The Purpose of Christ’s Birth
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Over 2,000 years ago, an angel appeared to shepherds near Bethlehem and said: “Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 1:10). Why was the birth of Jesus such good news? Why was it the cause for great joy? Because only Jesus could meet the deepest need of humanity — forgiveness of sin. He was the only one who could offer rest for our souls, peace with God and eternal life.
In order to understand the need for forgiveness, we must first recognize the critical issue of sin in our lives. To have a relationship with God and to ultimately spend eternity with him, we need to follow his laws perfectly, in our hearts and in our actions. Sadly, no human being, other than Jesus, has been successful in living a sinless life. The Bible teaches, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
The consequence of sin is death, eternal separation from our Creator. When the first human beings, Adam and Eve, sinned against God by eating the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, they brought death into the world. Since man was the source of death, man would also have to be the solution in overcoming it. Herein lies the dilemma; only God himself could live a sinless life and conquer death, but God was not a man. The death of a perfect human was required to reverse the consequence of human sin. For this reason, and beyond all comprehension, God determined from the beginning of time to become a man. Ultimately, Jesus was born to die so that we might live.
But we must come to him. Jesus said: “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29). This is what it means to be a Christian: to recognize our sin and then come to Jesus, to seek forgiveness through him and then follow him as the shepherd of our soul. When writing to Christians in the Early Church about their lives before coming to Jesus, Peter said, “For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Peter 2:25). How fitting that the announcement of Jesus’ birth was made to shepherds and was followed by a host of angels who proclaimed, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14). The Good Shepherd was born to bring peace, true spiritual peace with God, to those who would follow him.
When Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again,” he was speaking of a spiritual birth. To be “born again” means to be born spiritually and to live eternally as a citizen of God’s kingdom. Have you been born spiritually? If not, what better time to celebrate your spiritual birth than during the season in which we celebrate the birth of the one who makes it possible – Jesus. You can ask God, even now, through prayer, for a new birth. Prayer is talking to God, out loud or in your heart. He made you, and he knows you intimately; he can certainly hear you. Here is a sample prayer to follow or put in your own words:
“Dear Lord, I recognize that I have sinned. I come to you seeking forgiveness. I desire peace with you and rest for my soul. I surrender my life to you. I want to follow Jesus as the Shepherd and Overseer of my soul. I accept the gift of eternal life. Please help me to demonstrate my gratitude by living in a way that honors you. In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.”
Though some aspects of our relationship with God are meant to be private, a decision to be “born again” and to follow Jesus is not. Other Christians can greatly encourage us to grow in our faith, and they can help us to better understand his Word, the Bible. If you need help finding other Christians in your area, please contact us.
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