We’re well into that special time of the year when our focus turns to the celebration of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:1-20). The world has never been the same since that sacred night in Bethlehem so many years ago.
Once you get past Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, however, and press on into the record of His ministry years, the gospel accounts make it clear that Jesus knew He was born to die. He spoke of His death early and often (Mark 8:31; John 2:19-21).
Sometimes I find myself asking, Why? Why did Jesus have to die, and at the young age of 33? Couldn’t He have accomplished so much more if He had lived a few more decades and died of natural causes?
Imagine all of the diseases and physical impairments Jesus could have healed! Picture the mind-boggling miracles He could have performed. Think of the additional teachings He could have provided and the problems in the world He could have righted if He hadn’t been struck down in the “prime” of His life.
But it wasn’t to be. God had something more in mind. Jesus died when He did so that we wouldn’t have to. He needed to die so that He could rise from the dead and defeat death. He willingly gave His life so that we could be friends with God (Romans 5:8-11).
As we celebrate and remember the miracle of Jesus’ birth, let’s also remember why He was born to die. We desperately needed Jesus to give His life so that we could live (Romans 6:4). The apostle Paul summed it up this way: “Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone” (Romans 5:18). —Jeff Olson
In the face of our own mortality, the apostle Paul wrote that death will be “swallowed up in victory” through the resurrection of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:54-57).
How has Jesus’ death and resurrection changed your life? Why is it vital that we often reflect on His death?
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