Irvin Wasswa, Tylertown Campus Pastor LHBC
10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”[d] 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit[e] through faith.
Do you know where the tallest Christmas tree in the world is currently located? The correct answer is not the United States, it is actually the Rio de Janeiro, Brazil standing at an outstanding 278 feet tall! In addition to the tree standing at that height, it floats in the city’s lagoon, which is just inland from one of Brazil’s most famous beaches. With Christmas falling right in the middle of summer there, for many instead of “rockin’ around the Christmas tree” like our friend Brenda Lee sang about, they probably swim around the Christmas tree, singing carols and having a good time.
The Christmas tree in Rio de Janeiro is massive, but I know of a tree that was greater. Now this tree I’m talking about wasn’t 278 feet tall, nor was it festive or decorative at all. As a matter of fact, this tree I’m referring to was bland. The only thing that mattered about this tree was the Person who hung on it. I am referring to Calvary’s tree, where Jesus Christ died so that you and I could have life. Hey, Calvary’s tree didn’t have ornaments, it had the blood of Christ on it. Listen, Calvary’s tree did not have a cool, decorative star on top of it like most Christmas trees do; rather it had the Bright and Morning Star Jesus Christ who hung on it for your sins and mine. I am talking about the cross of Christ.
In Galatians chapter 3 the apostle Paul is trying to state his case as to why simply keeping the law/doing good works was not enough to enter into heaven. He states the case that all of those who depend on the Old Testament law for salvation are cursed. Here is the reason why, no one can keep the law perfectly because we are sinners. The bible says in James 2:10 that if we have broken one part of the law, we are guilty of breaking them all. God’s standard for mankind was perfection and sadly we have missed the mark. So for someone to rely on their good works to get them into heaven, they essentially are dooming themselves. However, there is good news: Christ died, so that mankind could be redeemed from the curse. Through Christ’s work on the cross, shedding His blood, dying and rising from the dead, those who believe in Him will be free. We are free from the bondage of sin, free from the curse of not being able to live up to God’s perfect standard. We are free indeed! Praise the Lord!
That is why Calvary’s tree is much greater than any Christmas tree. Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary’s tree brought opportunity for redemption into the world. My question to you this morning is which tree are you more focused on this Christmas? Nothing wrong with having a Christmas tree or the traditions that come with having one, but if your focus is solely on that tree and the traditions that come with it, if you aren’t careful your focus will be totally inward. You will be more preoccupied with buying all the perfect gifts to put under your tree then worshipping the greatest gift (Christ) and walking across the street to share that gift with others. My hope and prayer today is that this season, we focus on Christ and the tree at Calvary: the greatest gift for mankind.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Dear Heavenly Father, help me to remember the Cross of Jesus today. Thank you for sending us the greatest gift of all time in Your son. Motivate me to share Jesus with friends and family. In Jesus name, Amen!
Song of Worship for Today: Mighty Cross- Elevation Worship
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.