Summary: Three reasons from Isaiah 61:1-2 for why Jesus came.
We’re continuing our Christmas series in hopes of fostering a more meaningful Christmas. We get so busy with travel plans, shopping, parties and the like that we forget whose birthday we are celebrating. Christmas celebrates Jesus’ birthday.
The December 1999 issue of Time Magazine contained an article titled “Man of the Millennium,” naming Jesus Christ as the single most powerful figure – in all human history. He surpassed people like Muhammad, Catherine the Great, Marx, Gandhi, and others. As we pondered who Jesus was last Sunday, we concluded that he was more than a persuasive leader or a moral teacher, but that he was the Son of God, equal to God.
This morning we will look at why Jesus came. In other words, why did God come in the form of a Jewish man some two thousand years ago? Was he like a manager at your work, coming to “inspect what he expect”? Was he coming to build trust and gain support like the politicians?
If I ask you why Jesus came, how would you answer? Maybe some of you would reply, “He came to save us.” Or, “He came to die for our sins.” Or, “He came to reveal God to us.” Or, “He came to show us He loved us.” Or, “He came to fulfill what was said about Him in the Old Testament.” These are all true, and in His coming, Jesus accomplished much more.
A good place to learn why Jesus came is in one of the four records of Jesus’ life in the Bible, the record by Luke. Luke records the birth of Jesus, His infancy, a brief episode of Jesus’ boyhood, the baptism of Jesus, and the temptation of Jesus in the desert. What we will look at this morning is an early episode in Jesus’ public ministry, Luke 4:14-21.
When I was in college, I loved a girl who had no clue that I loved her. She already had a boyfriend, and she saw that we were just good friends. One time, when she told me how much she was hurting, I wrote her a poem. The poem was about a person who cared a lot about her hurts and wanted to be there for her. I was describing myself, and I eventually told her.
God wrote a letter through His prophet Isaiah about a Person who would come and set His people free. God was talking about Himself. And God came in Jesus Christ to tell His people that Isaiah was describing Him. From this excerpt of Isaiah’s writing, we can learn why Jesus came. Let’s look together.
First, Jesus came to free us from our poverty. Verse 18.
Jesus didn’t come to make us all middle class Americans with a three-bedroom house and a two-car garage. He didn’t come to end poverty or balance the socio-economic classes. Yet, Jesus did come to free us from our poverty.
Many of us do not see that we are living in poverty. We see poverty in those children to whom we sent the shoeboxes full of toys. We see poverty in those on the television for whom donations are made. We see poverty in those who are homeless and without sufficient nutritional or medical care.
Esther has several pieces of gold jewelry in our safety deposit box. We don’t let her wear them, because she isn’t responsible enough to handle them. Instead, we let her wear toy necklaces and bracelets that we don’t mind having broken or lost. But she is quite content with them. All she cares is that they are purple and sparkly.
God has given us priceless gifts that we are either unaware of or have ignored. Instead we are content with things that can break, go out of style or be stolen. The more we have of these things that can break, go out of style or be stolen, the wealthier we feel. And the wealthier we feel, the more difficult for us to see our true poverty.
Yet, Jesus came to set us free from our poverty by recovering our vision for life as God intended. Jesus said in Luke 12:15, “… a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Our wealth consists of things that cannot break, rot or be stolen.
For instance, God made us in his image. But many times we’re more concerned about our personal image than God’s image. Our personal image comes from how we present ourselves and how we measure up according to worldly success. God’s image in us comes from how much we are like Jesus Christ.
God gave us companionship through the people He put into our lives. But many times we are more concerned about our paychecks, promotions and possessions than we are about people. Things are not eternal; people are; and true wealth has eternal permanence.