Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A Victorious Birth

Christmas teaches us that God always overcomes evil. It's usually the resurrection of Jesus that gets associated with "victory" but Jesus’ entry into our world was also a victorious event. Consider just a few of the events surrounding the first Christmas.

Caesar Augustus was one of Rome’s most successful leaders. He ruled from 27 B.C. to 14 A.D. Somewhere around year 0 (people who study these things quibble over the exact year), he issued a taxation decree to insure the power and perpetuity of the Roman empire. Little did he know that by so doing, he guaranteed the end of the Roman empire and all other earthly kingdoms. While trying to financially boost the strength of his domestic and foreign policies, he was being used by God to fulfill ancient prophecy. Micah said around 700 B.C. that Israel’s everlasting ruler would come from Bethlehem. Joseph and Mary, however, lived in the city of Nazareth. If Jesus was born there, he could not have been the Messiah. But Augustus’ taxation decree got Joseph and Mary to the city of Bethlehem.

King Herod was Augustus’ appointee for the region of Jerusalem. When he heard the news of a prophesied king being born, he issued a decree to kill all newborn males up to two years of age. That evil decree got Joseph and Mary moving again, this time down to Egypt, out of Herod’s jurisdiction where they stayed until his death. Around 725 B.C. God spoke to the prophet Hosea, telling him that He would call His Son out of Egypt. Had Joseph and Mary sought refuge in any other region, Jesus could not have been God’s Son. But through the decrees of two selfish and oppressive rulers, God brought forth an everlasting ruler who will soon establish His eternal kingdom.

So remember, in the evils that you face, God is working to bring a beautiful picture of love, hope and victory. Don’t get so preoccupied by all the stuff that is going wrong that you lose sight of our God who works behind the scenes of human history, but whose will always triumphs.

The worst evil humanity has ever faced is our own sin. It alienates us from our God. Our character does not allow us to change and there is nothing we can do to hide our sin. God’s character does not allow Him to forget about our sin. He must judge it in His holy wrath. This is a terrible predicament, but Christmas fixes the problem. Jesus is our bridge. His death on the cross allows us to change our nature and allows God to declare us righteous. Praise Jesus! He is our peace.

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