This is the time of year that many who do not seem to have any Christianity in their daily lives for the rest of the year, have it oozing from every pore with much ado about those who would determine to say “happy holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas” and spouting off about keeping Christ in Christmas. For some, once during the Christmas holidays is the only time they attend a church service other than Easter Sunday during the entire year. Most likely, most that read this article would agree that what they have is Christianity in name only, certainly they are not Bible Christians. When one gets right down to it, one cannot find authorization in the Bible to celebrate the birth of Christ. Such a celebration is not even mentioned in God’s word. As we have often pointed out, if it is not in the New Testament, it is not a part of true Christianity, for the New Testament is the blueprint for Christianity. Certainly, the birth of Christ was a great event in the course of history in general and in God’s plan for the salvation of man to be more specific. Old Testament prophets spoke of the birth of He who would be the saviour of God’s people. The prophet Isaiah who is often referred to as the Messianic Prophet, wrote, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The might God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6). Isaiah had already stated, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isa. 7:14), which prophecy was fulfilled in the birth of Christ (Matt. 1:20-23).
Indeed, the birth of Christ was both prophesied, and accomplished and such was a great event in the history of man. However, there was another prophesy given about Jesus that was just as important, maybe even more so. The prophet Isaiah also prophesied that Jesus would be rejected, smitten and afflicted, wounded for our transgression and ultimately crucified on the cross (Isa. 53:1-9). Jesus Christ died! All four of the gospel accounts tell of His crucifixion. Matthew’s account says, “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost” (Matt. 27:50). Now, there is nothing unique about a man dying. The writer of the book of Hebrews states, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). We will all die. The thing about the death of Jesus that was unique, was not even that He would be raised from the dead. Jesus had already raised several from the dead Himself. The thing that was unique about the death of Jesus was that He was the perfect Son of God, being sacrificed upon the cross for the sins of man and would be raised to sit upon the throne of God, reigning over His kingdom. As the writer of Hebrews stated, “For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator” (Heb. 9:13-16). There is no doubt about it, the death of Christ on the cross was the greatest sacrifice ever made and the greatest price ever paid. Peter said, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (I Pet. 1:18-19).
Though one cannot find any where in the New Testament scriptures where God authorizes any kind of celebration or memorial for the birth of Christ, one can find authorization for, commands to and instructions concerning a memorial for the death of the Son of God. Three of the gospel accounts record how Jesus on the night of His betrayal instituted the Lord’s supper (Matt. 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:15-20). In addition, the apostle Paul records even a bit more about it (I Cor. 11:23-29). In Luke’s account we find that Jesus told them, “…this do in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). Paul repeated that Christians are to partake of the bread and the fruit of the vine as they represent the body and blood of Christ offered up on the cross, when he also stated “…this do in remembrance of me” (I Cor. 11:24-25). Paul stated that the purpose of the Lord’s supper is to “show the Lord’s death till he come” (I Cor. 11:26). Thus, we have Bible command and example that true Christians will partake of this memorial of the death of Christ. When did the disciples partake of this supper? Upon the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). Upon the first day of the week, true Christians will partake of the memorial for the death of our Lord. (Send any questions or comments to: [email protected])
Robert Oliver is a long time columnist for The Sampson Independent.