Summary: Some people regard Jesus to be like Santa Claus - He’s just a little further up the food chain. But as our Messiah, Jesus came to offer far more than a jolly elf. What is it that Jesus as Messiah offers that this world can not equal?
It was the day after Christmas at a church in San Francisco. The preacher, was looking at the nativity outside when he noticed the baby Jesus was missing. Immediately, he turned towards the church to call the police. But as he was about to do so, he saw little Jimmy with a red wagon, and in the wagon was the figure of the little infant, Jesus.
The preacher walked up to Jimmy and said, "Hi, Jimmy, where did you get the baby?"
Jimmy replied, "I got him from the church."
"And why did you take him?"
With a sheepish smile, Jimmy said, "Well, about a week before Christmas I prayed to little Lord Jesus. I told him if he would bring me a red wagon for Christmas, I would give him a ride around the block in it."
Little Jimmy wasn’t trying to hurt anybody. He was just doing what little boys do. He just figured if Jesus did him a favor, it was only right to return the kindness. He saw Jesus as a kind of religious Santa Claus. Just like going to the mall and sitting on Santa’s lap and asking for a special toy. In his mind, Jesus was just a little farther up the food chain.
Today we’re going to talking about people who see Jesus as a religious “Santa Claus”. They see Him as far enough up God’s food chain to supply them with all their wants and desires.
In our text today – the angel declared: “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11
When the angel… that said this newborn baby was to be “the Christ” he was declaring that this child was to be the fulfillment of centuries of Biblical promises. When the Jews referred to these promises – they spoke of the coming Messiah.
“Christ” and “Messiah” are essentially the same word
They both mean the same thing.
They both mean “The anointed one.”
This anointed one – this Messiah/Christ – was the description the Jews used to sum up the prophecies in the Old Testament that declared – God was sending “somebody”. And that somebody was going to fix everything that was wrong in Israel.
Jeremiah 23:5 (for example) prophesied: "The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.”
Isaiah 11:2-5 declared: “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD—and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
And in Micah 5:4-5a God declared “He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be their peace.”
The coming Messiah was going to fix everything for God’s people, because:
1. He would reign wisely
2. He would be righteous
3. He would help the needy and poor
4. He would shepherd the flock
5. and He would give God’s people security and peace.
The problem was, the Jews had taken to seeing this coming Messiah to be kinda like a Santa Claus dressed like GI Joe and armed to the teeth with a whole lot of military hardware. And after having spent decades under the iron fist of Rome they weren’t looking for peace… they were itching for war.
By the time of Jesus – the anticipation of a coming warlord type of Messiah had reached a fever pitch
In their minds, if the real Christ/Messiah would just stand up – Israel could throw off the chains of the hated Romans.
And thus, false Messiahs began to pop up all over the place. There was….
· Hezekiah the “brigand” that was executed by Herod
· Then there was his son Judas the Galilean
· And then Judas’ brother Menahem.
· Then there was the prophet Theudas.
· And after him an Egyptian Jew who was put to death by the procurator Felix.