Crown of thorns for the King of Kings
The fulfillment of prophecy
It's almost Easter, but do you remember Christmas? We heard the joyous story that starts on the first page of the New Testament. Matthew 1:21: "Mary will give birth to a son, and … give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." Because he will save his people from their sins..
Sin is a terrible thing. We tend to think of sin as breaking rules about lying, stealing, killing, or committing adultery. Some of us are burdened by sins we have committed. Others laugh off sin as an old-fashioned notion that takes the fun out of life. But look at what sin can do: sin destroys marriages, cripples babies, triggers wars, and causes horrible pain. It is the moral decay that ultimately causes everything from cancer to corruption. It is the ultimate cause behind rape, incest, torture, bankruptcy, pollution, greed, and every other horrible experience in our world. While we have our good days and experiences, we also face heartache and pain. Read the newspaper reports. Watch a child suffer a painful death. Study the ravages of mental illness. It's all because we live in a sinful world.
The birth of Jesus was to save us all from sin. What a deal that would be. That would be the best gift God could give. But eliminating sin wouldn't be easy. Sin is powerful and hard to kill. It would require a supernatural war with high cost. It would take infinite suffering to fight and win against sin.
How this battle would work was predicted by Isaiah eight centuries before the first Christmas. It was not the pretty picture of a newborn in a manager. It was a vivid description of a Savior suffering for sin. The suffering would be so severe that it would appear subhuman: There were many who were appalled at him—his ...
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Leith Anderson is pastor of Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, and president of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE).