Summary: As we prepare for Christmas, we must not be guilty of leaving Jesus in the manger. While I am thankful for His birth in Bethlehem, I also rejoice for Calvary. Jesus came with purpose - to die for our sin and reconcile us to God. He was born to die.
The Reality of His Birth
John 12: 27; 32
We are entering that wonderful time of year surrounding Christmas. No doubt it continues to generate a lot of excitement among young and old. Although we have heard it countless times, we never tire of hearing the marvelous account of our Lord’s birth, recorded in Luke, chapter two. The eternal God of heaven, humbled Himself to be robed in flesh, born of a virgin womb. The lowly shepherds came and worshiped the Christ child. Later wise men from the East came, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
As miraculous and wonderful as the account of Jesus’ birth is, we can’t leave Him in the manger. While I rejoice that He was willing to come to this earth in the form of a man, I realize His birth alone was not sufficient. If we had Bethlehem, but no Calvary, we would yet be in our sin, eternally separated from God. Had Jesus not been willing to bear our sin, enduring the judgment we deserved on the cross, we would have no means of salvation. Had He not risen triumphantly from the grave, we would have no hope or assurance of eternal life. It cannot be disputed that Jesus came to earth with purpose – to die for the sin of humanity, reconciling us to God.
As we enter the Christmas season, I hope we are reminded of the reason for His birth. While it would be possible to celebrate Christmas without considering the cross, being reminded of His great sacrifice will certainly enhance our celebration. I want to consider these affirmations of Jesus as we think on: The Reality of His Birth.
I. The Burden of Calvary (27) – Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. As we begin to consider these profound statements, we need to be aware of their context. This immediately followed the Triumphant Entry. Jesus is nearing the end of His life here on earth. His crucifixion is just a few short days away. Jesus reveals the great burden He felt at this moment. Consider:
A. His Pain (27a) – Now is my soul troubled. This carries the idea of being “agitated, pressured, heavy, weighed down, and greatly stressed.” I am sure we all have been troubled in our spirit before, feeling the pressures and anxiety of current circumstances, but none have been burdened as Christ was. Bear in mind, He was God in flesh. He had never known sin; there had never been a single moment when His fellowship with the Father had been broken. He had lived a perfect, Spirit-filled life. He was well aware of the struggles He would soon face. Jesus knew He would bear the sin of the world in His body. He knew He would face the agonies of the cross and taste the wrath of God as the sacrifice for humanity.
This was just the beginning of the burden Jesus would carry on our behalf. Not too far in His future, He would again be in agony while praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. Matthew 26:38-39 – Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.  And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. The agonies He felt were repulsive to His flesh. He dreaded the horrors to come. This was not a prayer of rebellion, but one of honesty before the Father. He knew there was no other means of salvation, but He dreaded the suffering to come. Luke 22:44 – And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
B. His Perception (27b) – Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour. Jesus was well aware of the necessity of the cross. His sacrifice on the cross was in view from eternity past. Mankind would have sought every means possible to escape the horrors of a cruel cross. Jesus was one with the Father; He was God robed in flesh. He knew He had the ability to call for the angels of heaven in deliverance. Matt.26:53 – Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
No doubt, as Jesus hung on the cross, the angels in heaven were prepared and waiting. Had Jesus given the order, they would have responded in obedience. However, Jesus was willing to obediently submit to the death of the cross for the redemption of humanity. He knew there was no other way for us to be saved from sin and reconciled to God! Heb.12:2 – Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.