Summary: On Christmas Day we celebrate the coming of Jesus into the world. However, when we think of the manger, we also need to be thinking about the cross. Why? Because Jesus was born to die.
BORN TO DIE
INTRODUCTION: On Christmas Day we celebrate the coming of Jesus into the world. However, when we think of the manger, we also need to be thinking about the cross. Why? Because Jesus was born to die.
1) Why did Jesus come to earth? The bible lists various reasons Jesus came to earth. But there are two main reasons that I want to focus on.
• He came to be Immanuel. Matt. 1:21-23. What is the significance of God becoming one of us? It shows his humility, willingness and love. Phil. 2:5-11. Jesus was in heaven. He was surrounded by all its brilliance, love and holiness. He was the Creator, the Master, the Almighty King. But he became willing to put that royal position aside and leave the pristine palace of heaven to come and subject himself to a new beginning in a messy, stinky, filthy stable. He was born not as a king, not into money, not with fanfare, but in meagerness and humility. The contrast is really beyond our understanding. It’s like if someone was the king of the world and the richest person alive being willing to put all that aside and become a maggot. And then die a cruel death as a hated maggot at that. And I’m sure even that isn’t an accurate portrayal. Also, Jesus’ willingness to be with us was an opportunity to alleviate the thought that there was always this inseparable chasm between God and us. He was holy and up in heaven and we were sinners down on earth and there was always going to be this distance between us and him. God, out of his great love for us, bridged the gap and dwelt among us. He sought to establish a unity, a connection by taking on flesh and blood. It gives us hope. Heb. 2:14-18. In order for death to be conquered, in order for our lives to be free from slavery, we needed Jesus to come in the flesh. There was no way our sins could have been paid for apart from God becoming one of us. And what is so awesome is that God putting on humanity allows us to have courage, strength and hope. When Jesus took on human form he subjected himself to human frailty. He would now feel pain, bleed when he was cut, get tired after a hard day’s work and he would now have to suffer temptation. What makes verse 18 so valid is no one knows temptation better than Jesus. Typically, there is at least one thing we are tempted with that eventually we find ourselves giving in. The more we resist the stronger it gets until we become overwhelmed and give in. but Jesus never sinned, he never gave in. Therefore, the intensity of his temptations just became, over time, more and more intense. But, since he never gave in, he is the only one who knows the full extent of how strong temptation can be. Therefore, no matter how strong our temptations are, they will never be stronger than what Jesus had to endure. And knowing this, we can draw strength in that since Jesus resisted, through his power, we can too. Therefore, that means we have no excuse. Not that we really did have one but I could picture the complaint of the Jews, “How can you judge us? You don’t know what it’s like to be one of us. You aren’t tempted to sin. It’s unfair!” God put an end to that by becoming one of us and dealing with the same trials and temptations that mankind had been dealing with. And he endured it all. Jesus came to earth to be one of us. Immanuel-God with us.
• He came to die. John 12:23-28. Jesus knew he was entering into his final week of life before he was to be crucified. He talks to his disciples about what was to come for him. He signifies that his heart is troubled about what he was going to endure but he makes it clear that he knew that this was the reason for his coming. What’s wonderful is that Jesus knew that his purpose in coming to earth was to die and yet in knowing this he didn’t reject it, he didn’t shy away from this responsibility; instead he fulfilled it. Jesus also stated this purpose in Matt. 20:28, “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus knew his purpose in coming was not to be served, which he had every right to demand, but instead, out of his great humility, he states that his purpose was to serve others. The purpose of Jesus’ whole life was about serving others and the culmination of that servitude was expressed in him giving his life as a ransom for us; in going to the cross and paying the penalty for our sins. As wonderful as the birth of Jesus was it should serve to remind us of the purpose of the event and where it would lead from there-straight to the cross.