Pastor Rich Knight
Central Congregational Church
Dec. 9, 2018
I want us to think for a few moments about the purpose of Christmas. Why was Christ born? What was the purpose of Christmas? Why did God send God’s uniquely divine Son?
The Christmas passages themselves give us insights – He called, “Savior,” a “King,” the “Son of the Most High.” He’s named, “Jesus” for “he will save the people from their sins.” And he’s said to be the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophesy. He’s “Emmanuel,” God with us.
But let’s look elsewhere in the Gospels. Let’s take a look at what Jesus had to say for himself about why he came.
Here are five passages, directly from Christ himself.
- I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness. – John 12:46
We’re no longer in the dark about God! A glorious Light from God has come!
What does light do? It shows you what’s there. You walk into a dark room. You don’t know what’s on the floor in front of you that you might trip over. So you turn on the light. You see what’s there. Jesus reveals the truth about the God who is there!
For Christians, Jesus is the decisive revelation of God. Col. 1:15 says, “He is the exact image of the Invisible God.” The exact image of God!
So what does God “look” like? God looks like Jesus!
So the way Jesus forgave all kinds of people and welcomed them into his presence, that’s how God is towards us. Gracious. Forgiving. Welcoming.
The way Jesus loved people right where they were . . . that’s how God loves us!
The way Jesus was compassionate, fed thousands and sought after justice; that’s what God cares about, too!
Jesus shows us what the invisible God looks like! That is at the heart of Christmas!
Here’s another truth about why he came . . .
- The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. – John 10:10
Jesus came to give us more life, not less. More joy, not less. More hope, not less. More love, not less!
Augustine: “Our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you.”
We were designed to live in fellowship with God, and in that fellowship there is abundant life.
Look at the next one,
- For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many. – Mark 10:45
He came to show us servanthood – love, kindness, humility. He came to show us how we should live, putting away selfishness and instead putting others first.
He came to offer us forgiveness through the Cross, his sacrifice being a ransom to free us.
Years ago I had a Celtic Cross that I displayed on a piece of furniture in my living room. This piece of furniture was also the perfect place for a Nativity set. As I was setting up the Nativity set I thought to myself,
Should I move the Cross or put it away for Christmas?
I came to the conclusion, no, that was part of his purpose for coming, part of his calling. He came to give his life for our salvation!
Here’s another reason why he came –
- For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.Luke 19:10
He didn’t come to dominate us, but to motivate us.
He didn’t come to control us, but to free us.
He didn’t come to compel us, but to win our hearts. And what better way to do that than to come as a baby?
This last passage is Jesus quoting from Isaiah 61. The occasion is this – he’s been out preaching and healing people, making quite a name for himself. And then he comes home for a bit, probably to visit his family. While there the sabbath arrives and Jesus goes to the synagogue to worship. Since he’s the local boy made good, they ask him to read a scripture lesson and give a message.
So he reads this . . .
- The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free,to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. – Luke 4:18-19
Isaiah 61 is a Messianic passage. It refers to the“Anointed One.” Messiah literally means “anointed one.” He’s claiming to be the Messiah and in doing so he takes this passage as his mission statement. It’s his mission statement and ours! To share good news with the poor, release those captive to sin, guilt & shame and to proclaim the favor, affection and love of the Lord.
Please look over the list one more time.
I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness. John 12:46
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10:10
For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many. Mark 10:45
For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost. Luke 19:10
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. Luke 4:18-19
Which is most meaningful to you?
Spend some time in personal prayer now, thanking Jesus for each of those reasons why he came.
(My prayer is below, but first express your gratitude to God in your own words.)
Thank You, Lord Jesus, for being our Light, sent to show us what is real and true about the invisible God.
Thank You that You came not to control us and make us your puppets, but You came to show us who we really are as your children. You came to give us the abundant life You created us for.
Thank You that You came to seek us out, to win our hearts and our salvation.
And Thank You for your mission statement and ours. Inspire and empower us as we seek to carry out the work of your Kingdom here on earth.
Thank You for the height, depth and breadth of Christmas. Receive our love, our gratitude and our lives, this day, this Christmas and forever. Amen.