Today, in a Facebook post, my wife and I learned that a friend named Mark Price died in a car crash yesterday morning at 9:30. He was 48. Our hearts are deeply saddened. Such an event causes us to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas — Jesus came to bring eternal life for all who choose to believe in Him. Earlier this year, our friend wrote on Facebook about his choice to believe in, and follow, Jesus. Below, he wrote:
“30 years ago, today I made a choice to stop living for myself and to live a life dedicated to Jesus Christ. Like all of us I have made my share of mistakes along the way. I have suffered from the choices I have made and ones that have been made for me. I lost, loved and been loved. I have walked through the valleys and been on the mountain tops. I have helped and been helped. In other words, I have lived life. What sets these 30 years apart for me is that through it all I have had a personal relationship with Jesus. I know to some that seems like a strange thing to think of. I mean how could I be so bold as to say that I know God. It’s a mystery that I myself do not fully understand but I can say with 100 percent honesty and 100 percent faith that it is true. I know the person of Jesus and am known by Him.
“Thank You Jesus for the life You have given me. Thank You for Your faithfulness, love and grace, without all of which I would be a shell of the man I am today. I am unashamed to say that I love you. I am confident, beyond confident , that it’s my faith in you that spiritually and physically saved my life. I reaffirm my dedication to serving you and your people.
“If you have any questions about how to find the sort of peace and love I am talking about just ask. The answer is more simple than you know.”
It’s a stretch, but we could say he wrote the gospel of Mark Price. We are always saddened by the loss of someone we know, but the magnificent truth of Christmas gives hope to those who choose to love God, and follow Christ.
We rightly celebrate the birth of Jesus. The months preceding His birth were full of wondrous miracles and a number of startling announcements from the angel Gabriel. In Jesus of Nazareth, God was Incarnate. God the Son took upon Himself a human nature; human flesh as the New Testament writers so bluntly put it. Consequently, Jesus has two natures: divine and human. He is 100% both. Even today He is seated at the right hand of God the Father in heaven, with a resurrected and glorified physical body. Taking on a human nature had eternal consequences for Him. He will always be one of us, and He will always be one of the Trinity.
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5–11, NASB)
His mission was to take upon His human nature, the punishment owed for the guilt of our sin. A punishment, or payment, that is required by God’s righteousness. Jesus is perfect; though tempted as we are, He did not sin. So, no payment for sin was required of Him. Therefore, what He did upon the cross, He did for us. He did for us, what we cannot do for ourselves. In Christ, we can be forgiven of our sin and we can have peace with God, and eternal life.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
The little baby in the Manger, was, and is, our only hope of being in a right relationship with God. He is the only hope of removing the guilt of our sin to make such a relationship possible. He was born so that we may live.
This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:10, NIV)
I hope that you, like Mark, can write about your own decision to believe in, and follow, Jesus.
Like, follow, share.
Rob Oberto, D.Min., is the award-winning author of “Intimacy With God” available from Amazon. ©2017 Rob Oberto, All Rights Reserved.