, 2016
“The son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.”
The word for firstborn here doesn’t mean Jesus was a created being as some cults would assert…it’s an adjective…not a noun…and it describes the order of inheritance. The firstborn son in Jewish culture received a double portion of the estate…like we talked about last week…creation was made by Jesus, the Word of God…and Jesus’ inheritance is all creation. A creation He would die on a cross to redeem. “Making peace through His shed blood on the cross.”
The real Christmas story is found in this truth by an anonymous poet:
“A baby born in Bethlehem
His hands, soft and gently curled
But held within their dimpled grasp,
The hope of the entire world.”
The Real Christmas Story is a story of hope, peace, joy and above all…love.
The Creator of all things…visible and invisible in heaven and on earth…The one who has authority over every throne, every power, every ruler and every authority…because it is created by Him, sustained by Him, and held together by Him…He was before all these things. Here’s biblical truth: Jesus is in control!!!
The Word of Creation became one of us “Immanuel,” so He could redeem us. God put His feet in our shoes so He could walk as an example for us to follow…all the way to a cross…and victoriously raised from an empty grave!
“He is the firstborn from the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy.”
This is the story of Christmas. Christmas isn’t the celebration of one day. It’s not about crazy and hectic shopping and gift giving…The real story of Christmas is found in God’s plan to save us…to redeem us…to restore us…by becoming one of us.
This is what the angel means in Luke 2 when he tells the shepherds “Do not be afraid, I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.” (v.10-11)
God’s message to all of us:
I. HOLD ON I’VE GOT A PLAN!
Can you imagine being a 16 year old pregnant Jewish girl. You’re not married yet. You’re engaged to a carpenter…and you’ve just been informed:
“Greetings you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you…don’t be afraid, you’re going to have a child, a baby boy. He will be called the Son of the Most High. God will give Him the throne of David…He’ll reign over the house of Jacob forever…His Kingdom will never end.”
But there’s a problem and Mary knows it…It shows in her first question: “How can this be…I’m a virgin?”
The angel answers “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you…so the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.”
Mary’s response is remarkable: “I’m the Lord’s servant…May it be to me as the Lord has said.”
Have you ever thought about this truth…Mary had to experience the initial rejection of her fiancé. She was nearly divorced…She became an immigrant in her teens…and one day she would witness her firstborn’s gruesome execution.
If you’ve ever wondered if God really was a good God with a good plan…think of Mary.
Have you ever realized that Mary was probably only in her mid 40’s when she stood at the foot of the cross. She watched her oldest child be rejected, arrested, beaten, tortured and displayed out for the world to see…nailed to a cross.
How is this good news that will bring great joy to all people?
As she speaks his name from the foot of the cross “Yeshua…Jesus,” she remembers who gave Him that name which means “Savior.” But also she must think…“Oh how can this be true now?”
Terry Ocasey writes: “From upon the cross her Jesus, deserted by his brothers, who mocked His messianic pretensions speaks to her as His best friend stands at her side… “Mom, John will take care of you now…John, take care of Mom!”
From the manger to the cross God had a plan…He was working in ways no one could have imagined.
He is making a way where there seemed to be no way.
None of us have been at the same place Mary stood, but everyone of us have been asked “to hold on and trust God’s plan.”
Our text records it this way “If you continue in your faith, established and firm and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.”
The question is “will we trust God’s supremacy?” Will we believe He is in control…Will we keep the faith, even when we are heartbroken, disappointed and anxious?