The Story Of Christmas

December 23, 2016

Friends,
The story of Christmas is that Jesus, the Eternal God and Creator (John 1:1,2,10), came to earth as a human baby so that, in bearing witness to the Truth (18:37), He would conquer sin (John 1:29 // Rom. 6:18), the devil (John 12:31 & 16:11), and death (8:51 & 11:25,26), would pay mankind’s ransom (1 John 2:2), thus liberating us from the dark kingdom (Col. 1:13,14), and would, in His sinlessness (Heb. 4:15), model for us how to live (1 John 2:6), while also baptizing us in the Holy Spirit (Mt. 3:11) –He whose power we are to use to imitate Christ. (Gal. 5:16)

The story of Christmas is that Jesus came to His own people –the descendants of Jacob whom He irrevocably chose (Jer. 31:35-37 // Rom. 11:1,2,28,29) as His treasured possession (Ps. 135:4), the nation He calls “My nation” (Isa. 51:4), and the bloodline He chose to identify with (John 4:22 // Rom. 1:3)– but they, the majority, did not accept Him. As John 1:11 says, “He came to His own, but His own did not receive Him.” Even so, the next verse says, “Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” This was first offered to the Jews (Rom. 1:16), but God, knowing they, as a nation, would reject Him, allowed the rejection so as to bring salvation to the Gentiles. (Acts 28:17,23-28 // Rom. 11:12,15) Therefore, whoever believes (believes with true repentance, faith, and trust) has crossed over into Salvation. (John 3:15 & 5:24)

The story of Christmas is that the eternal blessings which were offered to Abraham belong also to all “who are of the faith of Abraham.” (Rom. 4:16) God made The Covenant with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the Israelites, and King David, and the people of Israel are thus the recipients of God’s promises. (9:4,5 & 11:18) However, the Good News declares that the Gentiles have been invited, through Christ’s work, to submit to being grafted into the Covenant so that they, along with believing Jews, may “share in the nourishing sap from the olive root.” (11:17)

This, though, does not make Gentiles into Jews. Indeed, Scripture maintains that one’s faith does not change one’s bloodline or race. We see the Jewish/Gentile racial distinction evidenced at least three times in Acts chapter 13 alone. Once is in verse 16 where Paul says, “Men of Israel and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me!” Another is in verse 26 where Paul says, “Brothers, children of Abraham, and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent.” Another is in verse 43: “When the congregation [of the synagogue, which is where the Jewish Law and Prophets are read –v. 14,15,42] was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God.” (Scripture has a multitude of this evidence, but just two more examples in this same chapter can be seen through the statements, “They are now His [Jesus’] witnesses to our people” in verse 31, and “What God promised our fathers He has fulfilled for us, their children” in verses 32 & 33.)

The story of Christmas is that from David’s “descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as He promised.” (Acts 13:23) Yes, Jesus, “the Root and Offspring of David” (Rev. 22:16), the One the Lord God promised would reign over the house of Jacob forever (Isa. 9:6,7 // Luke 1:31-33), is the King of the Jews (Mt. 2:6) whose all-mighty rule, based in Jerusalem, will extend across the whole earth. (Ps. ch. 2 // Zech. 14:9,16,17 // Rev. 11:15 & 19:11-16 & 21:24-26)

The story of Christmas proclaims glory to God and the invitation of reconciliation to those with whom He is pleased. (Luke 2:14 // 2 Cor. 5:19,20) As Jesus says in Rev. 22:14, “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.” This opportunity is not only for the Jew, but it is, most assuredly, also for the Gentile. Yes, anyone, anywhere, can pledge allegiance to the King of Kings –the One who was born a Jew, in a stable, that first Christmas night.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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