Invasions are usually costly. The invasion of Normandy on D-Day claimed the lives of about 5000 Allied soldiers, and at least that many Germans died as well. Jesus’ invasion of Earth cost one life—His. Although we don’t normally think about Jesus’ death and resurrection at Christmas—we wait until Easter to do that—we can’t fully appreciate Christmas without remembering that Easter is coming.
Isaiah the prophet wrote about Jesus’ life, suffering, death, and resurrection.
1 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Isaiah 53:1-12 (NIV)
Jesus knew He was going to die, and He willingly embraced His fate. Why? Because He loved us. He cared more for our need than for His own well-being. He paid the price for our failings. He gave His life so that we might live.
But the story doesn’t end there. On Easter Sunday Jesus rose from the dead as Isaiah prophesied in verses 10 (“though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days”) and 11 (“After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied”). The invasion was a success, and Jesus was the victor!
As we celebrate this season of Advent, spending a few minutes reflecting on the sorrow and joy of Jesus’ death and resurrection can help us appreciate more fully the incredible gift God gave us at Christmas.