Summary: Celebrate Christmas like Jesus would. viz. without the religious trappings.
Would Jesus celebrate Christmas?
Christmas is possibly the most religious time of year.
It is a time when people who don’t usually think much of Jesus, find themselves humming Carols and they even go to church.
Christmas is classified as a religious holiday.
noun 1 an extended period of recreation, especially away from home. 2 a day of festivity or recreation when no work is done.
noun 1 the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods. 2 a particular system of faith and worship. 3 a pursuit or interest followed with devotion.
Religion is spelt “d-o”; Christianity is spelt “d-o-n-e”
Mk 2:16-22 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the “sinners” and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” 17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” 18 Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Jesus, “How is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?” 19 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. 20 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast. 21 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. 22 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins.”
In this passage Jesus tells religious people some of the reasons why he came to earth.
He tells them
• that he came to save sinners not righteous people
• that he came to bring gladness not sadness
• that he came to bring the new, not patch up the old
As we look in more detail at what he said, keep our question in the back of your mind – “would Jesus celebrate Christmas?”
1. I have come to save sinners, not righteous people
“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
a. This was said at a party held at Levi’s house
i. Levi used to be a tax collector. (nobody likes the tax man) – in Jesus day they were blatant criminals
ii. Levi had just been called by Jesus and he left everything (repented) and followed Jesus.
iii. The first thing he did as a Christian was to invite all his friends to a party so they could meet Jesus.
b. Jesus made his comment to a group of Pharisees
i. Pharisees were a major Jewish group who were very devout in their service of God.
ii. The name meant “called out ones”
iii. They prided themselves in the way they observed the law of Moses.
iv. They were so passionate to serve God that they added laws onto the law.
c. Why were the Pharisees there?
i. They were following him around
ii. Why were they following him around?
1. perhaps looking for ways of trapping him out?
2. perhaps they were jealous
3. perhaps genuinely interested
a. He had just healed someone with leprosy and a paralytic
b. Gamaliel (Act 5) “if what they are doing is of human origin, it will fail. But, if it is of God, you will not be able to stop it.
d. To a Pharisee, what Jesus was doing was sinful
i. He was confusing them totally.
1. how could he have God’s approval (miracles), and yet mix with sinners
ii. Mt 9:13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
iii. Religious people think that their sacrifices score brownie points with God -
and Jesus says that what God wants is for us to be merciful
e. What does that mean to us … at Highway?
i. It means that we are to be merciful to sinners
1. Oh, but we are … by the way, who is that sitting in my seat??
ii. Church is the only organisation where non-members are more important than members.
iii. This is the ‘house’ where the family gather.
iv. How do you treat your guests at your home?
1. Do you leave them to fend for themselves?
v. So, we shouldn’t rush to the coffee shop and crowd out our visitors … we should serve them.