Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas & the Cross (Part 1)

by Pastor Joe

The Word for Today: Psalm 40:1-10

Mark this: Psalm 40:7 -- Then I said, "Here I am, I have come-- it is written about me in the scroll."

Thirty three years is not much, time wise. After all, 1978 was not so long ago. That's when the ill fated Susan B. Anthony Dollar Coins went into circulation. (These glorified quarters lasted a few sorry years.) It might have been a while since you last saw one, but it wouldn't take long at all to procure one (but that supposes you want one in the first place!)

For the next three days, we are attempting to link two historical events that are roughly 33 years apart. Christmas & the Cross. Unfortunately, for most people, including many Christians, these two events seem much further apart than that. In our modern world, Christmas has been divorced from the Cross. The Nativity has been rent asunder from Good Friday. In the eyes of most people, those events might have well have been 3,333 years apart.

Our modern culture can't get enough of its schmaltzy, watered down version of Christmas. It can't get far enough away from the cruel execution of Jesus on the Cross. That's why, if you want to make a movie about the cross (say The Passion of the Christ [2006]) you are met with hostility and hatred and false accusations from the beginning. But if you want to make a movie about Christmas, (say the Nativity Story [2006]) there are no such objections.

But we at Stand in the Rain ain't going out like that! In fact, its our contention that the Bible links those two days irrevocably. So just in time for all your Christmas festivities, here's a healthy dose of the cross:


King David wrote Psalm 40, so it's no surprise that his distant offspring would be mentioned here. Jesus has this fascinating habit of popping up in least expected places in the First of our two Testaments. How--dare we say--messianic of Him.

In this Psalm, David certainly has noble motives and communicates wonderful truths. What a testimony of deliverance and restoration, of worship and recounting of God's faithfulness. David even seems to understand the proper place of ceremonial sacrifices and offerings (something that nearly all the world gets wrong.) But when we come to verse 7, we see where David ends and where Christ enters in. You see, David could not ultimately and perfectly carry out God's will. Nor could any of us. As hard as we try, as much as we might desire, our best is never good enough.

But in Christmas we have hope, because One is born who actually could.
From His first breath in that musty stable, to that time when He was twelve and supposedly lost in His Father's house--"I must be about My Father’s business(1)"--to His very first sermon in which He declared boldly, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing (2),” and ultimately, to the cross, He alone has come and done the whole will of God.

The author of Hebrews understood this, and this is why he connected Christ to Psalm 40.
Therefore, when Christ came into the world, He said:
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but a body you prepared for me;
with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased.
Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—
I have come to do your will, O God.’”(3)

What is the result of one who actually could keep God's covenant flawlessly? Its exactly this: "we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all (4)."

"And that, Charlie Brown, is what Christmas is all about (5)."  Thank God that it's all written in the scroll.

(1) Luke 2:49 (NJKV)
(2) Luke 4
(3) Hebrews 10:5-7
(4) Hebrews 10:14
(5) 1 Linus 22:27

1 comment:

  1. Good grief...I'm still looking for 1 Linus 22:27... (!!!)