Christmas has become such a busy time of year with decorations, parties, shopping, cooking and such. There is a magazine called Garbage magazine and years ago it gave the following stats about Christmas:
Americans used 28,497,464 rolls and sheets of wrapping paper, 16,826,362 packages of tags and bows, 372,430,684 greeting cards, and 35,200,000 Christmas trees during the 1989 Christmas season. Garbage Magazine, quoted in Signs of the Times, 12-1991, p. 7.
Who can doubt that the garbage produced by Christmas today is even greater? Jesus didn’t come to produce garbage. But why did He come?
With all the activity it is easy to forget about the meaning of Christmas, the reason for the season. Why did He come? Why did Jesus come? If we really want to know the reason for the season we should go to Jesus and see what He said. What did Jesus say was the purpose of His coming? The specific phrase, “I have come” (in which Jesus indicates why He came), is uttered by Jesus 10 times in the gospels. Let’s look at what Jesus said about why He came.
Why did Jesus come? Jesus came to give a message. Jesus said, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth.”(Mark 1:38; Luke 4:43). He came to preach. Jesus even gave the content of His message saying He came to bear witness to the truth (which is the word of God according to Him - John 17:17). He said, “. . . for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” (John 18:37). Have you heard His message of truth and have you received it by faith?
Jesus didn’t only communicate His message verbally, but He communicated it by His nature. Jesus said He came in His Father’s name: “I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.” (John 5:43). To come in someone’s name meant you came as a representative; you came in a way to convey the will and nature of that person. Jesus came in His Father’s name in that He revealed the nature of God because He was and is God in the flesh (John 1:1-2,14; 10:30; 14:6-11; Colossians 1:19; 2:9-10). That is the real communication of Christmas.
Why did Jesus come? Jesus came to divide. It is common to think that Jesus came to unite, but in fact Jesus’ own words indicate He came for just the opposite purpose; He came to divide. The evidence of this provocative statement is found in Matthew 10:34 where it states, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.” Jesus goes on to say that there would be family division because of Him (see Matthew 10:34-39). Family gatherings at Christmas can often erupt into all out war. But the tension and stress and division Jesus is talking about here is not caused by family squabbles or wrong or bad gifts, it is caused by taking a stand with Jesus.
Our hearts are often filled with divided loyalties. We are divided between the world and Jesus; our own self centered desires (lusts) versus our relationship with Jesus. In the process of change for the better, for something to be made right, it must often first be broken down. Sometimes before peace comes, there is a battle, even a war (e.g. Before Romans 8, there is a Romans 7). A divided heart has to be broken before it can receive what God has for it (Joel 2:12-14). Jesus is either Lord of all in your life or He is not Lord at all. For Jesus to do His work in your heart, in your life and beyond that to your family and loved ones, He must be first and Lord. If Jesus is not Lord in your life, when He gives instruction by the Holy Spirit, you may not follow it, or you may only partially follow it and make things worse than they already are. You have to lose your life in Him. You have to totally trust in Jesus for Him to work effectively in you (Acts 8:37).
A time will come when we will need to take a stand for Jesus in the presence of our unsaved family members and friends. We are not to take such a stand in and unloving insensitivity or harshness. That would bring shame to the name of Jesus. But we are to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15; 1 Peter 3:15-16). We need to put Jesus first and care more for the lost souls of family members than merely keeping the peace or status quo of Christmas. That is the real challenge of Christmas.
Why did Jesus come? Jesus came to do God’s will. Early in His ministry and life Jesus said: “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” (John 6:38). To accomplish God’s will Jesus would have to give His life as a ransom, a payment to God’s justice for the penalty of sin (Matthew 26:36-46; Romans 6:23; 2 Corinthians 5:21). It is because of Jesus’ obedience and sacrifice that we can be saved from our sin (1 John 1:7, 9; 2:1-2). That is the real compassion of Christmas.
Why did Jesus come? Jesus came “for judgment,” to be the deciding factor in life. Jesus said: “For judgment I have come into this world, . . . ” (John 9:39a). Not everyone accepts that Jesus is God or even that they are separated from God because of their sin. Jesus came as the deciding factor; He came that those who are genuinely seeking can find eternal life in Him and that those who are playing games will be exposed for their hypocrisy. Jesus is the fulcrum, the watershed, the deciding factor in your eternal destiny. What you do with Jesus will determine whether or not you remain lost in or are saved from your sin. Give Jesus your heart; trust your heart to Him and He will give you a new heart suited for eternal life with Him (Jeremiah 17:9-10; Ezekiel 18:31; 36:26). That is the real call of Christmas.
Why did Jesus come? Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. The result of Jesus sacrifice was to disarm Satan and ultimately all his works. The New Testament says: “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8; see also Colossians 2:13-15; Hebrews 2:14). Never forget that you are in a spiritual (Ephesians 6:10-18). Satan is a loser and he knows it. But he still has some fight in him. Christmas time is a battle of the bulge in more ways than one. That is the real combat of Christmas.
Why did Jesus come? Jesus came to comfort the hurting. Remember, though there is often pain in following Jesus, He will not let you be tested beyond what you are able (1 Corinthians 10:13) and He will not allow you to be broken beyond repair. Whatever breaking God allows in your life will be used for His good purposes (Romans 8:28-29). Of Jesus it was said, “A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench, Till He sends forth justice to victory” (Matthew 12:20; Isaiah 42:3). Trust Jesus with everything. That is the real comfort of Christmas.
Why did Jesus come? Jesus came to serve and redeem the lost world. Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45; see also John 3:16-21). Jesus said: “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10). Some go on search and destroy missions; Jesus went on a search, save and disciple mission. And we are called to follow in His steps (1 Peter 2:21; 1 John 2:6). That is the real commitment of Christmas.
That is why Jesus came, that mission was begun at Christmas, the birth of Jesus. Jesus came a long way for you and me. Jesus gave a lot for us; He gave His life so that you and I and every sinner could be brought out of darkness into God’s light and experience salvation from our sin, by God’s grace through faith in Jesus. Has His mission been accomplished in you? Jesus has a gift that surpasses any Christmas gift you’ve ever known, life in Him. To receive that gift of life is as easy as ABC, all you have to do is:
• Admit you are a sinner (like all humans are) – Romans 3:23. Understand that sin left unattended to will lead first to physical death and then eternal death (eternal separation from God) – Romans 6:23a; Ezekiel 18:4. Turn from your sinful life to Jesus and God will give you a fresh start (Acts 2:38).
• Believe and receive Jesus as your Savior (Romans 6:23b; Romans 8:9-10). Don’t depend on your works, they can’t deal with your sin, depend on Jesus; Jesus completed work on the cross is what deals with sin (Ephesians 2:8-19; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Titus 3:5).
• Commit your life wholeheartedly to Him; live for Him (Acts 2:42; 8:37; Galatians 2:20; 1 Peter 2:21; 1 John 2:6).
M.R. Dehaan, founder of the Radio Bible Class wrote the following poem that is a good summation of the reason Jesus came.
Can This Be Christmas
What's all this hectic rush and worry?
Where go these crowds who run and scurry?
Why all the lights -- the Christmas trees?
The jolly "fat man," tell me please!
Why, don't you know? This is the day
For parties and for fun and play;
Why this is Christmas!
So this is Christmas, do you say?
But where is Christ this Christmas day?
Has He been lost among the throng?
His voice drowned out by empty song?
No. He's not here -- you'll find Him where
Some humble soul now kneels in prayer,
Who knows the Christ of Christmas.
But see the many aimless thousands
Who gather on this Christmas Day,
Whose hearts have never yet been opened,
Or said to Him, "Come in to stay."
In countless homes the candles burning,
In countless hearts expectant yearning
For gifts and presents, food and fun,
And laughter till the day is done.
But not a tear of grief or sorrow
For Him so poor He had to borrow
A crib, a colt, a boat, a bed
Where He could lay His weary head.
I'm tired of all this empty celebration,
Of feasting, drinking, recreation;
I'll go instead to Calvary.
And there I'll kneel with those who know
The meaning of that manger low,
And find the Christ -- this Christmas.
I leap by faith across the years
To that great day when He appears
The second time, to rule and reign,
To end all sorrow, death, and pain.
In endless bliss we then shall dwell
With Him who saved our souls from hell,
And worship Christ -- not Christmas!
God bless you with His coming and have a meaningful Spirit filled Christmas.