"I’ll be back soon," a soldier told his wife before leaving her and their infant son to fight in World War II. Five years went by. The young mother would show her boy a portrait of the soldier and say, "See, that’s your daddy. One day he’s going to come home." In reality, she didn’t know what to expect.

One morning the boy said, "Mommy, wouldn’t it be great if Daddy would just step out of the picture frame?"

In a sense that’s what God did 2,000 years ago. As part of His eternal plan, He stepped out of heaven and became a man so you and I could look at Jesus and say, "That’s what God looks like."

The Cradle
On the first Christmas 2,000 years ago, God came to earth to live among us. The human mind is boggled by that. Even more unexpected is the first picture we see. No flaming chariots brought God into the world, and no royal entourage greeted Him. God entered the world as a helpless baby with a feeding trough as His bed.

Even though we celebrate this miracle every Christmas and wonder at the mystery of it, many people don’t really think about it or believe it. But if God is God, He can take upon Himself a human body.

Jesus Christ was no ordinary man. He was God become man. But first He was born of the virgin Mary by the miracle of the Holy Spirit. Jesus did not evolve from history; He came into history from the outside. His life is the highest and holiest entering the lowest and lowliest. But that was not enough. If Jesus had grown up and lived only a perfect and marvelous life, without another great miracle taking place, His life likely would mean nothing to you and me today.

The Cross
Jesus had to go from the cradle to the cross. After Christmas comes Good Friday. The Bible clearly states that the cross was the reason God’s Son came to earth. In the mystery and marvel of it, Jesus was willing to go. "And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross!" (Philippians 2:8)

What happened on the cross? The Bible teaches that God the Son took upon Himself all the sins of the world. To think every evil thought you and I have ever pondered; every sin that we have ever committed; every evil, mean, dirty, jealous act that we have practiced, was laid on Jesus Christ.

The Bible calls Jesus "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29) What is it talking about?

In the Old Testament the Lord gave us a vivid picture of what the cross is all about. In those days, if you wanted to get close to God but felt you had a burden of guilt on your conscience, you would take a lamb to the priest at the temple.

The priest would lay your hand on the head of that little lamb, you would confess your sins to God, and ask His forgiveness. The priest would then kill the lamb as an offering to God. Then, the Old Testament teaches, God would forgive you.

That was a picture of what Jesus Christ would do on the cross. He took our sins on His own body. He took my rebellion, my pride, my impurity, my covetousness--every evil thing Luis Palau ever did--and He said, "Luis, I love you! I want you to know I am going to die for you. And if you repent and turn to me, then I will forgive you and cleanse you. Every sin you ever committed will be forgotten forever."

It doesn’t matter how rebellious and evil you have been, or how guilty you feel. If you want forgiveness, you must come to the cross. Once you do, you won’t have restless nights with a guilty conscience. Instead, you will be able to sing praises to God. You will have peace with God because Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

The Crown
The Bible says three days after His death, Jesus stepped out of the grave. That’s what Easter is all about! Jesus is alive! He’s not in a tomb. Mohammed, Buddha, and other religious leaders of yesteryear are dead, buried, and gone. But you can visit Jesus’ grave and it’s empty. He’s the reigning King of kings and Lord of lords. He’s God the Son, with all the power in heaven and on earth. God the Father has given Him a "name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord." (Philippians 2:9-11)

Have you confessed the Lord Jesus as your Savior? If you haven’t, I urge you to stop playing games with your eternal destiny. Commit your life to God’s Son. He was born and placed in a humble cradle as a little baby. He died on a Roman cross to take away all the world’s guilt and shame. And then, on the third day after He was buried, He stepped out of the grave. Jesus Christ is alive! He’s ruler of heaven and earth. He wants to be your God and King.

You Can Step Out
Have you taken the important step of acknowledging Jesus Christ as your God and King? It is the greatest decision of your life. If you have never made that commitment, I encourage you to do so right now.

You may wish to use this prayer: "Heavenly Father, I believe in my heart You raised Jesus from the dead. I believe He was God become man. I believe He died for me on the cross. I believe He is crowned at the right hand of God the Father. Thank You for forgiving my sins. I accept Jesus Christ as my Savior. Amen."

Luis Palau is a world-renowned evangelist who has proclaimed the Good News of Jesus Christ to hundreds of millions of people in 104 nations via live events, radio, television, and evangelistic literature outreaches. He has published more than 150 articles and 44 books and booklets in English and Spanish, including It’s a God Thing (Doubleday, 2001). This article is copyright © 1993-2001 Luis Palau, P.O. Box 1173, Portland, Oregon 97207, www.palau.org, palau@palau.org.