For this Christmas season I have taken as a theme for my Christmas sermons, “Christmas and the Cross.” Last week we learned from Hebrews 10 that when Jesus came into the world on that first Christmas, he quoted a few verses from Psalm 40. Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure.” Then I said, “Behold, I have come — In the volume of the book it is written of Me — To do Your will, O God” (Hebrews 10:5-7).
What was on Jesus’ mind when he came into the world was the inadequacy of the Old Testament animal sacrifices and offerings for they could never take away sins. Since God was not pleased with those sacrifices, and since it was His will to take away the sins of His people, He sent Jesus into the world through the Incarnation. The body He prepared for His Son at Christmas would be offered on the cross some 33 years later.
This connection between Christmas and the Cross is found in numerous places in the Bible. The angel of the Lord who was sent to announce the coming of Messiah brought together in that one announcement the birth of the Son of God and His death, the manger of Bethlehem and the cross of Calvary, as well as Christmas and Good Friday. Here’s the announcement: “And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). He was to be named “Jesus” at His birth on Christmas because He would save His people from their sins at His death on the cross!