Advent Together: Born to Die, Guest Post By Danielle Anderson
Anyone that knows me well knows that I enjoy riddles. Not funny-ha-ha-make-you-laugh riddles, but logic riddles, brain teasers. I find it fun to sit and think through their various aspects and feel really good when I’m able to solve one. It’s not just the answer, but the process of finding the answer that I really enjoy. There’s something about sound logic that, and this will sound weird, stirs my affections for the Lord. It’s in that hope, of your affections being stirred for the Lord, that I invite you to think through something with me.
Which holiday is the bigger holiday for you and your family - Christmas or Easter?
For most of my life, I viewed Christmas as the most important. If Jesus was never born He could never have done all that He did, so I gave more energy and effort to all things Christmas. I spent hours taking in Advent devotionals and ignoring anything that had to do with the season of Lent. Christmas decorating? Yes please. Easter decorating? Is that even a thing? I even gave a concerted effort to learning more than the first verse of certain Christmas hymns.
But then a few years ago I was confronted with the truth that Christianity hinges upon a cross, not a barn; an empty tomb, not a manger.
Uh oh, had I let the cultural norms surrounding the Christmas season lead me to minimize Easter? Had mall decorations, amazing sales, and crowded retail parking lots really affected my thinking that much?
In our culture it’s the day of one’s birth that is commemorated in their honor, or at least a day close to their birth (like that of the MLK Holiday). It makes perfect sense - if that person had never been born, they would have never impacted history the way they did, so we ought to emphasize their day of birth over their day of death.
But Jesus just won’t fit within that logic. Let’s walk it through step by step.
In the book of 1 Timothy, Paul writes to Timothy. He begins his letter with a greeting, followed by a warning against false teachers, and then communicates his own joy and unworthiness to have been chosen by the Lord for salvation. This is the context of our key verse, 1 Timothy 1:15“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.”
To me, this begs at least three questions.
Question 1 - What do sinners need to be saved from? Sinners need to be saved from God, particularly from His wrath towards sin. God the Father is infinitely holy, and his holiness demands that those in His presence, those in relationship with Him, be holy as well.
Question 2: How is a sinner saved? Sinners need to be forgiven of their sin and made holy. Hebrews 9:11 says there is no forgiveness of sin without the shedding of blood - something has to die.
Question 3: How does Christ do the saving? He has to shed blood, He has to die.
Jesus is the promised perfect sacrifice. He is the only one who can fill that position, the only one who can appease a holy God’s wrath towards sin. Man had to die because it was man who sinned, but the perfect sacrifice, obviously, had to be perfect, sinless - and we know that only God is without sin. We need a sinless man, a God-man. That's exactly who Jesus is. He is God in human flesh, God incarnated.
Since Jesus saves sinners by being the perfect sacrifice, their perfect substitute, fully absorbing God’s wrath for sin, we can rewrite 1 Timothy 1:15 like this - The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to die.
Christ wasn’t born to just live a perfect life. He was born to die a perfect death. My old logic led me to conclude that if it weren’t for Christmas there would be no Easter. But oh sisters, how wrong I was.
If it weren’t for Easter, there would be no Christmas.
Have you ever thought about that? The full meaning of Christmas is realized at the cross, better yet, the empty tomb. The baby was born to grow into a man who would live a perfect life, die the perfect death, and then 3 days later walk out of that tomb, proving He (and those He saved) had victory over sin and death.
As you celebrate this Advent, and set your hearts more deeply on the person of Jesus, don’t forget His work. Celebrate in the shadow of the cross. The Father did indeed keep His word and send His Son into the world - to die.
Danielle Anderson is a wife and a mother of four boys. Danielle began her career as a Business Consultant with Accenture. After the birth of her first son, she transitioned to her current role as homemaker, or as Danielle likes to call it - Chief Operating Officer of the Anderson Home. Her husband, Tedashii, is a full-time hip hop artist and radio show host. The Lord has taken Tedashii and Danielle on an unimaginable journey — one beginning with the unexpected loss of their one-year-old son Chase in March 2013. In the midst of their continuous grief and restoration, the Lord has proven Himself over and over again as the true Solid Rock - the only source of lasting peace, comfort, and joy. Even in pain, He has enabled her to see His goodness and love, and has allowed her to experience a beautiful truth from Psalm 19 - the word of the Lord revives the soul. The revival He gives day after day has spurred her passion to see God's children, particularly His daughters, grow in their longing for Him through His word. She is passionate about the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical health of women - from essential oils to natural birth to pilates. She and Tedashii have been married 10 years and now reside in Atlanta, GA with their sons, ages, 7, 2 and 1.