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Why Was Christ Born to Die?
A Meditation on Christ's Mission
"But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5)
In just a few short weeks, Christians will begin a time of preparation known as Advent. It is during this time, that believers prepare for the coming of the Christ child. Christian congregations observe Advent as a way to remember why Christ came into this world. It is a time to remember the miracle of his birth. It is a time to celebrate the coming of a king.
As we prepare our hearts and minds for the coming of the baby in a manger, it seems odd to think about Christ's death. It seems strange to think that the tiny figurines placed in mangers across the globe, represent a child that was born into this world to suffer and die at the hands of the very people he came to save. After all, shouldn't we save this message until Holy Week? Wouldn't Easter be a better time to discuss the crucifixion?
The truth is that we can not celebrate Christmas without fully understanding the reason Christ became one of us. As humans we are truly blessed to serve a God that would come down to earth in the form of a tiny child. A great and powerful God chose to become one of His own creation. He chose to feel our pain. He chose to suffer. He chose to die.
Christ's death on the cross was not an accident. It was part of his mission on earth, and he was fully aware of why he was sent to be one of us. At times, the concept of Christ's mission was too difficult for his closest friends to comprehend. In Luke 9:21, Christ tells his followers, "The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, an be killed, on on the third day be raised." Again in verse 44, we read "Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands."Even before he was betrayed, Christ affirmed his mission, yet no one could comprehend what he was trying to say.
Perhaps we also have trouble comprehending what Christ is trying to tell us. Amid all of the tinsel and gift wrap associated with Christmas looms the shadow of the cross. We may not want to see it. We may not want to think of the beatings that Jesus took so that we could be redeemed, yet we must. We must remember Christ's mission. If we fail to remember why he came to earth, then his mission was in vain.
When we come to the table set for us by our Lord, we are commanded to eat the bread, to drink from the cup, and to remember Christ. Everything that we do as Christians should focus on the precious gift of salvation.
As Christmas approaches, I urge to to look in the manger. I urge you to look at the tiny baby in the straw and see the image of a God that became one of us. I urge you to remember.