Christmas Comes with a Choice
By Rick Warren
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" John 1:29 (ESV)
Redemption is when somebody pays for your sins so that you can be forgiven and walk away justified. They do your time. They pay your penalty. All the things you've done wrong are paid for by somebody else.
That's what Jesus Christ did for you. Jesus didn’t just come to Earth at Christmas. He also lived a perfect life so that his sacrifice was enough to satisfy God’s judgment. All of your sins were paid for on the cross.
One day, Jesus came from Galilee to be baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. When John saw him coming, he announced, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29 ESV).
Every Jewish person knows the symbolism of this verse. Once a year in the Jewish faith, a perfect, spotless lamb was sacrificed at Passover to represent the redemption of the world.
After Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sin, there was no longer a need for any symbolic sacrificing of animals. But before Jesus’ death and resurrection, the lamb that was sacrificed for the sin of other people had to be spotless. Only a perfect life was acceptable enough to die for all the people’s imperfections. And that is why Jesus—the Lamb of God, who lived a perfect life—could satisfy the justice of God toward sin through his death.
When the religious leaders who wanted to crucify Jesus brought him to Pilate, the Roman governor interviewed Jesus and acknowledged that he was totally innocent: “Pilate then called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, and said to them, ‘You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people. And after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him’” (Luke 23:13-14 ESV).
Pilate found no fault in Jesus. He didn’t see any sin or crime that Jesus should be punished for.
If you have not acknowledged that Jesus Christ has a right to be Lord over your life, what do you find wrong with him? On what basis do you reject what he did for you? On what grounds do you reject him as your Savior?
Pilate gave the people an opportunity to decide what they were going to do with Jesus. After the Roman soldiers tortured Jesus, he “came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, ‘Behold the man!’” (John 19:5 ESV).
Just as the people in Jesus’ day were invited to “behold the man,” God invites you too to behold Jesus, the one who has taken away every sin you’ve ever committed or will commit.
Christmas comes with the best news ever—and a choice: What are you going to do with Jesus?
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This devotional © 2018 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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