History’s Greatest Event
C hristmas: at or about 04 BC at the time when Herod the Great was ruler of Judea, Jesus Christ, an indisputable character of history, was born in Bethlehem, Judea. Herod, being aware of Biblical prophecy regarding the birth of a coming ruler, was so threatened by Christ’s birth that he ordered the massacre of all children born in and around Judea at that time.
“The birth of Jesus [history’s unquestionable greatest event] in a manger is a dramatic example of the equality of all people before God. Suppose Jesus had been born in a palace; the Wise Men might have gotten in, but the humble shepherds would have been turned away at the gates by armed guards. Yet at the manger, shepherds and kings could approach on equal footing. God’s gift is for all people. His love sent down not a delegation, a commission, an unapproachable monarch, but a baby!”1
At the time of Christ’s birth the people of His day were looking for a king who would overcome the despised reign of the then powerful Roman Empire under whose direction Herod was reigning. They certainly weren’t looking for a ruler who entered their realm as a baby. Hence they totally missed the greatest event in all of history when Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, came as a baby born in a manger.
Many in today’s world are not that much different. Tragically, Christmas has become little more than a time of parties and the giving of gifts—not to a needy world but to those of us who, in our materialist world, have much more than we ever need.
They totally missed the greatest
event in all of history.
The big question we all need to confront regarding Christmas is why did Jesus Christ, laying aside his garment of divinity step out of the ivory palaces of Heaven and come to earth as a baby? It was because of God’s infinite love for us so Jesus could identify with us and, thereby, pay the penalty for all our sins so we could be freely forgiven and once again be restored in relationship to God.
God’s Word, the Holy Bible, reminds us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory [standard] of God,”2 and that “There is no one righteous, not even one.”3 As sinners we could no longer survive in God’s holy presence than a moth could survive in a flame. As God’s Word also says, “The wages [consequences] of sin is death [spiritual death which is eternal separation from God in the place the Bible calls hell] but the gift of God is eternal life,”4 and that, “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.”5
Not only does God have the gift of forgiveness and everlasting life for all who have confessed their sinfulness to Him and have received His forgiveness, but He has promised that Jesus will come again to earth to take all His true followers to be with Him to live with Him in Heaven for all eternity!
History’s next greatest event will thus be the return of Jesus Christ, and we can be just as certain of this as was His first coming. The critical issue is, “If Jesus came today, would you be caught up in the air to meet Him, or would you be left behind, having to pay the penalty yourself for all of your sins, meeting God at the great white judgment throne of God? As God’s Word says: “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.”6
But how can we be sure Jesus will come again? First of all, Christ’s first coming is an indisputable fact of history. This event was repeatedly promised and prophesied in the Old Testament over a period of several hundred years. For instance, 700 years before Christ was born in Bethlehem, Micah wrote, "But you, Bethlehem ... though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come one who will be ruler over Israel.”7
A thousand years before Christ's death David, the psalmist, predicted how Jesus would die. “They pierced My hands and My feet,” he wrote.8 This happened at Christ's crucifixion. This is even more remarkable when considering that in David's time, death by crucifixion was unknown.
History’s Next Greatest Event
5. All articles on the ACTS International website are by Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise noted.
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