THIS SERIES: FINDING WINTER’S REST
The Cross wasn’t an afterthought, or a Plan B if an intended Messianic coup failed. Nor was it a secret strategy dropped on Jesus from on high when there was no chance of escape. The Cross had been in the heart of the Father and the Son and Holy Spirit from the foundation of the earth [Revelation 13:8], and is alluded to in word-pictures and stories throughout the Old Testament.
Jesus’ contemporaries were expecting a political leader, a Messiah who would deliver them from their hated Roman oppressors. God’s perspective, however, was that behind the might of the Roman Empire, (and every other destructive force), lay other powers, spiritual powers—the powers of darkness; and that through man’s disobedience from the very beginning, these negative supernatural forces had gained authority in the world that had been given to humans to steward.
In this fallen world, these dark forces are at the root of all sickness, distress, enmity, strife, jealousy, selfish ambition—and everything else which holds mankind captive. Undeterred, the Lord determined that just as this evil had come through a man, Adam, the answer would also come through a man.
The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.
[1 John 3:8]
God Himself chose to come in human flesh so that he could experience first-hand the suffering of His fallen world. He knew what it was to be impoverished, hunted, betrayed, misunderstood, wrongly accused, scorned and humiliated. And He knew what it was to be brutally beaten and endure a torturous death.
And if that was not enough, He—who knew no sin—also chose to carry the weight of every sickness and sin of humanity, (including yours and mine) and endure the raging onslaught of every evil principality and power. None of us can ever say to our God, ‘You don’t understand…’
Jesus (whose name means ‘God saves’) chose to put aside His divinity, and come in human flesh in order to overthrow the Evil One and redeem people from his clutches. On the Cross, Jesus paid the ultimate price so that mankind could again walk free.
Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.
[Hebrews 2:15 NLT]
So, when we celebrate a birth this Christmas, we also celebrate a death, for the Manger stands in the shadow of the Cross. Christmas is about the coming of our Saviour-Redeemer; as we adore Him, let’s make time to invite Him into the details of our lives and circumstances—to redeem, restore and renew. Nothing is impossible for Him!
Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because He has come to His people and redeemed them.
He has raised up a horn of salvation for us…
salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us .
Learn more about the importance of the Cross in the following pages:
THE POWER OF CROSS
KINGDOM LIVING: HOPE FOR THE HURTING
THIS WEEK'S GRACE RHYTHM:
Given to us
The rich, the poor, the weak
The rulers and the thieves
Yet none was worthy of
How could we understand?
That Heaven’s holy lamb
Had come to bear the Cross
NEXT WEEK: MAKE TIME FOR EMMANUEL
One moment can change a life. One encounter can transform our circumstances. And one night can alter the world for ever...
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[Photo credits: Gavin Tyte (cross); Tim Umphreys (candle) @ Unsplash, with thanks]
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