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Born To Die

Born To Die
By Dr. Mike Murphy

I keep looking out my window for the snow! I could almost smell the fir and the pine. The fragrance and taste of the wassail filled my imagination. As I opened my e-mail and already saw all the Christmas ads, I just figured it had to be cold outside, with snow on the ground. It seems like each year the Christmas ads come earlier and earlier. I do like to joke about it, but it really does not bother me. I love the Christmas season. The feeling that fills the air, family and friends coming together, a time each year to remind us Who and what is important in our lives. As I glanced at the ads, I could see all the new decorations. I saw trees of every shape and color. And I could see the nativity scenes that covered the pages. It seems that with each glance of Mary, Joseph, and the manger, a favorite song of mine echoed through my mind, and soon I found myself humming the words. Each year, Christmas gives me a chance to listen to the touching words of that song, a song few may have ever heard. In the fall of 2007, Bebo Norman released the album Christmas…From The Realms Of Glory. On the album was a little known song, that carries a powerful message, the song Born To Die. It is impossible to hear this song and not be moved, to not read the lyrics and begin to feel the tears swelling up in your eyes.

They never knew a dark night
always had the Son’s light
on their face
Perfect in glory
Broken by the story
of untold grace…
come that day

Majesty had come down
Glory had succumbed now
to flesh and bone
In the arms of a manger
In the hands of strangers
that could not know
Just who they hold

And the angels filled the sky
All of heaven wondered why
Why their King would choose to be
Be a baby born to die

And all fell silent
For the cry of an infant,
the voice of God
Was dividing history
For those with eyes to see,
the Son would shine
From earth that night

And the angels filled the sky
All of heaven wondered why
Why their King would choose to be
Be a baby born to die
Be a baby born to die

To break the chains
Of guilt and sin
To find us here
To pull us in
So we can join in Heaven’s song
And with one voice around the throne

All the Angels filled the sky
And I can’t help but wonder why
Why this King would choose to be
Be a baby born for me
Be a baby born
Be a baby born to die

I once heard Bebo say he wrote this song from a heavenly perspective. Writing what a strange and wondrous moment it must have been for those above to watch the God of all Creation enter this world in such a simple and lowly form, knowing they already knew the whole story of the Gospel. To watch as the One who lit the heavens, would come to this world with one true purpose in mind, to die. How curious of a way they would see the events of this story play out. They would watch as tragedy would be turned into a beautiful love story.

The song reminds us of the Lord’s perfect plan to save an imperfect world, through the birth of a perfect child, who would grow into a man who was destined to die, so death itself would permanently be defeated. But even as many hear these words, others will still ask, “Why did Christ have to die?”.

As we answer this question, we must remember that not one word of the New or Old Testament takes the position that Christ’ death was accidental, or was created by the treacherous hands of mankind. Not one word tells us that Christ died because of man’s plans. Every word of the Bible tells us just the opposite, it tells us that His death fulfilled a divine purpose. Jesus told these very words to His disciples, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”(Luke 24:46-48). Through the very words of Christ, we know that the necessity of Christ’ death and suffering was in accordance with the definite and foreknowledge of the Lord’s plan. Christ did not die as the result of foul play, or in an accidental way, He did so with a divine purpose, as part of a divine plan.

Although the worst of mankind found its’ way to crucify Christ, God’s plan of mercy and redemption still shined through. Mankind may have crucified Jesus, but our Lord made and planned His death as a way of salvation, as an act of redemption. The Lord took the tragedy of Christ’ death, and turned it into the greatest love story this world would ever know!

Many will follow this up by asking, “Why would the Lord allow His Son to die in such a terrible way? Why would not the Lord just choose a different plan?” To ask this question is to not understand the Lord. To question as to whether the Lord could have chosen another way, is to question whether the Lord set into action the best plan to start with. It is to imply that we, man, might have done better. What we see as better, is a way that looks right to us. A way that only includes what we see in the now, and what we choose to remember from the past. But our ways are not God’s ways, our thoughts are not God’s thoughts(Isaiah 55:8). Simply put, our ways and our thoughts are flawed. Mankind cannot know perfection unless we first look to God.

Once man knew perfection, as the Bible tells us that God created this world and man perfect. But when Adam and Eve disobeyed the word of God, the perfection of man became flawed. A flaw we know as sin. As a result of their disobedience, God had to punish Adam and Eve. Now many may ask, why would God “have” to punish man? The answer is simple, because God is just! To overlook sin would be to make God unjust. Adam and Eve’s disobedience required a punishment, a punishment because of the consequences of their sin. Death is the consequence of that sin. Since that original sin, every person that has walked this earth has also been guilty of disobeying God(Romans 3:23). Each of us face that same judgment, and through our guilt, a deserved death separates us eternally from the Lord.

But in the just of His judgment, God did not leave us without hope. God promised He would send a way for man to overcome the punishment that comes from sin. A sacrifice that would overcome death, and restore mans perfect relationship with the Lord(Genesis 3:15). Until that day, man would sacrifice innocent animals, showing the Lord they sought His forgiveness, seeking repentance for sin before Him. They also did this to show their faith, faith in the True Sacrifice that would one day come, and forever restore our perfect relationship with our Lord. Many times throughout history and in His Word, we watched as the Lord reassured man of that promise. Many times we read of how the Lord showed man how that promise would be fulfilled. He gave us detailed descriptions of that promise, and of the One who would fulfill that promise. Then, on one promised day, the Lord brought that promise into this world, and placed that promise in a manger in the city of Bethlehem. God’s perfect Son, fulfilling God’s perfect plan, who would be God’s perfect requirement to forever restore God’s perfect law(2 Corinthians 5:21). So simple, but yet so perfect!

In the very nature of God we see that perfect plan. In the very nature of God we see His devotion, we see His strength, we see His hope and His glory, and we see in Him a love, a love that is willing to suffer with and for each of us. From His very first word, we read as God made that love vulnerable. He created mankind in His own image, giving us free will and the ability to make independent decisions. God knew the risk that came with giving us free will. He knew with the freedom He gave us, we would have the ability to choose Him, and follow the path He has set before us. But He also knew that with this gift of free will, man could choose to ignore Him, seeking our own path, a path that can take us far from the ways of our Lord. But each gift of free will was surrounded by His love. A love that was present long before the Cross. A love that suffered with us as we wandered from His path. A love that wept as He watched us reject His proven ways. And a love that agonized each time we turned away from Him. When we look at the Cross, we see that love, because that Cross bears the very heart of our Lord

So we look at our original question again, “Why did Christ have to die?” Did Christ have to die? No. He could have left us in our disobedience, forever distant from our Lord, suffering an eternity at the hands of His just judgment. But in every word, in every action our Lord has shown us, we see His desire to have that eternal relationship with us. We see His desire to keep His promise to us. We see the love in the plans He has for us. And we see why He sent His perfect Son to us. We see His perfect relationship with us, where we find ourselves forever in His presence, forever as His merciful arms surround us. In the answer to this question, we see the very definition of love.

Each year, I make out my Christmas list. A list I make out to the Lord, asking Him for things I long to see in the coming year. This year, much like the Christmas ads that fill my e-mail, I find myself making out my list a little early. But this year, my list is very simple. A single item is all that makes up my list, a list that I will share with each of you. I pray that the words of Bebo’s song will hold true in each of your hearts. That each of you will marvel as the angels did that night at the promise the Lord fulfilled for each of us. That each of you will know and desire to be a part of that promise, and share with Him in the love of that perfect relationship. I pray that each of you will find that love in the One who came into the world that night. One who was born to die!

Praying each of you will fill my Christmas list!

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