I am reminded once more the reason why Jesus came to us.
In Exodus, Moses spends forty days and forty nights with God on top of Mt. Sinai being blessed by God’s presence. At the end, he receives two tablets written on front and back – the Ten Commandments (Ex 32.15-16). He comes down from the mountain and is shocked at what he sees – the Israelites in a drunken dance before the golden calf. Moses is so overcome with anger that he hurls the holy tablets down at them, breaking them into pieces.
After executing the most egregious wrong doers (about 3,000), he heads back up to meet the truly offended. There, in front of God, he begs, “But now, if you will only forgive their sin—but if not, blot me out of the book that you have written” (32.32). Essentially, Moses is saying, “I am willing to die on their behalf!” How Jesus of him to say that! How great of Moses! He's so good.
So what is God’s response to his passionate plea? It's a rather unemotional, “Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book” (v.33).
Huh? I expected God to respond in one of two ways: he could have said, “Oh, how nice of you Moses! I am so moved by your display that I will forgive them! (sniff…sob…)” or second, “Move aside Moses! My anger will not be lessened by your plea! They deserve my wrath!” One of those two responses was what I expected from God.
But God responds with something unexpected. “Whoever has sinner against me I will blot out of my book.” What does this mean? That’s God turning the table on Moses and replying, “Who do you think you are, Moses?” It’s God saying, “Do you think you are somehow different from them? Sinless? Pure? Holy? Is your name so secure in my book? Answer me if you can.”
When God has gotten his attention, He continues with an instruction for Moses to lead them as God directs him and let God be God: “when the day comes for punishment, I will punish them for their sin” (v.34). It’s God’s way of saying, “Moses, you are called out to serve me. That's it. You cannot blot out their sin. You have no power nor right to do that work. You are no different from them. A sinner. Don’t be so full of yourself.”
That’s why we celebrate Christmas.
When the day came for us to receive punishment, God sent his only Son who would declare on the cross, "I am willing to die on their behalf!"
That's why it's Merry Christmas.