The manger to the cross

Posted on December 21, 2017 · Posted in Culture, Gospel, Worldview

God’s first priority is not to make you and me happy. What impresses us is not what impresses God. Perhaps nothing demonstrates this more clearly than the incarnate life of his Son, Jesus. Christ’s birth was that of a peasant and his death was that of a criminal. He was born in the company of animals in a stable. He died in the company of thieves on a cross stained with his blood. The political leaders of his country tried to murder him as a baby. But it was the supposed bible-believing religious leaders who finally succeeded where Herod had failed. His friends fled from him at his trial. His family fled to Egypt when he was a toddler.

This is not exactly the narrative the press would commend. If someone were to come to your church to speak and his bio read like Christ’s, you would be skeptical, at best. But despite a humble birth and a disgraceful death, Jesus completed his Father’s mission. In life he kept his heart pure and sinless. In death he became the holy sacrifice for the people who were his enemies. The angels burst into praise at his birth. The earth shook at the inequity of his death.

The world at the time of Christ, just like today, was not impressed by his birth or death. Our modern culture is consumed with giving and more importantly, receiving gifts! The focus is on material blessings with have little regard for the person of Jesus. Our culture cares even less for his commands. Jesus did not leave a record of sound bites and campaign slogans that could be formed into meaningless cliches and He didn’t hang out with the rich and famous. He led a life of purity, holiness, and worship. He obeyed when we would not. He loved what we hate. He hated what we love. From the manger to the cross he lived not for our praise, but for the praise of his Father. From the manger to the cross he lived a life that was truly life, so that by his life we have life.

Tell your children his story – from the manger to the cross.

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Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.