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The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown:  A Short History of Jesus
1 Timothy 1:15-17
December 14, 2014

If you didn’t know better, it would be pretty easy to be confused about what Christmas is about. When you listen to Christmas music you might think that the heroes of Christmas are:

  • Frosty the snowman
  • Rudolph the Reindeer (and the other reindeer are the villains)
  • Santa
  • The little drummer boy
  • Father Christmas
  • Mary (Ava Maria)
  • The happy elf (or any of his more grumpy friends)
  • Olive, the other reindeer
  • Snow itself (as in “White Christmas”)

But of course you do know what Christmas is about. It’s about the birth of the infant Jesus Christ.

“Jesus is born!” means Jesus has arrived. He has appeared. This is the NT writer’s shorthand way of saying, “the one who has always existed has been revealed.” The unseeable is now seen. The untouchable touches and can be touched. But the advent of Christ is far more than that.

There was also a particular reason that Jesus appeared, as we have just read in the account of Christ’s birth in Matthew 1 — He appeared to die. Now that’s an anomaly! We say that babies are born to live. But not Jesus; He was born to die.

This morning, as we reflect on Christ’s advent, we will overview a brief history of the life of Christ. As the New Testament talks about the appearance of Christ it recognizes three periods — Christ’s birth, Christ’s death, and Christ’s enthronement — what other writers have called, “The cradle, the cross, and the crown.” We need all three periods to understand the advent and appearance of Christ.

To help you see this progression, I want to take you to a passage that is not a traditional “Christmas” passage. But because it contains an explanation of Christ and His work of salvation, it is a place where we can indeed see the Christmas story through a “brief history of Jesus.”

Christ has appeared in a cradle, on a cross, and with a crown.
What will we learn from these appearances?

“The glory of the incarnation is that it presents to our adoring gaze not a humanized God or a deified man; but a true God-man — one who is all that God is and at the same time all that man is [yet without sin]; one on whose almighty arm we can rest, and to whose human sympathy we can appeal.” [B. B. Warfield]

  1. He Appeared in the Cradle: the Incarnation of Christ (1 Tim. 1:15)
  2. He Appeared to Go to the Cross: the Crucifixion of Christ (1 Tim. 1:16)
  3. He Appeared to Wear the Crown: the Coronation of Christ (1 Tim. 1:17)

Download the rest of this sermon on 1 Timothy 1:15-17.

The audio will be posted on the GBC website later today.