Since the time of Christ, artists have sought to depict almost every scene from the gospels. The two scenes most chosen, Jesus as a baby or as a crucified Savior, says a lot about religious thought throughout history. In each case, the artists captured the context of religious man by depicting religious man's thoughts of Jesus Christ, as needy and powerless—either as a little baby dependent on His mom or as a dead man on a cross. The one who chooses artwork to remember Jesus this way, will continue to think of Jesus in this weak and feeble fashion.
Today's Christianity follows this same 2 layered focus in our worship and teaching. The nominal Christian usually chooses to focus on the birth of Jesus and the death of Jesus. Each year we are inn-undated by the imagery of the baby Jesus in the manger scene during the Christmas season. While it is certainly wonderful to realize that God came in the flesh to dwell among men (Jn 1:14), this world's version of Christianity and its obsession with Christmas tends to hit pause, seeing Him in the position of a cute little baby for all time, ignoring His greater purposes and works… Hollywood even mocks this aspect of Christianity's obsession with Christ in the manger with Ricky Bobby's prayer in Talladega Nights. He prays to the little baby Jesus, which is a very sacrilegious scene, but it serves a purpose to show how most pseudo Christians view Jesus in this light by celebrating Christmas to the neglect of Jesus the rest of the year. You see, most people that claim to be Christians do the same thing. They choose the baby, defenseless, harmless little Jesus, and that is the one that they want to worship, and this is the one that stays with them throughout life.
In addition, the constant refrain, especially among fundamentalists is this question, "Have you been saved?" This is a most important question! The question is undoubtedly sincere, and the missionary mindset is a testament to a love for Jesus. Yet, it seems that their only goal is to call as many people forward as possible to pray "the prayer of salvation", accepting Jesus into their hearts (which is found nowhere in Scripture). "Jesus Christ died to save you from your sins" is a true doctrine, but falls short, as He died to save us from the wrath of God!—but He did not (please hear me carefully) stay on the cross any more than He remained a babe in the manger clinging to His mother.
The apostle Paul writes in Romans 5:10 though that there is more than his birth and death... "For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life". I am so thankful for the Easter season, which focuses on the fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, but its impact on society and nominal fake Christians is very minimal. About the most that those who call themselves Christians get from it—and even this is only partly true—is that Christ's resurrection opens the way for them to get to heaven and enjoy eternal life. This is as far as it goes for most who merely walked an aisle to get saved or repeated some words (sinner's prayer) to "get saved".
When we understand this phrase: "We shall be saved by His life" The resurrection showed that He is Lord over Death and Life… Most people understand that we are saved by His death, but that is only half true! Rather, it is better to understand that we are justified by His death; our sins are forgiven and we are declared righteous through the blood of Jesus Christ for our sins. Our salvation, however, is anchored on the fact that Jesus Christ is Life! He is Lord over sin death and hell and makes us sons and daughters of God (see Hebrews 2:10-16).
Because he rose again, we can enter the throne room with boldness and "in full assurance of faith" by Jesus Christ Hebrews 10:19-22). Paul explains, "It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us" Romans 8:34. This is the rest of the Gospel, the Good News. We are justified by his death and saved by his life. He is not a weak, defenseless little baby Jesus, he is Lord of Life. For the Christian, it starts now. He came to bring Life and that we have Life abundantly. It is this knowledge, it is this true sight of our sovereign King that reforms our Life and anchors our hope in Him.
I am a great sinner saved by far greater grace. God has blessed me with a wonderful family and a beautiful Gospel congregation at Twin Lakes Bible Church.