Summary: As we transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas we start thinking about the arrival of Jesus. We see nativity scenes and we read about the shepherds and the wise men. But do we stop to consider all the reasons why he came?
WHY DID JESUS COME?
INTRODUCTION: As we transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas we start thinking about the arrival of Jesus into the world. We see manger scenes depicting the baby Jesus with his mom and earthly father. We hear about the shepherds and the wise men. It was the most exciting news since the exodus. Interestingly, God delivered his people in a miraculous way then and he was about to do so again; albeit this time the deliverance would be spiritual.
1) Jesus came to be 'God with us'.
Matt. 1:21-23, "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”
In the Old Testament you had God showing himself to people in magnificent ways: pillars of cloud and fire, bright light, wind, thunder, hearing a voice only; things like that. Rarely did God show himself to people. Moses was allowed that privilege when he went up on the mountain to receive the ten commandments. The High Priest was allowed to go into the most holy place once a year where he would "meet with God".
But now, with the arrival of Jesus, you had the presence of God with the people face to face. Because God took on human form he could be in the presence of his people without them being afraid like they often were when God manifested himself to this people. Jesus was holy but he was also human; allowing there to be a personal presence. Jesus' coming would usher in the personal connection to God. Now they could experience the fullness of his love, mercy and grace from a practical, hands-on level. They would see first-hand God's ways in the purest examples.
The religious leaders had warped God's law by adding to it or confusing it by adding in their traditions. But Jesus Came to clarify the misrepresentations and show and teach what God had originally intended with his laws. Jesus promoted the laws of love and forgiveness; mercy and grace-as well as the need to obey. Jesus went against the status quo by ministering to Samaritans and women and children.
He taught servitude and humility. He emulated what it looked like to love God with all heart, soul, strength and mind. Jesus came to show us God so that we could be close and personal with him. Jesus came to show us that God isn't just someone who has a set of rules to follow; he wasn't just someone to fear. He was someone who wanted to nurture us and help us grow. Jesus came to make God relatable and show us how much God loves us.
2) Jesus came to serve.
Matt. 20:25-28, "Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—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.”
James and John, along with their mother, came to make a request of Jesus-that the two of them could sit on either side of him in his kingdom. The rest of the disciples were ticked off about it. They had trouble like this before when they were found arguing about which one of them was the greatest. Jesus saw both of these incidents as teachable moments. He knew how pride was a great stronghold. He taught them that he, although being the Lord, didn't come to demand servitude but rather to be a servant to others. He wanted his disciples to learn the lesson of humility. Jesus came to show and teach us humility.
John 13:12-17, "When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."
Jesus served them in humility. He was their Lord but he humbled himself and washed their feet (something they weren't willing to do for him). And I like how he didn't ask for them to wash his feet in return-but each others' instead. Jesus wanted people to humbly serve one another. The disciple's examples are really no different than ours. We have the tendency to try to get ahead of others. We tend to have no problem with others serving us without the same determination to serve others. Jesus came to serve; not be served and he wants us to adopt the same level of humility and selflessness.