1) Celebration of birthdays: Historically, in the Chinese culture, celebrating birthday is reserved for the royalty, the elderly and the rich and famous. Until we came to America, we see birthday celebration is for everyone, young and old, rich and poor, the elite and the common. Christian churches celebrate the birth of Jesus in grand scale across the world. We have Christmas music, festivity, drama, decoration, giving of gifts and of course, special kinds of food for the occasion. Most people, Christians and non-Christians alike, love the Christmas season, the festive atmosphere and the holidays.
2) More than just a birthday: The celebration of the birth of Jesus into this world is much more than any birthday. From the nature of life to the fulfillment of biblical prophesy, from the purpose of God to the effect of his life and death, we know Christmas is much more than the celebration of his birth. The Bible has so much to say about the meaning of Jesus¡¯ birth. From the words of the angel who announced the good news to his own words in his earthly ministry, Jesus came to this world for a very special reason: All who believe in him shall not perish but shall have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
LET¡¯S SEE WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS: (John 1:29)
1) The world is searching: ¡°This was John¡¯s testimony: The Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess freely: I am not the Christ.¡± (John 1:19-20) Since the dawn of human history, men have been searching for a Savior, the Christ, to solve all the problems in this world and the sins in their hearts. That is the reason we have seen the invention of religion in all parts of the world among all tribes and cultures. The search will continue until a Savior is found.
2) The personal encounter: ¡°The next day, John saw Jesus was coming toward him.¡± (1:29a)Some might like to see John went out to search for Jesus because he as a man who needs a Savior. But instead Jesus came to meet him. This is the difference from all other religions: God, in Jesus, came to this world to seek and save sinners. (Matt 11:18)
3) Calling for attention: ¡°Behold.¡± (1:29b)This is Greek, Ide from eidon, imperative interjection, calling people to pay attention for something important. As soon as John saw Jesus, he called his disciples to pay attention to his personal encounter. This is what all Christians should do: do not hide your personal relationship with Christ but calling others to know him too.
4) The purpose of his birth: ¡°The Lamb of God.¡± (1:29c)This is from the Old Testament law: a lamb offered as a sacrifice for the sin of man. It began with the Exodus story in which a lamb was slain and its blood was splashed on the door-frame to save the lives of those inside the house. Later, a lamb was offered as the price of sin for the man whose sin was carried by the animal. The main idea is: Jesus was born to die for the sins of the world. The whole idea of this sacrificial death of a lamb is from the heart of God. Instead of man tries to create something to deal with his sin that has never achieved anything for anyone, God sent his Son to do what man cannot do by or for himself. So, this is the Lamb of God, not of man.
5) The effect of his birth: ¡°Who takes away the sin of the world.¡± (1:29d) Takes, or carries, ho airon, in Greek, to bear the weight, the burden of something. Sin has its weight on the sinners both emotionally and spiritually. Sin is always a burden, be it sin in the heart or in action. Sin also has a price, not to correct what is done, but what is in the heart and mind of the sinner. Many suffer emotional breakdown because of the weight or the guilt of sin in them. But here, Jesus bears it all, the sinful nature, the act and the guilt after the act. The effect of carrying the weight of sin is not just for the Jews or Christians, but for all the people of the world, the cosmos. Evidently, when God sent Jesus to this world, he has more in his mind than just for the Jews and the Christians. He has all the sinful people of the world in his mind. This universal scope of salvation for all men is the driving force of the New Testament mission movement.
WHAT SHOULD WE DO THEN?
1) No more searching: ¡°If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.¡± (Romans 10:9)This is for those who haven¡¯t found Jesus or accepted him as their Lord and Savior. If you have been seeking and searching for the true God to believe, here is Jesus and you have found him. Stop searching, just believe in him in your heart, and confess it with your mouth, you will be save.
2) Jesus has found you: ¡°As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon and his brother Andrew, they were casting a net into the lake for they were fishermen. Come, follow me, Jesus said, I will fishers of men.¡± (Matt 4:18-19)This was a life changing moment for Peter and Andrew when Jesus found them and called them to follow him. Today, Jesus has found you and he is calling you to follow him, so, you may become fishers of men, saving souls of your family and friends for the kingdom of God.
3) Bring them to see Jesus: ¡°Andrew was one of the two who heard what John had said and followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him: We have found the Messiah, and he brought him to see Jesus.¡± (John 1:40-42)Do you have a brother or a sister, a friend, a colleague, a neighbor who needs to see Jesus? Can you do what Andrew did in doing two simple things: Tell him/her whom have you found and bring him/her to see Jesus? This may be the biggest thing you can do for them¡ªyou are doing something to save their souls for eternal life.
4) No more struggle with sin: ¡°What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God¡ªthrough Jesus Christ our Lord.¡± (Romans 7:24-25) If you are struggling with sin, the power of sin and the guilt comes with it, here is the solution: come to Jesus. He is the Lamb of God sent to rescue you from all the grip of sin your body of death puts you in. The power of God through Jesus Christ is much more than your own struggle. Ask God to put all you sin on his Lamb and get rid of them once and for all.
5) Enjoy the peace of Christmas: ¡°For high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.¡± (Psalm 103:11-12) As the Lamb of God carries the sin from the offender and much more, our God will remove our sins from us if we have confessed them to him. God has made peace with sinful men through his Son, we have the promise of God to make peace with him. As Paul said in Hebrews 4:16: ¡°Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.¡±
1) This birthday is special: Although we celebrate the birthday of Jesus at Christmas time, but never forget this is not just another birthday of some VIP. This is about Jesus and his coming to this world to save sinners like you and me. While the world tries so hard to make it as another holiday or an American culture, we who are called by His name know this is the day God has sent His Son to save the souls of his people. Do something different to make this birthday special for someone who needs the love of God in his life.
2) Do you have Jesus in you? ¡°Don¡¯t leave home without it¡± is a popular commercial for a credit card. But I am sure you will be better off without a credit with you. But I want to urge you: Don¡¯t leave the church without Jesus today. Bring Him with you by asking him to enter your heart to be your Lord and Savior. You will never be the same in your life.