The following is the second in a four part series on preparing your heart for the Christmas Season. It has been adapted from a sermon called “Preparing Your Heart for the Christmas Season” delivered at Hope Community Church by Steve Treichler on November 30, 2003.
What do you think of when you think of someone who is mighty? I know I (Nolan) think of people who are physically strong or wield a lot of political power or social influence. Why do I think those things? Well, it’s likely because the culture I live in thinks of those things when it thinks of mightiness. We find those characteristics desirable and so esteem as mighty those who are in-shape, politically powerful, or influential. When I look at Jesus, who was Mighty God in the flesh (Jn. 1:1-3), I don’t see someone who wielded a lot of political power or was physically strong. Even his disciples consistently struggled to understand how Jesus, the Messiah, could be mighty enough to overthrow their Roman overlords. If Jesus met neither the disciples’ nor our own expectations for what might is, then what does it mean for Jesus to be Mighty God like Isaiah 9:6 says? Put a different way, how does God demonstrate his might as the God-man, Jesus Christ? Why is it essential that Jesus is Mighty God? Let’s look at the book of Hebrews to answer these questions:
23 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. 26 Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27 Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.
In John 19:30, Jesus declared “it is finished.” Three days later, he rose from the grave, victorious over sin and death. As Hebrews 7:25 puts it, he is able to “save completely those who come to God through him…”. He offered himself up as the atoning sacrifice (payment) for our sins in order to reconcile us to God. This was something no ordinary human could do; Jesus needed to be God. Why? Sin separates us from God. In Roman it says we’ve all fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23). Since God is infinite, it’s not like we fell short of the mark by just a few good deeds, it’s more like trying to hit a target on the moon by throwing a baseball from earth…except the moon is an infinite distance away instead of just 238,855 miles…In other words, it’s impossible. Therefore even what we might consider a small sin puts an infinite distance between us and God. It is an infinite crime, and an Infinite crime against an infinite God demands an infinite punishment. So, Jesus, the infinite God, offered himself as the infinite sacrifice for the infinite punishment we deserved. If Jesus is not God, it is impossible for your and my sin to be paid for. Apart from Jesus’ sacrifice, you and I would have nothing to look forward to except punishment when we die. Think about it from God’s perspective:
- I am holy
- People commit sin
- I could, and do, demand 100% justice because to deny that would mean to deny Myself and I am unable to do that.
- No amount of human sacrifice, repentance, gifts, or penance can possibly pay the price I need to be satisfied. My justice demands 100% repayment for the wrongs done.
- However, my mercy is also infinite. I long to show it to the entire world so that they may see how great, holy, and wonderful I am. I long to have my people return to me as a mother longs for her child to return home after a spell of rebellion (Isa. 66:13).
- How can this all work out?
- I’ll come and pay the penalty myself—the only thing that is costly enough to pay for sin is…Me! Therefore, I will show both my justice and my mercy perfectly (Rom. 3:26)
Jesus needed to be God, because only the infinite, Mighty God could pay an infinite price for a people to be redeemed, to be adopted into God’s own family. Jesus came to earth, lived among us and voluntarily laid down His life to reconcile us to Himself! Jesus was Mighty God, who mightily overcame the greatest obstacle, sin and death. ”This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” (Eph. 1:5 NLT) How has Jesus’ sacrifice caused you to marvel at Mighty God, who is both just and merciful towards you? How is this good news for you today?