“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Most believers can quote John 3:16, but I don’t think that we really grasp the meaning of this verse. This is the time that we traditionally celebrate the birth of Yeshua/Jesus. We put up a Christmas tree and decorate it. We sing songs about it and we give gifts to celebrate it, but do we really grasp what it is that we are celebrating? Let’s take a closer look.
God So Loved
The Scripture tells us that God so loved that He gave. I’m sure most of us heard the expression, “It is better to give than receive.” We know that giving is an act of love by the scripture. Giving is also an act of kindness. It is also an act of mercy. It took great love on God’s part to send His only begotten Son. Yeshua/Co- Creator is the spoken Word of God. God spoke and it was created. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light” (Genesis 1:1-3). John 1:1-3 tells us, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” Hebrews 1:1-3 tells us, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” So we see here that Yeshua is not only God’s word but that He is God. For Yeshua to be born He had to let go of His deity. He had to be made in the likeness of man.
“Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to cling to, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:7-8).
Yeshua had to wrap Himself in the flesh of man. God took on the form of man and He humbled Himself and became obedient to death on the cross for the sins of man. It is a mystery, but a mystery that we must believe to have everlasting life. Because Yeshua was also man, we put Him on the same plane as us and in so doing we don’t have the respect for Him that we should. We celebrate this tiny baby born in a manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes, when in fact He is not this baby that we celebrate. I ask you, when you celebrate your birthday do you celebrate a baby or a grown person? Yeshua’s birth date was not recorded and that was for a good reason: because God does not want us to dwell on a tiny baby but on the fact that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.
And when did God give His only begotten Son? He gave Him on the cross. He gave him as a sacrifice for our sin. It was not only an act of love or kindness, but an act of mercy. “But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Messiah died for us!” (Romans 5:8). Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” God’s unmerited favor was shown to us. His mercies are new every morning. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).
Yeshua Himself tells us as He was celebrating the Feast of Passover, at the Seder Meal that we call the Last Supper, “And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me’” (Luke 22:19). Do you see it? “My body given for you…” God so loved the world that He gave. Yeshua tells us that we are to remember Him, when? At Passover during the Seder Meal, the same day as the crucifixion. Paul tells us the same thing: “Get rid of the old yeast, that you may be a new unleavened batch, as you really are. For Messiah, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the festival, not with the old bread, leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and of truth” (1 Corinthians 5:7-8).
Now I said all of this to say this, We do not really understand the magnitude of what Yeshua saved us from. We can not really understand what it is like to be permanently separated from God. We do not really understand the darkness of Hell. This was the real pain that Yeshua suffered. This is the burden that He carried, our sin and the pain that He felt being totally separated from God and cast into a darkness that we can not understand. One day we will realize, but not until we see Him face to face will we understand Hell’s true meaning. If we neglect such a great salvation we will miss out on God’s mercy, His great love of giving us His Son, and we will experience a pain like we have never felt before. As believers let us spread this message this Christmas Season. The greatest gift of love was God who gave to us a Savior who died for us so that we would not have to bear the pain of being seperated from a loving, giving Father.