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The Christmas Journey Points to a Plan by Pastor Paul Becker

Our Christmas Journey has four stops, three of which we have passed through: 

  1. The Problem of Sin: Genesis 3:1-7; 6:5-8

  2. The Promise of a Redeemer: Isaiah 59:1-2;15-16, 20

  3. The Proclamation of the Redeemer’s birth: Luke 2:8-15

The fourth and final stop of our Christmas Journey is The Plan, prophesied in Isaiah 53:1-6, 10-12. This scripture points to the reason why Jesus was born. Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would take our place to receive our punishment for sins. And what is the punishment for our sins? Death. This prophecy says that Jesus would be crushed and that God would take pleasure in crushing him severely. This is a harsh saying and should raise questions!

Why would God take pleasure in crushing Jesus to death on the cross of Calvary? God’s pleasure did not come from inflicting pain on Jesus but from the result of Jesus being crushed as a sacrifice for our sins. 

What is the result? Many sinners will be saved from God’s judgment and wrath.  

Who is saved? All who profess faith in Jesus as their Savior from sin. God took pleasure in sinners being saved by the wrath Jesus absorbed on their behalf. 

How does Jesus feel about being crushed by God for our sins? The answer to this question is in Hebrews 12:2: For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross… Let it be said that the joy of Jesus and the pleasure of God are united by love for sinners who need to be saved. Speaking of love, John 3:16 comes to mind: 

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

While it is good news to be saved from sin, life still comes at us with suffering, sorrow, and grief. We can hear that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son” and still experience doubt in God’s love. You may be facing a health crisis, an unwanted change in employment, financial difficulties, a strained or broken relationship, or confusion about who you are or your life’s purpose. The Apostle Paul combats these doubts in Romans 8:32 when he says:

He did not even spare his own Son but gave him up for us all. How will he not also with him grant us everything? 

Here’s the logic: If God subjected Christ to the extreme suffering described in Isaiah 53:10 for our eternal salvation, it would make no sense for God to turn his back on us during our present time of need. Your faith in Jesus’ love for your salvation is the same faith you place in God for his daily correction, protection, and provision for your care.

The Christmas Story is the middle of God’s love story to save us from sin, clean us up, and restore us to fellowship. In scripture, the Plan has always been that Jesus would face his Father’s rejection so that you would never see the back of God against you. God loves you. He absolutely does!

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