The Hero of Christmas
By Paul David Tripp
[Adapted from Come Let Us Adore Him]
When you look into that manger in Bethlehem, you need to see a warrior. Jesus came to do battle with the Enemy and to defeat him for our sake. He would defeat the Devil in his life, he would defeat him on the cross, and he would defeat him by the empty tomb. Each victory was for us so that we would be able to resist the Devil’s deceptions and temptations in our lives. Because Jesus came to defeat the Devil, a face-to-face battle with the Devil was inevitable. The life of the baby in the manger would march toward a moment when the Devil would throw everything in his arsenal toward Jesus.
All of history hinged on that battle. Soon that baby would grow into a man, and he would face what Adam faced: the seductive temptations of a deceptive enemy. He would stand toe-to-toe with Satan as the second Adam. The defeat of Jesus would spell our doom, but the victory of Jesus would guarantee our hope of countless moral victories as we too would face the seductive voice of the Tempter, whispering lies into our ears.
You see, Jesus is the Chief Warrior, the Adam the world longed for, but the final battle is not over. We still live in a broken world that doesn’t function as God intended. We still battle with temptation outside us and sin inside us. Seductive voices greet us every day, working to get us to step over God’s moral boundaries. You could argue that life on this side of eternity is war. So it is a huge comfort that at Christmas we celebrate the birth of the second Adam, the Chief Warrior, who came to do battle on our behalf, to win victory for us, so that by his power we could resist, stand fast, and conquer. By grace Jesus was willing to come to earth and to stand in Adam’s place, so that we would be graced with daily victory over temptation and sin. The Christmas story is the first chapter in a war story; this war was fought on our turf and for our sake by the hero of the story, the God–man, Jesus.
I want to contrast two historical moments for you. The first is that horrible moment when Adam and Eve faced the Serpent, bought into his deception, and rebelled against the wisdom, goodness, and authority of God (Genesis 3:1-7). How could you possibly overstate the horrors of evil that were unleashed in that moment? The effects of that one act of disobedience are moral, emotional, rational, environmental, relational, political, and spiritual. Nothing in the created world was left unharmed. We still pay a daily price in the struggles of life and faith in this fallen world.
Contrast this with another historical moment: the Christmas story. This is the story of God’s responding to the cry of the world, now damaged and darkened by sin, for a second Adam. This Adam would need to be a perfect man, with the moral power to stand against the Enemy and not succumb to his tempting voice in any way. No person on earth was qualified to be the second Adam, so God sent his Son, Jesus, to stand in that place for our hope and salvation.
When this second Adam was tempted by the Devil, he resisted perfectly. He resisted not just in one moment, but in every moment in his entire life. The Second Adam obeyed God perfectly, fully, every single second of every single day. And because this baby of Bethlehem eventually died on the cross and rose again, those who put their trust in him can receive this perfect record of obedience on their behalf.
So when you celebrate Christmas Day, remember to celebrate the birth of the Great Warrior. He won the victory that you and I could have never won. That victory is our hope in this life and in the one to come.
If you want to receive this gift that Jesus offers you, call out to him right now with a prayer like this one:
Heavenly Father, I believe that Jesus Christ is your Son, and that he died on the cross to save me from my sin. I believe that he rose again to life, and that he invites me to live forever with him in heaven as part of your family. Because of what Jesus has done, I ask you to forgive me of my sin and give me eternal life. Please guide me to a Bible-believing church where I can grow as a Christian with others who love Jesus. Amen.