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The Remarkable Reasons Jesus Came
Who cares about Christmas? Kids love the presents, ladies love the decorations, students love the time off, men love the new slippers–but who cares about the meaning? It seems so diverse now. I went to Disneyland earlier this month and heard ten different ways to celebrate the holidays, but I didn’t hear one traditional Christmas hymn, not a single reference to Christ, nor a “Merry Christmas.” Every faith was highlighted except for Christianity.
I think that’s crazy. It’s crazy to think, “It doesn’t matter what you believe, as long as it works for you.” It’s crazy to promote the idea that all beliefs are equal. The problem with all the options is this–they can’t all be correct. All these belief systems strongly disagree with each other. Think about it–if you’ve ever studied world religions, you know they contradict each other.
But did you know, with all religions there’s one great similarity and one great exception. The similarity is, every religion but one teaches you get to Heaven by living good—“Live this way, light these candles, give this much, marry this way, say these prayers.” The exception is, the Bible teaches the opposite. You’re saved not by doing good works, but Christianity declares it’s by depending upon the work of Jesus Christ alone.
All religions tell you, “Work your way to Heaven.” Christianity says, “God Himself came from Heaven to do the work for you.” If you believe there are many roads and they all lead to Heaven, in reality what you’re affirming is, I can pick up your phone, punch in any ten numbers and it’ll ring my wife’s phone. But you know there’s only one number that can reach my wife–and I have her number. There’s only one right number and every other number is wrong.
And Jesus taught in the New Testament that He is the way, He is the truth, and He is the light and Jesus declared, “No one comes to the Father, except through Me.” By saying that, Jesus states there’s only one way–only one. And He, Jesus, is the way. You see, the person who cares most about Christmas is God. Why? Because Christmas was His plan.
Two thousand years ago, God came to Earth as a human being. Jesus Christ was God in a bod. The Bible says God came so we can be made right with the God we’ve offended. God was born as a baby, lived a perfect life, died on the cross, rose from the dead, and ascended back to Heaven not to be a religious leader, nor to establish a worldwide faith—this was not a movement and He is not a mere example—no, the Bible clearly states why Jesus came.
When studying the Word of God, you’ll find it makes several clear statements about the remarkable reasons Jesus came. And this Christmas eve, I want to show you six reasons, all of them beginning with the letter “R”. These will change the way you look at the Christmas story, and for some, it could make the difference between spending eternity in Heaven instead of Hell. Follow along in your outline, for Jesus came at the . . .
#1 Right time
Look carefully at Galatians 4:4, “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law.” The Bible says Jesus came in the fullness of time–it means the best time. The first Christmas was perfectly timed. God ordered world events so everything was ready for Christ’s coming—Joseph, Mary, the census, Bethlehem, no room, birthed in a manger. All were God’s perfect plan.
The fullness of time is the very moment God completed His preparation for His Son’s arrival. The God who existed before time was now born a baby “when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son.” Culturally, the world had become unified. More people than ever were being educated. Alexander the Great made Greek the common language throughout the known world. Politically, the Roman Empire was at its height. Rome had given the world good roads, a somewhat fair system of government, and most important, peace.
Rome had instituted the Pax Romana (the Roman peace), which provided economic and political stability. For the first time in history, people could travel safely almost anywhere in the empire. Spiritually, when Jesus was born, the Old Testament was completed and written not only in Hebrew, but also translated into Greek so everyone could learn the Bible. The Jews just developed synagogues where they gathered weekly to hear the Word of God.
Sadly, emptiness of heart was also at its highest–people who tried religion found the Greek gods behaved worse than actors on daytime soaps. Roman gods were an excuse to get drunk and be immoral. Roman polytheism, rational philosophies, even emperor worship all left people hollow. The Jews had externalized their faith. The desperate need for forgiveness, a new heart and a new life was at its most desperate ache. All religion was legalistic, mechanical and heartless, leaving people with little hope and many fears.
Then at the perfect moment, Jesus was born a baby in Bethlehem. Next to His crucifixion, the birth of Jesus Christ was the most momentous event in the history of the world. CS Lewis called the birth of God as man the greatest miracle that has ever occurred. The birth of Jesus is the focal point of all history.
It was so important, the entire world numbers its years according to Christ’s birth. Your calendar is not based on Buddha, Mohammed or Mary—it’s based on Christ. B.C. means “before Christ,” and A.D. is Latin for “in the year of our Lord.” Jesus made a greater impact on the world than anyone before or after. That Christmas child never wrote a book, never held political office and wasn’t wealthy. Yet no person affected history like Christ. Jesus came just at the right time–to do what? To . . .
#2 Reach sinners
Listen to Jesus in Luke 5:31 and 32, “Jesus … said to them, ‘It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.’” Jesus came to reach sinners. He didn’t come to reach those who think they’re good with God. He came to reach those who know they’re in trouble with God.
Did you see the contrast in Luke 5:31 between sinners and righteous? The righteous think they live good enough for God to accept. The sinner knows he deserves God’s wrath forever, no matter how nice he lives. The righteous think people are basically good. The sinner knows people are inclined toward evil. In Luke 1, Mary told you she needed a Savior from sin. In Matthew 1, the magi brought gifts reflecting the death of a Savior from sin. In Luke 2, Simeon held the baby Jesus and called Him our salvation from sin. Christ was born a baby to rescue you from your sin.
I read an article once titled, There’s always something. The author said, if you want to dig up dirt on somebody, there’s always something. If you want to dig up dirt on me, there’s some dirt you can dig up. If I want to dig up some dirt on you, I’m going to find some stuff, if I dig long enough–true? Why is that? Why do you all have something? Because you and I are sinners.
Why do people hurt you, hate you, lie about you and snub you? Why is their bigotry and prejudice? I went to help move my mom to a good home with my brother and sister. One lady who is helping us find a home in Spokane said, “Oh, the lady who runs this home is black–is that a problem with anyone?” I gasped–my mouth dropped open in shock! Why would that be a problem for anyone? Why would you even ask that question?
I’m offended the question was even asked–I was really angry! Then I remembered–this is a fallen, sinful, sick world, filled with prejudice. So, make it personal. Why are you selfish, hateful, lustful, greedy, angry or proud? Answer–you’re a sinner! When a baby is born, the very first word they learn to say is “mine”–and it wants, what it wants, when it wants it. And if we don’t supply on demand, then they cry and make a literal stink about it.
I was recently on an airplane with a two-year-old in the row in front of me—and it seemed all that child knew how to say was, “NO, no, no, no . . .” for two solid hours. I was so thankful for headphones. As we get older we definitely hide it better, but we still have a basic nature that says, “I want to live for me.”
You’ve heard it and maybe you have even said it–“Look out for number one . . . do your own thing.” The Bible calls this nature sin–and the middle letter of the word sin is “I”, an I problem, a selfish problem. I will do what I want to do–I will be my own boss. The Bible states each of us has a tendency to sin–we want to run our life without God. And even if you do acknowledge God, it is typically on your own terms, only in your own way.
If Isaiah 53:6 were written today, it would say, “All of us, like sheep, have done our own thing, everybody wants to live their own way.” It’s sin which breaks your relationships and causes God to condemn you. Isaiah 59:2 says your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” You fall short of God’s standard.
The Bible teaches your sin is the root of all your problems. Sin is the cause of the problems in your marriage, family, with your finances and friends. Sin is the cause of international tensions and national problems—it’s not the democrats. When the Bible says, “All have sinned,” does that mean Billy Graham has sinned? Yes. Mother Teresa? Yes. Has the Pope sinned? Yes. Has Hillary sinned? How about Trump? Does it mean I have sinned? Yes. And you too!
Why does Jesus say, “I’ve not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance”? If you don’t admit you’re sick, you won’t go to the doctor. Jesus was born to provide the only cure to sin. Luke 5:31, so are you the righteous who believe you’re good enough to stand before a perfect God? Or are you an admitted sinner–one who is sick over your sin, turning to the only doctor who can cure you? Jesus Christ, the baby born on Christmas is the only solution for your sin disease. Jesus also came to . . .
#3 Rescue the lost
Why did Jesus come? Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” The good news is Jesus not only came to reach sinners, but to rescue them. The Christmas baby wasn’t born to appeal to motherhood. Jesus was born on a mission. I was with my sisters when they saw a picture of a newborn and went, “Ahhh!” People look at the manger and say, “Ahhh.”
But Jesus says He was born for a task. Like a firefighter seeking to rescue a person lost in a burning building, Jesus came to seek sinners and bring them to safety. You see, sin demands judgment. A sinless God must judge sin and the wages of sin is death–someone perfect had to die. You and I are not perfect. But Christ the God-man is perfect. As a man, He could be our substitute and die for your sins. Plus as God, Jesus could satisfy the Father’s anger over your sin.
So Christ came as a baby to rescue you from sin. Sadly, there’s a big problem–this verse reminds you people are lost, meaning they don’t see the danger. As a lifeguard, the people who caused the most problem were those who didn’t realize the danger they faced from riptides and certain kinds of surf.
Sadly, many people today don’t realize the danger/trouble they’re in with God. They’re lost in sin, but make no effort to be found. Yet something gnaws at them, so they try to fix the problem on their own. They try everything else as a solution rather than turning to Christ. Some try drugs, alcohol, or an affair. Others go to therapy, try meditation, or live at the gym.
People look for answers to help them cope with their difficulties. But Proverbs 16:25 says, “There are ways that seem right to man, but they only end in death.” All their solutions are dead ends. Even when you know your deepest need is God, people often try the wrong ways to get right with Him. They think, “I’ll work at giving up all my bad habits,” or, “It doesn’t matter what you believe, just be sincere.” Or “My mother was a Christian, so I must be a Christian,” or “I’ll just become religious, go to church and that will get me into Heaven.”
Or, “I’ll work real hard to live good and earn my place in Heaven.” But each one of those routes is a lie. God doesn’t grade on the curve. In order to be good enough to get to Heaven, you’d have to be as good as God–you’d have to be perfect. Perfect! But your sin killed that dream. Some try to live right and earn their way to Heaven, but Christ says fully surrender to Him and He’ll make you right for Heaven.
What makes it worse is this–God won’t let us rebel forever and His just punishment for our sinful revolt will be judgment, then torment forever. Hebrews 9:27, “It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.” We need rescue, so Jesus came to make your rescue possible. He alone can make imperfect people acceptable to God and ready for Heaven. In Luke 2, Anna in the Temple said Jesus is the one who will provide redemption. The baby came on a mission to rescue you. Jesus also came to . . .
#4 Replace God’s anger as our substitute
The baby of Christmas came to take the punishment you deserve for sin. First John 4:10 exposes God’s heart when He says, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” God the Father loved us so much He sent His Son.
God knew we could not help ourselves. God knew we could not fix our sin problem. God knew His just and righteous anger over our sin required Him to judge then punish every sinner, unless God came up with a different plan–the Christmas plan. God fixed your sin problem by choosing a substitute. This was God’s loving plan, to rescue rebellious sinners by providing a substitute.
Look at verse 10, “God sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” Propitiation is the term which describes how God justly deals with His anger over sin. Jesus became our propitiation–our substitute. In order for you to be saved and go to Heaven, God’s justice had to be satisfied. Jesus is fully God, so God the Son could satisfy God the Father. And God poured out His anger for your sin upon His own Son as our substitute.
The wages of sin is death–the payment due for sin is death. Someone perfect had to die and God loved us so much He sent His perfect Son to die in our place so all of God’s wrathful anger for our sin could fall on Christ while he hung on the cross. This is why the Christmas baby was born–Jesus was born to be your substitute. Jesus took your place and took God’s wrath for your sin upon Himself.
Can you imagine a young prince getting caught stealing? The law of the land demands he must be caned 39 times. But being a 10-year-old, that punishment will kill him. Yet to remain king, this boy’s father must abide by the law and punish his son. As they are about to cane the little boy, everyone gasps as the king stops the process.
But what he does next creates shock and tears–for he strips to the waist, steps down to the market pole where his son is tied, and with his massive body the king covers his son’s body completely. Then he commands the sentence to be carried out. That is what Jesus Christ did for you–He was born on Christmas, ultimately to get to the cross in order to take the punishment you deserve for your sins. So is a relationship with God only about what Christ did in the past? No. You can be alive to God now through Christ in a . . .
#5 Relationship of love and life
First John 4:9, “By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.” God sent His only begotten Son because He loves you, so you might fully live. Jesus was born in a manger in order to restore His children to a relationship with God.
By submitting to Christ, you are made alive to God, your eyes are open, you have a new heart, God indwells you. You’re given true love, joy in relationships, peace of mind, forgiveness from guilt, rescued from condemnation and freedom from slavery to sins. You all know to some degree and in some flavor the power of addictions, right? Are you addicted? Caffeine, food, porn, alcohol, drugs, chocolate, In-N-Out, toys, clothes, sleeping pills, cats, friendships, Hemet, a car, kids, sports, sex, social media, shoes, video games, Fox news, politics, Disneyland, movies, football, the mall, lust, lying, money, fear, complaining, worry and so much more are masters which enslave people.
These are chains Christ can break. John 8:32 and 36, “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. 36 If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” Salvation in Jesus Christ alone gives God’s chosen children freedom from slavery. It is Christ alone who actually indwells and internally transforms His children, giving them freedom from fear, freedom from guilt, freedom from addictions. Additionally, but not as important, it can free you of cats and Hemet. When you’re rightly related to the God who made you, your life finds purpose, since you now know what you’re created to do.
Yet Christ didn’t merely come to Earth to be born as a baby, die on the cross, resurrect from the dead, then ascend into Heaven. That is not how the story ends. There is a second Christmas coming–Jesus is coming back. But this time He’ll come as the conquering King of the entire world.
#6 Return and Rule all
In John 14:3 Jesus says, “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” Jesus is coming back! You already know the Old Testament was translated from Hebrew into Greek one hundred years before Christ was born. And you know that same Old Testament contains hundreds of predictions of exactly who the Savior would be and what the Savior would do.
I’m certain you know Christ fulfilled those prophecies concerning His first coming exactly 2,000 years ago. What prophecies? That Christ would be from the tribe of Judah, born in Bethlehem, born of a virgin, other children would be slaughtered around His birth, they’d escape to Egypt, Christ would later be beaten, tortured and killed for sin, and many others.
You know statistically the odds of all those prophecies being fulfilled in just one person are incalculable–the odds are astronomical. But have you considered, there are just as many prophecies in the Old and New Testament concerning Christ’s Second Coming in the future? Just as Christ literally fulfilled the first coming, He will literally fulfill His Second Coming.
But this time, Jesus will not arrive veiled in his humanity. He will not be born as a baby. He will come in glory as the fully revealed God-man, the Lord, the Almighty King. Christ will arrive to judge, then rule this planet as God! If you’re not in Christ, you will be eternally punished. Matthew 13:42, “He will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” If you are in Christ, you will be with Him forever in Heaven. John 14:3, “I will come again, that where I am, there you may be also.”
This Christmas, the Bible calls you to respond. Exchange all that you are for all that Christ is. Surrender, repent and believe. The little child born on Christmas morning is your God and your Creator—and on that day, you will bow before Jesus Christ as Lord. Every one of you will bow. Philippians 2:10 to 11, “At the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
The only choice you have today is to determine when you will bow to Christ–will you bow now or later? Will you bow now in submission to Christ as your Lord? Turn from your sin and depend in faith on Christ alone. Exchange all that you are for all that He is. Or you will bow later to Christ, forcing Him to condemn you to Hell forever for your sinful rebellion. The little baby of Christmas is coming back as your Ruler. I beg you to bow to Christ now. Let’s pray.