Years ago, a book called If, or History Rewritten asked a number of intriguing questions, such as: What if the Moors had won in Spain? What if Louis XVI had been a strong, firm king? What if Lee had won at Gettysburg? What if Booth had missed Lincoln? But an even more important question is: What if Jesus had never been born?
We Would Not Know What God Is Like
From the beginning of human history, we’ve been hungry to know who God is, and God revealed what he is like by sending his Son. That’s why Isaiah wrote that God became “Immanuel, God with us.” Otherwise, God would have no face, no ears, no heart that we could understand, because, as Jesus said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9); and “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). If Jesus had not come on Christmas, we would have no knowledge of what God is like. We would not understand how he could identify with us and how we could relate to him.
We Would Have No Personal Victory
The shepherds near Bethlehem (in Luke 2) may have been watching sheep that were to be taken to Jerusalem to be offered as sacrifices to God. So while the Lamb of God was being born in a manger, lambs were being prepared as a sacrifice for the sins of the people of Israel. Had Jesus not come, there would have been no salvation from sin. According to 1 John 3:8, the Son of God came to destroy the devil’s work. The Greek word for “devil” is diabolos, which means “one who slanders.” Jesus came to break the one who slanders. He came to break that bondage and to give you victory over the sins that trap you. “Death has been swallowed up in victory” because Jesus came (1 Cor. 15:54).
We Would Have No Universal Victory
We look around and see despots and rulers and military regimes. We see injustice and poverty and wonder, Will it ever be made right? Isaiah 9:6–7 says, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”
It hasn’t happened yet, but it will.