His coming as Savior was in exact fulfillment of God’s Word fulfilling all that God had promised and spoken of hope and life to the world since the day of Adam. He was born in Bethlehem, the “City of David.” Bethlehem means “House of Bread”; Bethlehem-Ephratah means “Fruitful House of Bread” (Micah 5:2). He is the Bread of Life, God’s provision for hungry and needy souls. His name was called Jesus, which means “Savior” (Matt. 1:21; Lk. 1:31, 2:21) of all those dead in trespasses and sins. He came from the bosom of the Father to reveal and disclose to a sin-wrecked world matchless love and abounding grace. Christ means “Anointed,” the anointed Savior. His full name is “Lord Jesus Christ” (Lk. 2:11). Lord—the owner of you and me; Jesus—the Savior for you and me; Christ—the Anointed in you and me. The sign consisted not in His being a babe, or in “swaddling clothes” (already wrapped for His burial), but that He was lying in a manger. Probably there were other babes in Bethlehem, but there was only ONE in such a place. There was no room for Him in the inn (Lk. 2:7). He was thus early cast out and rejected (Isa. 53:3). The world gave Him a stable for a palace, a manger for a cradle, and a cross for a throne, and in the face of this astounding fact, the world still endeavors to celebrate His birthday. What an incongruity! What a travesty!
“Good Tidings of Great Joy”
The angels sang for joy when our Lord Jesus was born, and they sing for joy when a soul is new born (Lk. 15:7-10). The message of the angelic host announced the purpose of the Saviour’s coming, the highest glory of God, peace between God and man by the way of His Cross and shed blood, and peace between man and man. The inn was crowded that memorable night with guests from all parts of the earth, but God passed them all by and permitted simple shepherds to hear the “good tidings of great joy” and to see the infant Savior. This little babe was to be the Good Shepherd, and how gracious God was that these shepherds should be the first to hear of His coming and see that beautiful child. How appropriate it was that God also gave these shepherds nearly thirty years fore-warning, as some have pointed out, to get out of the sheep raising business, for these shepherds were raising little lambs for the altar sacrifices, and now God tells them that THE LAMB OF GOD has come and soon there would be no further need for lamb sacrifices (Jn. 1:29-36; Gen. 22:8).
In Grace or in Judgment?
His coming means joy to some and terror for others. The wise men “rejoiced” (Matt. 2:10), while Herod and all in Jerusalem were “troubled” (Matt. 2:3). Meet Him now in grace and in love and be saved, or in judgment later, and be lost. He came into this world and went out of it in exact accord with God’s Word, and these same Scriptures which cannot be broken (Jn. 10:35) also tell us of His coming again. The period of time between His death on His cross for us, and His coming again for us is the Day of Salvation, now fast drawing to a close (2 Cor. 6:2). His coming is meaningless unless it means that He came personally for you, and for me. His birthday will be celebrated throughout the civilized world as a day of feasting, as a holiday, and by the masses in riotous disorder and revelry. The world will make much of His birthday, and yet remember it murdered Him and crucified Him between two thieves just outside the city of Jerusalem in order to make the insult greater. They would not profane and pollute their sacred city of Jerusalem with an act like this, so they took Him just outside the city!
His Identification With Sinners
God’s Word makes much of His death day. He did not come into this world to live, but He came here to die. Only two Gospels—Matthew and Luke—speak of His birthday, while all four of the Gospels tell of His death day. The emphasis lies not on His life, precious and beautiful as it was all lived for the glory of God, but on His death day, for in and by and through His death was it possible for God to identify Himself with sinners. Think of it—the only TRUE MAN who ever graced this sin-cursed and hell-bound world was deliberately murdered, and the conspirators in this diabolical crime were led by the ecclesiastical, civil, and political groups united for the first time in the history of the world. No right-minded person can persuade himself to believe for a moment that God will wink at this crime of the ages.
Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, He arose again for our justification (1 Cor. 15:3-4), and He is coming back again for VINDICATION. When He died on His cross, the veil in the temple was rent from top to bottom (Matt 27:51), signifying that the way was now wide open for any sinner to come into the presence of God with none other sacrifice for priesthood than Christ’s. Beneath the cross of Calvary is the only place in all this world where we can meet and call each other brother. What a Message! What a Salvation! What a Savior! He has come! He is Coming!
— Written in 1948 by Arthur W. Rehfeldt. At the time of writing, Mr. Rehfeldt was a Christian businessman in the St. Louis, Missouri, area.