Many years ago, a man was arrested for robbery. When he was brought to trial, the evidence was presented: the witnesses who saw him do it, the weapon he had used, the victims whom he had shot but who had survived, and the coroner's report on those who had died. There was no doubt in any mind, but that the man was guilty; in fact he even admitted so himself. The judge pronounced the sentence upon him, which was that his life must be forfeited in payment for those whose lives he had taken. The case was settled. But then, a man at the back of the courtroom stood to his feet and addressed the judge, “Your Honor,” he said, "we all know this man is guilty of this crime and is deserving of death. The evidence is overwhelming. Yet, I do not wish for him to die, for he is a friend of mine. I will take his place. I am willing to be executed, if only he is allowed to go free." Now, what do you think? Will the guilty man accept the offer of the man in the back? Will the judge?
Here is the true meaning of Christmas. You and I will one-day stand in the court, which is presided over by God (Revelation 20:11-15). The evidence will be presented as to how we each have disobeyed His law (Ten Commandment - Exodus 20). The verdict will be pronounced against us, which is GUILTY (Romans 3:23). Then Jesus will stand up and say, “I have already taken this man's place. I died for his sin.” However, in order for His offer to be any good to us, we must accept it in this life (Hebrews 9:27).
Now back to our first story — what if the condemned man said, “I’m really not so bad a fellow. After all, I do not rob banks and shoot people every day. Really, I’m usually pretty nice.” Or what if he refused to believe that someone else would take the punishment for him, so that he might go free? what if he said, “I know others who have done worse than I did. And they never got caught. I’m not as bad as they are." There would be little chance of his being pardoned.
We, too, must admit our sin before God, and accept the gift of Jesus’ death in our place. That is the whole purpose for which Jesus was born. He was born to die. That is the true meaning of Christmas.
Exodus 20:1-17 “Then God spoke all these words, saying, I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, our of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the forth generations of those who hate Me, but showing loving-kindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave Him unpunished who takes His name in vain. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, But the seventh day is a Sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the Lord make the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and make it holy. Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you. Your shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,”
Hebrews 9:27 “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,”
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