I've got the old gospel song lyrics stuck in my head, "Everybody wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to die." It was inspired by good King Hezekiah of Old Testament, who after being told by the prophet Isaiah to put his house in order begged God for his life. It might seem like a strange song for a Christmas Eve, maybe not so strange when I'm still sick with a cold; but it reminds me that Jesus was born to die. It was His own choice to leave Heaven to save men from their sins. Nobody took His life, He laid it down of His own accord. He chose the thing we fear so much, physical death, so that we might have life eternal. What love! He is our greatest Christmas gift!
To all the King Hezekiah's in this world from one of your own,
Isaiah 38:1-7 (NIV)
In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the LORD says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.”
2 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, 3 “Remember, LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
4 Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah: 5 “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. 6 And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city.
7 “‘This is the LORD’s sign to you that the LORD will do what he has promised: 8 I will make the shadow cast by the sun go back the ten steps it has gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.’” So the sunlight went back the ten steps it had gone down.
John 10: 14-18 (NIV)
New International Version (NIV)
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”