I am delighted to write about the significance of the birth of Jesus again and His celebration around the world. We can never get tired talking about the benefits of the birth of Jesus and not necessarily Christmas or Xmas as the universal church has sold to world. They call it Christmas or Xmas but we call it the birth of Jesus the Christ. The celebration of the birth of Jesus for the world comes up once in every year and usually about this time the world is agog and engrossed in the celebration while those of us followers of Jesus celebrate Him every day. For some people Christmas they call it is a period of holiday and to take off time from work or business to relax and enjoy life. To some others it is a necessary ritual instituted by the universal church, Roman Catholic precisely. Historically, we understand that many years before the birth of Jesus 25th of December was used as a major Roman pagan’s day of sacrifices. However, Constantine the then head of Roman Catholic in the year 533 AD changed the name of the pagan’s festival to what is now known as Christmas in order to win the sympathy and cooperation of the believers in Christ. But I beg to ask here, ‘does a change of name of anything bring about its transformation?’ I believe not. To many who celebrate this day and believes it does not matter what the celebration is about at least the day provides opportunity for family fun and self indulgencies, it’s a pity but ignorance is not an excuse. It baffles me that more sins are committed this period than any other time in the world. We certainly cannot associate all that with the birth of Jesus.
Around the world people travel from one locality to the other to meet with friends and family. Both by air and land and traffic gets built up and prices of things skyrocket with its attendant unbudgeted and unreasonable expenditures made with severe consequences. Unnecessary risks are taken by many to travel and sometimes a lot of lives are lost on accidents especially on roads. The point I am laboring to make here is that most people who gets engrossed in the so called Christmas celebration and are carried away with its activities do not understand the significance of the birth of Jesus. While I do not totally subscribe to the philosophy of the universal church on Christmas, I also do not want to be seen as opposing the celebration at least Jesus the King and Savoir of the whole world is mentioned anyway. But my emphasis is the actual consciousness of what the birth of Jesus is all about and its benefits to humanity.
Well, let me quickly submit here that Jesus was not born on the 25th of December. There was no record of the date Jesus was born and He was not even born in the month of December. Perhaps we can say Jesus was born between the months of September and October because of the events that occurred at the time He was born and as it continues to occur even today in Palestinian. But that is not the point here also. A lot Bible scholars are of the view that Christmas is not a Christian festival since it does not have scriptural backing or support. And Jesus did not mention anything about His birthday and did not celebrate any while on earth. The other school of thought especially the protagonists of the universal church philosophy on Christmas believes that the celebration is necessary and that after all most people celebrate their birthdays and why not Jesus’? The sides of the argument have their points made.
I have nothing against the latter anyway only we must have the right consciousness of what we are celebrating. My concern is how the birth of Jesus can impart the personal life of people especially those who celebrate His birth. Has Jesus been born in your life? That is my major concern. Jesus was not born like any other person. He was born for a definite purpose which is to redeem humanity. Jesus is not a product of the will of man and better put not a product of man’s sperm. Jesus was a product of Immaculate Conception. There was no sexual intercourse relationship between Mary the mother of Jesus and her husband to be Joseph before Mary became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. This was the beginning of the greatest miracles on the face of the earth.
It has been long and well proven by medical experts that the only way for a woman to become pregnant is through sexual intercourse or donation of sperm by a man (In Vitro Fertilization). This fact remains incontrovertible. The question here is why was the conception of Jesus Immaculate? Why did Mary become pregnant and gave birth to Jesus without meeting a man? The Bible said “Mary was a virgin” Virgins cannot become pregnant naturally speaking. By the way Mary ceased to be a virgin after the birth of Jesus. She began to live with her husband Joseph and had children for him. I believe this will address the ignorance of religious Christianity and others. I mean those who still regard Mary the mother of Jesus as a virgin up till now. And again we have to understand the meaning of the word “virginity”. A woman cannot remain a virgin after the process of delivering a child. Let us leave out the theological debates on that and face the significance of the birth of Jesus to humanity.
Jesus was the plan B in God’s agenda for humanity. If we study Genesis chapters 1-3, we see the entire picture of creation by God. First, God created the heavens and the earth in their different order. He took a portion of the earth He called Garden of Eden and beautified it. He lavished it with every plantation to serve as food and medicine for man. Everything was in place and was very good before theman that God created in His image and likeness was introduced and given the charge of the garden. We must remember here that the Bible account is the only accurate account on the creation of man. Man did not evolve from any accidental occurrence or evolution as some scientist would want us to believe. Man was the crown of creation and next to God in hierarchy. Man was God’s representative on earth. He was the Ambassador of the heavenly Hosts on earth. Whatever man says on the earth stands like what we have in the practice of international relations and diplomacy. Every Ambassador is given the authority to speak for his home government.
Imagine that God just spoke everything on earth into existence. But that was not the same case with man. God formed the body of man from the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being. What was the breath that God breathed into man? It was the DNA of God. The nature and life of God and that is why man is in the class of God and different from any other creature and could not have evolved from any other creature. We must realize that every authority carries a responsibility and that is what leadership is all about. The name of the first man created by God was Adam. God loved Adam and Adam enjoyed rich intimacy with God in the relationship. God took time to educate Adam on governance and administration of the earth. We will agree that in diplomacy interest is paramount.
God’s interest on the face of earth is relationship and fellowship with man the only subject He created in His image. And God made Adam to understand that He has an enemy called Satan and who is a vagabond going to and fro on the earth having been cast out of the presence of God. Satan was originally Lucifer a high ranking angel that attempted treason. Lucifer before he was transformed to Satan has enjoyed fellowship with God as an angel and he knows the importance and beauty of the relationship and fellowship with God. And having lost all that privilege, he knew also what Adam was enjoying in the relationship with God. Satan was envious of Adam and had to plot in every way possible to dislodge Adam from his authority.
But God had warned Adam ahead of time about Satan. God charged Adam to keep the garden which was to protect it from an intruder and to cultivate it which also was to transform and beautify it and make it fruitful for habitation and enjoyment. That is leadership with great responsibility. Unfortunately, Satan came subtly and cunningly first to Eve wife of Adam who was not physically present when God gave Adam the charge. Satan took an apple to Eve and my Bible records that her husband Adam was with her and he failed to interrupt Satan’s conversation with Eve knowing the implication from what God has told him.
The apple in question was the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil which God had warned Adam not to eat though it looks and appealing to the eyes as fruit to be eaten. Mind you, it is not everything that looks good that is actually good or expedient. The tree of life was there in the garden and I believe it was also very attractive. God’s instruction to Adam was that he was free to eat from the fruit of the tree of life in order to continue to live but for the tree of knowledge of good and evil God said Adam must not eat. God said if Adam should eat of that fruit he shall die. The implication of God’s statement here is that Adam shall be separated from Him any day he eats of that fruit.
This separation from God means spiritual death because the source of the life which Adam (humanity) has is God. As we all know no fish can survive outside of water. Of course Eve took the fruit from Satan and ate it and gave Adam her husband who was with her and he did eat. Consequently, they both died spiritually. They exchanged the life of God which they had for the life of Satan and by that betrayal called ‘treasonable crime,’ Adam became enemy of God and now came into union with Satan. Adam has betrayed God and exposed God to ridicule before His enemy that is how serious Adam’s sin was. Adam literally took the authority God gave him and handed it over to Satan and became a slave to Satan.
Adam had the authority over the whole earth in trust for God and here he gave it away and by implication made God a stranger in His own Estate the earth. It was very serious. It was like toppling a seating government in a coup de tat. From that moment God operated as a stranger in His own Estate and man became a slave to Satan. Satan became in charge of the whole earth. The penalty for this treasonable crime was death. Not just physical death but first spiritual death which culminated into physical death. Should God forget His investment on the earth and leave the whole thing just like that? No! God’s eternal eternal purpose and agenda for humanity and the earth is too important to be jettisoned. God had to thinker the way out of the log jam. And it was the sending of His only begotten Son as the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of man.
From Adam down through the ages there was no one born without sin because sin has become part of the DNA of the human race. What is the way out? Only someone without sin in his nature can engage Satan in a battle to recover the authority Adam handed over to him. Unfortunately, there was no one qualified to do so. But God must recover His Estate and humanity from His enemy who was holding sway. To do that, God must be just and fair to Himself, to man and to Satan. God was not going to confront Satan and demand the restoration of man’s authority because God knows Satan got the authority from man legitimately. To recover the authority therefore it must be through a battle and legitimately too.
We must understand the scenario; humanity is in a fallen state and in slavery to Satan and cannot meet Satan eye to eye in a contest. And there must be a contest if the authority lost to Satan were to be recovered. That is where Jesus came in. God sent Jesus through a spoken Word by Angel Gabriel into the womb of a young virgin lady called Mary and she became pregnant without the interaction of a man’s sperm and a woman’s egg. It is simply a mystery and unheard of anywhere. Religion including Christian religion cannot comprehend this fact. It is only by revelation knowledge. Mary carried Jesus in her womb for nine months like any other mother and finally gave birth to the Savior of the whole world.
The birth of Jesus was spotless. The devil could not fathom it. At the appropriate time Jesus voluntarily submitted Himself to the worst form of death, the death on the cross. If Satan knew the agenda of God, he wouldn’t have killed Jesus by instigating His killers. It was by that singular action that Satan killed himself. Jesus conquered Satan by going to his territory in hell to recover the lost authority and after that Jesus went ahead and preached the gospel to all who were held captive in hell and freed them by giving then a new life. He then rose from dead with the recovered authority and finally ascended into heaven to offer His blood as an everlasting sacrifice for humanity.
The drama that took place in hell was difficult to explain. Satan could not imagine seeing God in hell. How manage was his question! Hell is not for God and the righteous. Hell is for the condemned criminals (unbelievers in Christ). Celebrating the birth of Jesus will not be beneficial to anyone unless he is born again. And what does it mean to be born again mean? Jesus must be born in your life that is you must accept that Jesus is the Son of God and He died for your sins. Then you publicly confess Him as your Lord and personal Savior. Otherwise the celebration is a complete waste of time and without lasting positive impact. The sacrifice God made to redeem man was enormous. Nobody is supposed to go to hell again except the person who refuses to be born again as Jesus demands and perhaps chooses to continue to play religion. My prayer for everyone reading this message is that God will open your eyes of understanding and touch you and grant you the favor and mercy to accept the gospel and receive Jesus into your life and to become born again. God bless you for your time until I come your way again. Happy celebration of Jesus’ birthday!
•Dr. Martins P. Iwuanyanwu is Founding Pastor, Knowledge Christian Centre, arm of International Commonwealth Gospel Ministries. Feel free to reach him for prayers and counseling by email: [email protected]