CHRISTMAS IS FOR FREEDOM - John Piper
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. —Hebrews 2:14–15
Jesus became man because what was needed was the death of a man who was more than man. The incarnation was God’s locking himself into death row. Christ did not risk death. He embraced it. That is precisely why he came: not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). No wonder Satan tried to turn Jesus from the cross! The cross was Satan’s destruction. How did Jesus destroy him? The “power of death” is the ability to make death fearful. The “power of death” is the power that holds men in bondage through fear of death. It is the power to keep men in sin, so that death comes as a horrid thing. But Jesus stripped Satan of this power. He disarmed him. He molded a breastplate of righteousness for us that makes us immune to the devil’s condemnation. By his death, Jesus wiped away all our sins. And a person without sin puts Satan out of business. His treason is aborted. His cosmic treachery is foiled. “His rage we can endure, for, lo, his doom is sure.” The cross has run him through. And he will gasp his last before long. Christmas is for freedom. Freedom from the fear of death. Jesus took our nature in Bethlehem, to die our death in Jerusalem, that we might be fearless in our city. Yes, fearless. Because if the biggest threat to my joy is gone, then why should I fret over the little ones? How can you say, “Well, I’m not afraid to die but I’m afraid to lose my job”? No. No. Think! If death (I said, death—no pulse, cold, gone!)—if death is no longer a fear, we’re free, really free. Free to take any risk under the sun for Christ and for love. No more bondage to anxiety. If the Son has set you free, you shall be free, indeed!
Today’s Advent thought, Christmas is for Freedom, reminded me about what this series is all about. We celebrate Christmas and the birth of Christ but we often forget that it is just the beginning of the story. We forget about it until Easter when we remember that Jesus died and was resurrected so that we could have a spotless appearance before God.
It just seems that we can only think about one part of the gospel at a time; Christmas is about baby Jesus and presents and eggnog while Easter is about the resurrection, eggs, and a big Sunday dinner. Well, at least that what it often gets to be about.
Today we are reminded to remember that the birth of Christ should also make us think of where it led to – the cross and our salvation. The birth led us to the freedom from the power of death. It is at the cross that Satan was defeated, the power of death eliminated, and our sins erased.