By Dr Hank Lindstrom
The center of Christianity is not the birthday of the Lord Jesus Christ. The center of Christian worship is the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord left us two ordinances to observe. They are Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Both remind us of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In Baptism, we have a picture of the burial and the resurrection. In the Lord’s Supper, we have the picture of His death in the broken bread, and His life in the cup representing His incorruptible, sinless blood.
There is not a shred of evidence that the disciples or the early church ever celebrated the birthday of Jesus. Nowhere does the Scripture ask us to celebrate His birthday, but again and again we are asked to celebrate His death day.
Calvary, not Bethlehem, is the heart of Christianity. If you are not saved, then you need to look at what happened at Calvary. Jesus Christ came into the world to die there upon the cross for your sins. You can believe in the birth of Jesus Christ and still be lost. To be saved, you must believe that Christ died to pay the penalty for all your sins.
The book of Revelation says of Christ, “Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood (Revelation 1:5).” We are redeemed not by the birth of Christ, but by the death of Christ.
I say all of this because there are multitudes of men and women who will celebrate Christmas each year and yet deny the need of the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ as the means of their salvation. Nothing but the blood of Jesus Christ shed at Calvary’s cross can wash away our sin.
It is interesting that of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, only two of them tells us of the birth of Christ, and none of the four gospels mentions the date that Jesus was born. There is not mention of His birthday in the Bible. We are not told the day, month, or year. Yet we know exactly when He was crucified. He was crucified on the preparation day of the Passover. The Passover always occurred on the 14th day of the first month of the Jewish calendar.
Remember that the four gospels tell us in the greatest detail where He was born, where He lived and what He did. They also tell in great detail how and when He died. But they are completely silent as to the date or the day of His birth. Did they forget, or was it left out on purpose? Could it be that God knew that man would make more of His birth than His death when God wanted us to make more of His death than His birth? It is certainly worth thinking about. Unless you have been to Calvary, Christmas is of no value.
Each of the four gospels give us a different picture of the person of Jesus Christ. Matthew’s gospel pictures Christ as a King. Mark’s gospel presents Christ as a Servant. Luke’s gospel presents Christ as a Man, and John’s gospel presents Christ as God.
The Bible is truly an amazing book. The phrase “Son of God” means Jesus is God, and the phrase “Son of Man” means Jesus is Man. The Jewish phrase “son of” means to have the same nature as, characteristics as, and to essentially act the same as. Jesus as the Son of God was never born, but as the Son of Man He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin. The prophet Isaiah foretold this in Isaiah 9:6.
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.”
Notice the phrase “a child is born…a Son is given.” If Isaiah had said “A child is given…and a Son is born,” it would have been a mistake. As the Son of God, Jesus was never a child, but as the Son of Man He was born as a baby, grew up a child, and so on.
John’s gospel tells us of the Son who was given, and Luke’s gospel tells us of the child who was born. The record in Mark’s gospel omits any mention of Jesus’ birth. Since Mark presents Christ as a Servant, a record of the birth is unnecessary. A servant’s ancestry is of no interest to us. All we require of a servant is work. Mark’s gospel is filled with the works of Christ.
Matthew’s gospel presents Christ as a King. Here the birth account is very important. Matthew shows how He is heir to the throne being of the lineage of King David. Also, He is visited by wise men who come seeking the King. The wise men said, “Where is He that is born King of the Jews (Matthew 2:2)?”
Luke’s gospel presents Christ as a Man. So, again, the genealogy is important for tracing Christ’s lineage all the way back to Adam, the first man on earth. Also, in Luke’s gospel, Christ is visited by poor shepherds who come seeking a baby, a human Saviour,
The Bible presents the whole world as lost and incapable of saving itself. The whole human race would be cast into hell if no Saviour were found. Man’s best works are filthy rags in the sight of God. They cannot help man out of his dilemma. “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners: of whom I am chief (I Timothy 1:15).”
Luke 2:11 announces that Jesus is the Christ, which means He is the Messiah–the anointed Saviour. This is the One promised by all the Old Testament prophets. Luke 2:11 presents Jesus as LORD, which means He is God. The Bible clearly presents Jesus Christ as being, “God manifest in the flesh”. (See I Timothy 3:16, II Corinthians 5:19, etc.)
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” At Christmas, let’s remember why He was born. Let’s take the opportunity to tell the message of His death, burial, and resurrection.
The bottom line is this: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23).” The GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE! If you haven’t received the gift of God, then you have missed the meaning of Christmas. Many celebrate Christmas all of their lives and have never received the gift of Christmas. Have you received the gift of God? If not, then you will spend all eternity in hell separated from God.
Your most important choice in life is to receive this gift! It is not available at the local shopping mall. You can’t buy it. We don’t deserve it, and we cannot earn it. The ONLY WAY the gift of God may be received is “THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD”. You must trust Jesus Christ as the ONE who died for your sins on Calvary, was buried and rose again from the dead. Trust Him to save you! The moment you do, He will save you.
If you have received the gift of God, why not distribute this gift to others! The gospel is the good news that “whosoever believeth” can also received this free gift!
We pray that you and your family have a wonderful CHRISTMAS!