Beyond the Manger- A Cross
December 23 2009 by D.E. Parkerson

When I was in Israel in 1973 I saw what might have been the very fields where shepherds were keeping watch over their flocks on that eventful night when an angel appeared suddenly and said, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which shall be to all people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10).

It was the most meaningful night in history, for it was the time God invaded the earth in a unique and powerful way. In the tiny village of Bethlehem God’s Son, the Living Word, “became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory” (John 1:14). Jesus came for one purpose — that He might become Savior. And, as John expressed it, “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12). Today, however, there are millions of people who have not received Him as Savior and Lord.

One reason could be that His birth is often wrapped in an aura of romance, poetic imagery, and fanciful imagination. Admiring a baby in a manger in one thing, surrendering to Christ as Savior and Lord is something altogether different.

Savior is Christ’s supreme title. He delivers all who trust Him from the power and penalty of sin. He has the power to set you free from the guilt of past misdeeds, and also the grip of sin in your daily life. He can set you free from an empty, hollow life, and empower every day of your life with purpose and peace.

No person is without a past.  The mistakes of youth, the vanity of self-seeking, the hungry pursuit of empty pleasures, the unrestrained fantasies and outrageous behavior, the sowing of “wild oats” — all of it stains the soul, corrupts the character, and defiles the body. No one is exempt from these human experiences.

Some may believe they have no need of a Savior — but the time may come when they will realize their mistake. The moment they realize the magnitude of their spiritual need and cry out, “Be merciful to me, a sinner!” Christ will hear their cry and provide cleansing from sin.

God transforms the lives of all who trust Him. He reshapes their goals and re-creates a new character in them. From that day forward their salvation is secure, for “there is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Growth toward spiritual maturity becomes a lifelong journey.

Christmas is not just about the baby Jesus in a manger. Beyond the manger Jesus would be nailed to a Roman cross. He who was born at Bethlehem had come to die, to take our place in death. It was the only way He could become Savior. Is He your Savior? If not, He can be — today!

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Parkerson is a native of Georgia, a graduate of Mercer University (B.A.), Southeastern Seminary (M. Div. and Th.M.), and Campbell University  (D.D.). He has served as pastor of one church in Georgia and five churches in North Carolina. Following retirement as pastor of the First Baptist Church in Sanford on September 30, 1996, he has served nine North Carolina churches as interim pastor. His column, The Paper Pulpit, has appeared weekly in a few newspapers and other publications since 1958.  He and his wife, Jessie, live in Wilmington near their daughter and family.)  
12/23/2009 3:16:00 PM by D.E. Parkerson | with 1 comments




Comments
Norman
Del,

Thank you for the good word. As romantic and inspiring as Christmas is, the day that changed the world is Easter, when God removed the sting of death. Thank you for reminding us of that in this happy hour.
12/29/2009 10:27:19 AM