Summary: What God really wants for Christmas is disciples. Therefore all people should respond to his desire and give Him absolute control of their lives.
Have you ever considered how backwards Christmas is?
What if I invited you all to a birthday party for Bethany, and instead of giving gifts to her, you all came and gave gifts to each other? There would be one disappointed 9 year old, I’ll tell you that.
Whose birthday is it that we celebrate at Christmas, anyway? It is JESUS’ birthday, and if we are truly celebrating HIS birthday, shouldn’t we take a look at what HE wants for Christmas?
That’s precisely what we’re going to do for the next 4 weeks. What does JESUS want for Christmas? (And it’s not his two front teeth!)
One of the biggest things on His list is DISCIPLES.
Disciple is a word we often misunderstand – like it is something limited to the original 12 men that Jesus chose and taught for 3 years of ministry. Those men were disciples, of course, but they weren’t the only ones.
A disciple is a follower of another’s teaching. A student. An adherent to the teachings of another.
The last words of Jesus before He left the earth tell us what he wanted:
Matt. 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…
When Jesus walked the Earth, he was looking for disciples, and I believe he still wants people to choose to be his disciples today.
Disciples drop their own priorities and follow Jesus.
Matt. 4:18 ¶ As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.
Matt. 4:19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”
Matt. 4:20 At once they left their nets and followed him.
Matt. 4:21 ¶ Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them,
Matt. 4:22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
“At once they left their nets and followed him.”
“…immediately they left the boat and their faither and followed him.”
This is the response of a disciple to the words of Jesus Christ.
We don’t literally hear Jesus call us today, but if we are receptive to His voice, we can receive the prompting of the Holy Spirit to do something in His name. And we can always read the Bible and receive the Word of the Lord for how we are to live.
But the problem with too many Christians is that we hear the word of the Lord, but do not respond to it. We know what Jesus wants us to do, but we think that obeying would be “too uncomfortable” or “too extreme”.
Jesus calls people to make extreme choices for him.
Luke 14:25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters — yes, even his own life — he cannot be my disciple. 27 And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? 29 For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’
31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.
Jesus had an interesting way of establishing his Kingdom. Think of it – he’s only got 3 years of active ministry to set the foundation for the church. You’d think he would want as many followers as possible. And what’s the way to draw a large crowd of people? Give them what they want – like healing them and feeding them. Well, he does some of these types of things – but at this point in his public ministry he takes a look over the crowd and understands that what he really needs isn’t a large crowd of people following Him. (In fact I believe he thought he had TOO MANY people in the crowd following Him.) What he needs are people who are truly committed to being His disciples, and are willing to demonstrate that commitment by giving up all stake they have had in their own life and future. What he needs are people who are so committed to Him and His Kingdom that it eclipses all of their earthly relationships. What does Jesus want for Christmas? He wants disciples.