Sermons

Summary: The message is a reflection on the sacrifice of the Christ--why it was necessary for Him to be pierced and why it was required that He be crushed. The message is a reminder that our peace results from His suffering in our place.

“He was pierced for our transgressions;

he was crushed for our iniquities;

upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,

and with his wounds we are healed.” [1]

Midst the ubiquitous celebrations of this Christmas Season, as the streets of our cities are decorated with colourful banners and houses are festooned with multicoloured lights, Christians must be reminded of the reason for our celebration. As families gather for meals, seated together around tables groaning under the weight of meals carefully prepared, and as the adults toast one another with libations they would not otherwise quaff at any other time of the year, it is far too easy to forget what we are celebrating. A visitor from another planet might carry back to those awaiting a report of far-flung intergalactic travels a report that the people of earth celebrate the fact that they can celebrate. That visitor might well report that during the Christmas Season the people of earth are enthusiastic, even ecstatic, about the feasting, the drinking, the partying that benignly ignores the excess. That visitor from a distant planet might report, “The people of earth are celebrating because they can celebrate.”

When we actually pause to think about what we celebrate, we are not rejoicing over a child in a dirty feed-trough, we are rejoicing in the knowledge that we have received a pardon—a pardon from condemnation that we richly deserve. We were born under sentence of death. A child is born into a family, and we celebrate. We rejoice because the innocence of that child bespeaks promise. No one can say what that child might accomplish during the few years of life, but we are filled with hope.

There is, however, a dark truth that haunts any celebration of the birth of a child—and that dark truth is that death reigns. Though the child may live ever so long, and our hopes are for a long life, that life must end in death. That is the dark confession made by the Apostle when he wrote, “Just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come” [ROMANS 5:12-14]. Death reigned; and death reigns.

Though death appears to reign at this present time, it is the child lying in that dirty manger Who will conquer death and give hope to broken humanity. Our first father sinned, plunging the race into ruin, and ensuring that death would reign over mankind. When the child in the manger is grown, He will give His life as a sacrifice for mankind’s broken condition, delivering us from death, provided that we accept His gift. Therefore, we read, “If, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ” [ROMANS 5:17].

The Apostle sums up the argument by pointing to all that God has done, writing, “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” [ROMANS 5:18-21].

Christmas is not about the birth of a child, then; Christmas points forward to the provision of life for all. Christmas points forward to deliverance from death, the conquest of death, hell and the grave, the victory of life for those who are willing to receive the gift that God provides through the sacrifice of Christ the Lord. Christmas shifts our gaze away from our personal celebration to the One who was wounded for us. We who are broken and in need of redemption are at the centre of the need for Christmas. Our frail, weak condition is central to the story of the Advent of the Christ. For without Christ’s taking on human flesh, He could not have provided the sacrifice we required in order to be reconciled to God.

Thus, Isaiah speaks of our need when he writes,

“He was pierced for our transgressions;

he was crushed for our iniquities;

upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,

Copy Sermon to Clipboard with PRO Download Sermon with PRO
Talk about it...

Nobody has commented yet. Be the first!

Join the discussion