1 Thessalonians 4:16 - Birth and Death
1 Thessalonians 4:16 "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first." (NASB)
Tonight most of the world celebrates the birth of Jesus, and it is typically a time when family gets together to fellowship, exchange gifts, and reminisce about times past.
There were many of these times that stand out in my past............but what I recall about them shows where my focus was at that time. What I remember about them were the things that I got from others...........the toys.........the other things that I received. I also recall that our family spent time remembering the Lord...........remembering the damp stable in Bethlehem in which He was began His journey among us in the flesh.
I can also remember we seemed to collectively spend more time at this time of the year celebrating the birth of the Lord, and then later, when we remembered His Death we might not have spent the same amount of time to commemorate it. At least it seems that way to me.
So when I read the above scripture tonight, I realized that without the Birth of Jesus, there would be no Death..........and without His Death as a sacrifice for my sins, I had no chance at eternal life.
Jesus became flesh over 2,000 years ago so that He could ultimately sacrifice Himself to atone for sins of mankind. The Birth is important, yes, but only because it enables His Death, which is the whole reason for the time He spent with us as one of us.
What Paul describes for us above is the scenario for how it all will come together at the end of this world........with the Lord descending from heaven with a shout, Paul says.......................there won't be anything restrained about His arrival this time........the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God announcing the arrival of the King of kings..........and the dead in Christ will rise first.
There is no way I can read this and not feel the excitement of that time approaching.
It is, indeed, important that I spend time to remember His Birth..............because He taught me a lot while He lived among us.............but I also need to understand that it was His Death that liberated me from an eternity of separation from Him................that restored the link between God and mankind intended from the start.
I think that point became clear to me tonight.
Love in Jesus,
"But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired." (1 Corinthians 12:18 NASB)
"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission."
This devotional was originally posted on CCI-Devo - Daily Group Devotionals on December 25, 2003 in post #437. It was written by Jim Ross, a former United Pentecostal Church member, who attends Christian Challenge International, the sponsor of the devotional group. The devotional is the copyright of Jim Ross and is reprinted on this site by permission.
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