Summary: Jesus Christ came to 1. The sinful. 2. The poor and sick. 3. The Faithful.
Last week we spoke about the prophecies that brought hope to the minds and hearts of God’s people — those who were anticipating the arrival of God’s Messiah into the world. Those prophesies created such longing, such expectancy and such a desire to see what God was going to do in the world that many people were heavy with anticipation. Just the presence of the prophetic promises of God sustained the hope of God’s people. But if the promise of a Savior was wonderful, the fulfillment of the promise was much more so. The promise gave way to reality. Faith became sight, and longing became fulfillment. The presence of God in the world has changed the world in more ways than we can possibly understand — especially for those who saw God’s Gift with their own eyes.
Have you ever wondered how many actual healings Jesus performed during his time on earth? How many people who were blind, lame, diseased and broken did Jesus touch and free from the bondage of disease and disability? How many sinful people did he forgive and give hope that they could be something different? How many beaten down and discouraged people did Christ literally lift and give new respect? How many received a new strength to be someone different? Wouldn’t it be interesting to hear all their stories? Wouldn’t it be fascinating to follow them along and see how their lives turned out after a divine touch from the living Son of God? I’m sure that at the end of their lives they could not have imagined what their lives would have been like if it had not been for God’s Son coming into the world.
I think about people like John the Baptist, Mary Magdalene, and the Disciples — men like Peter and John. What about Mary and Martha and their brother Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead? How different their lives were because of the arrival of God’s Promise How many stories could be told of those whose lives had been eternally touched by the presence of Christ in the world? If his promise brought hope, his presence did more so.
Let’s look at some different groups of people whose lives were forever changed by the fulfillment of God’s Word as it came through the prophets. For whom and for what purpose did Christ come? First, Jesus Christ came to the sinful. In his love and compassion he fed the multitudes and healed the sick, but his primary purpose in coming was to forgive our sins and restore us to a relationship with God. We don’t take sin very seriously in our culture, and many people don’t think God should either. We don’t even want the Ten Commandments posted in public places. We welcome a God who comes to feed us, heal us and comfort us, but we are not as welcoming to one who calls us to recognize our sin and turn from it. So the real meaning of Christmas is lost to us, because the real message of Christmas is this: a Savior has come into the world. The reason a Savior came is because we needed to be saved from our sins. The Bible gives the message and meaning of Christmas with these familiar words: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16-17).
I think about all the people in the New Testament who found forgiveness. I think of Mary Magdalene — a sinful woman, sinful enough to have seven demons inside (Mark 16:9), but who found new meaning and hope in life because Jesus Christ looked past her sin and saw her need. I think of a sinful, foul-mouthed, hard-hitting fisherman name Peter. I wonder what his life would have been like without Jesus. He would have been just one more bone-headed, unwashed man who may have abused his wife and cheated at business. Just one man in a long line of men throughout history living a base existence, without a clue that there is something more to life. No one would have ever heard of him, and he may have caused more pain than pleasure in his brief existence.
I think about a man who was a paralytic who was brought to Jesus by four friends. They thought that his biggest problem was his physical paralysis, but Jesus saw his real problem: his spiritual paralysis. He said to him, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven” (Matthew 9:2). Wouldn’t it be wonderful to know “the rest of the story.” Did he marry and have a family after his healing? Did he follow Jesus wherever he went? Did he tell this story throughout the country and bring many people to Christ? What kind of work did he chose, and what kind of life did he live?