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John Kespert
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John Kespert   My Press Releases

What is True For You May Not Be True Pt. 4

Published on 12/7/2015
For additional information  Click Here

What is True For You May Not Be True Pt. 4
What is True About Christmas?

    Is Christmas just a festive time to celebrate a holiday of giving gifts to one another and enjoying pretty decorations? Is it just a time of recalling an ancient tale of a babe in manger? Or is it something much more important?

    In the part 3 of this series I wrote about how the quantity of surviving very old copies, and portions of them, of the documents that we refer to as the New Testament, are such that, if they were about any other person than Jesus, most historians would readily accept them as factual. In fact there have even been some skeptics who had dismissed them, but after thoroughtly examining the known historic facts about them, came to accept them as trustworthy information provided by actual witnesses.

    In any case, if these documents called the New Testament are indeed about a man who was also the God who made everything that was made, who became a flesh and blood man, even so far as being born of a woman, then we should give what is written about Him in the New Testament very serious consideration. After all, if anyone can know what is true, that man, Jesus, would know it because He was the One who made everything that is true about everthing in creation, including that part of creation that is you and me.

    Because the celebration of Christmas is so popular, with nativity displays in front of churches and even in many public parks, and the basic story repeatedly told, much about the birth of Jesus is commonly known.

     As you may recall, due to a required census, Mary and Joseph had journeyed to the small town of Bethlehem. Because so many others had come to that town for that census, they were not able to find lodging. Therefore, when it came time for Mary to give birth, the best they could provide for the newborn baby was a manger, a feeding trough for animals.

    What sort of a birth was that, if Jesus was God come in the flesh? What could God have been thinking in allowing such an ignoble location for the most important birth ever to occur?

    Well, another important part in the account of His birth has to do with the shepherds who were tending their flocks in the hills near Bethlehem. Those shepherds were the only ones to be given an exceedingly dramatic announcement of this birth. Angels appeared to them. Not the kind of make-believe angels you see in movies, TV shows, and on greeting cards. These were angels sent by God and their appearance did not provide warm fuzzy feelings in those shepherds.

    Those shepherds were incredibly scared by the sight of the first angel who appeared that night, as is told in this passage:

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!" When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. (Luke 2:8-20) ESV

    Was it just a random chance that when Jesus was born that the the only place for Him to be laid was in a manger? And that the only ones to whom the birth was proclaimed, in a powerful and very dramatic way, were shepherds? Or did those two things have to do with Who Jesus was and why God not only chose to come come in the flesh, but why it was necessary for us that He did so?

    Some 30 years after His birth, Jesus began His time of what we call His public ministry. When the man named John, whom we call John the Baptist, saw Jesus he said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29) ESV

    What is the significance of Jesus being called the Lamb of God, and His birth taking place among animals, and being first being witnessed by and spoken about by shepherds? And is that related to why, some 33 and a half years after His birth, He was crucified at the time of the Feast of Passover?

    For those of you who are not familiar with Passover, it is held each year in remembrance of when God commanded the Israelite families in Egypt to slay a spotless lamb and put its blood on the doorposts and lintels of their homes, so that when God executed judgment and slew all the firstborn in the land, He would pass over those homes.

    Again and again the people of Israel celebrated that feast with the slaying of spotless lambs, and were reminded that God had declared that the acceptable sacrifice for Him to pass over His judgment had to be a spotless lamb that was slain and its blood applied in accordance with His command.

    Sacrificing and shedding blood of sheep and other animals was also a major part of how God wanted the people of Israel to acknowledge their sinning against Him. Sinning against God is saying I will do what I want to do rather than what God commands me to do. I will be my own god. I don't want God to tell me what to do. I don't want God to be the Lord of what I do. That is what all sin is, both what we consider to be big sins or little sins. And we all love to sin in whatever particular ways that we happen to like sinning, regardless what we may know God has had to say about such things.

    So what are we do do about the consequences of our sinning against God? What can be done about the judgment that is rightful due to us?

    Can we slay lambs and spread the blood on the door frames of our houses? Of course that wouldn't be enough, because that sacrifice of lambs was just a one time event, to remind God's people of that event in Egypt. There were also all those many other sacrifices that were to be made for all manner of sins. But those other sacrifices had to be done by a priest from the tribe of the Levites. And it had to be done first at the Tabernacle in the wilderness, and then at the Temple when it was built in Jerusalem. And today no one knows who is a descendent of Levi any more. That knowledge was lost after mass executions of the Jewish people by the Romans. And the only section of a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem that remains is what is known as the Wailing Wall.

    So is everyone without any hope to have their sins not just passed over, but paid for and forgiven? Well, we would be totally without hope if Jesus was just a man like all the others who have come along. But if Jesus was God come in the flesh, and if He came to serve us in a way that only He could serve us, then Jesus could not only be the perfect sinless Lamb of God, He could also be the one true high priest to make the sacrifice for our sins. Do the documents we call the New Testament have anything to say about that? Read for yourself:

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of His own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, Who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Therefore He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. (Heb 9:11-15) ESV

     If Jesus is God come in the flesh, so that He could be the real and only true flesh and blood perfectly sinless Lamb of God to be slain for our sins, and the one true High Priest to present that perfect payment for our sins, then we do have hope. Jesus is our hope. Jesus is the One we can beleive in as our Lord and Savior.

     I hope you will take the time to look into all that both the New Testament and the Old Testament have to say about the things that God wants us to know about what is true. You can read the Bible in printed form, or download it onto your computer from sites such as eSword, or read and study it online at sites such as Biblia.com.

    See for yourself what is written in the Word of God. It could be the most important thing you will ever read. It could be the very truth of God.

    (If you'd like to read the previous installments of this series, you can click Part 1Part 2, and Part 3 to get to them.)

 

 

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