Throughout this series we have been trying to answer the question: Why was Jesus born?
Essentially, we are asking the same question that is on the minds of many around Christmas time: What is the real meaning of Christmas?
Christmas time can often be stressful – end of the year parties and meetings, decorations, shopping for and wrapping all the gifts, etc. It is often hard to focus on the true meaning of Christmas with all the hustle and bustle. Unfortunately, I would argue that for many people the Christmas season is often just a small snapshot of what their entire life looks like. Running around from here to there, participating in activities and doing what everyone else does – yet missing out on the things of God and what he wants.
Something else that has become part of the holiday season is all the different movies and shows. My favorite is the Charlie Brown Christmas. As the plot develops, Charlie Brown becomes more and more frustrated and eventually shouts out to everyone: “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?!” His friend Linus gives a brilliant answer, you can see it here:
The reason why his answer is so great is that he quotes directly from the Bible (Luke 2:8-14). God himself has told us what Christmas is all about, why Jesus was born. If we want to understand why Jesus came to earth, the best way to learn is by reading our Bibles. This is what I have tried to do with all of the reasons that we have studied so far. We have already looked at a number of passages from the Bible, let us consider a few more here.
Romans 3:23-24: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
Ephesians 1:7: “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”
Colossians 1:13-14: “He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
These passages talk about Jesus as our redeemer. Ever since the Fall, God has been involved in redeeming mankind. By far the greatest act of redemption before Jesus came on the scene was in God liberating the Israelites from the hand of the Egyptians, who used them as slaves. The Israelites were in a situation of misery and God showed up in a mighty way and rescued them. This event was so important that the Israelites held an annual festival to celebrate what God had done. It was during this exact festival that Jesus died. In Jesus we see God’s ultimate act of redemption.
Jesus himself said he came to earth in order to “give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). The word he uses for “ransom” is the Greek word lytron, which is the root of the word translated as “redemption” in the three passages mentioned above.
It was used frequently for the act of liberating a slave, as one was required to make a ransom payment in exchange for the setting free of the one who was enslaved. Christ is our redeemer, he paid the price to set us free from our natural condition as sinners, as well as from the penalty to be paid for our sin. Because we are saved by the redeeming work of Christ, the terms “redemption” and “salvation” are often used with the same meaning. We have been redeemed and saved by Jesus!
Remember, it is paramount to understand what he redeemed and saved us from. If we think that Jesus is going to save us from all trouble, then we are wrong. We must understand our condition of sin and that we our guilty before him, then we can understand what he saved us from and why we need redemption.
When Jesus came, HB Charles notes that many people had “expectations of a coming king who would be a political champion and re establish Israel not just as its own free state, but also re-establish its status as one of the great nations among the many in the world.” They failed to recognize their biggest need and focused on something they wanted instead.
“For God knew that what they wanted was not what they needed. Its the same in the world today. If we needed money, if that was our biggest problem, God would have sent an economist. If our biggest problem was education God would have sent a professor. If our biggest problem was government, God would have sent a politician. If our biggest problem was sickness God would have sent a doctor. If our biggest problem was self-image God would have sent a consultant or a therapist. But our biggest problem in the world is sin so God sent a savior. We are sinners who need salvation, we cannot save ourselves but God is mighty to save.”
Questions to consider:
When you want truth on a matter, do you seek to find it in God’s word, or in some other outlet?
What are opinions in the world today as to why Jesus came?
For further reading:
He came for sinners, an article by John Piper
God writes a great story, an article by Christina Fox
Redemptive History, an article by Richard Phillips
The Gospel and the Future of Missions, a sermon by H.B. Charles