“But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Gal. 4:4-5).
Why Did Jesus Come?
Christmas is about the coming of Jesus Christ into the world. It’s about the Son of God, who existed eternally with the Father as the radiance of his glory and exact image of his nature. It’s about the Son of God who took upon Himself human nature and became a man and lived among us (Jn. 1:1-5; Phil. 2:5-9; Hebrews 1:3). He was born in a unique and special way: conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin (Lk. 1:35). Jesus, the Son of God, came as a man in whom “all the fullness of deity dwelt” (Col. 2:9).
Christmas is about the coming of the “fullness of time” that was prophesied by the prophets. A Ruler would be born in Bethlehem (Mic. 5:2); and a child would be born called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6); and the Messiah, the Anointed One, a shoot from the stem of Jesse, a son of David would come (Isa. 11:1-4; Zech. 9:9).
But exactly why did Jesus come? Scripture gives us several reasons why Jesus came into the world 2000 years ago. According to our text, He came to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. What a wonderful thought. We can be brought into the very family of God through Jesus Christ. He came to redeem us! He came to open the way for us to belong to something great!
He Came to Give Abundant Life!
Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself stated, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (Jn. 10:10). The devil has a purpose for your life and so does God. God’s purpose is that you might have life and life more abundantly. Now that doesn’t mean that you won’t have any problems, but rather, it means that in the midst of your problems you will have a peace that passes all understanding because you know that God is working out all things for your good (Ro. 8:28). You are God’s child and you matter to Him. His plan is to develop you to be more and more like Jesus Christ. We do not only have abundant life now but it will be fully manifested in eternity. You can either live up to the potential that God has called you to or you can live down to the potential of the world and the devil.
He Came to Give His Life a Ransom for Many!
Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mk. 10:45). I have always considered this to be one of the most precious statements of our Lord Jesus Christ. He knew His mission on Earth was to provide salvation for all those who would believe in Him by faith. To do this, He had to die as the ransom price to redeem us from slavery to sin. Service and salvation, not power and prestige, were His goals. The word “ransom” literally means the price paid for the redemption of something or someone. Therefore, to pay a “ransom” was the means by which captives or hostages were set free. If no ransom was paid, captives perished in their bondage. So anything that releases anyone from punishment, suffering, sin or bondage is a ransom. People are by nature captives to sin (Eph. 2:3). They are sold under sin (Rom. 7:14). They are under condemnation (Jn. 3:18) They are under a curse (Gal. 3:10). They are under sin’s domain (Rom. 6:12). But Jesus Christ paid the price to “redeem” them from the grips of sin and eternal death. Jesus paid the price with His life. He died in the place of sinners (you and ME), and God accepted His sacrifice and redeemed us from the grips of eternal death.
Isaiah wrote 750 years before Christ came into the world saying, “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed…Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isa. 53:4-5, 10-12). What an amazing prophecy that clearly points to Christ’s ransom for sin. Christ “came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus paid a debt He did not owe. We owed a debt we could not pay. We needed someone to take our sins away. Jesus Christ came to forgive your sin. He not only forgives it but He washes it away. There is a difference. I can forgive you but I can’t wash your sin away. But God in Jesus Christ justifies you and that means “just as if I had never sinned.”
He Came to Heal the Broken Hearted!
Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Lk. 4:18-19). Jesus Christ came to heal the broken hearted and set the captives free. He came to set at liberty those who are oppressed and give sight to the blind.
He Came to Save the World!
Jesus said, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (Jn. 3:17-18). Jesus Christ did not come to condemn anyone. He came to save. People condemn themselves when they reject the saving love of Jesus Christ that is offered to them freely. Like the woman taken in adultery, Jesus said to her, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she replied. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more” (Jn. 8:10-11).
He Came to Destroy the Works of the Devil
“The Son of God came to destroy these works of the Devil” (1 Jn. 3:8b) Jesus came that he might loose, the bonds of sin, and dissolve the power, the influence, and the connection of sin in our lives. Colossians 2:15 says, “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” Hebrews 2:14 says, “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” We are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ. We have victory in Him. To continue sinning habitually is to involve yourself in what Christ came to destroy. There is real victory against sin for those who are transformed by the working power of the Holy Spirit in their life. The Greek word for “destroy” is “luo.” It carries the idea of “subdue,” or to overcome Satan’s dominion. It’s not used in the sense of “closing life,” or “killing,” but to crush Satan’s power over you. This is the work that Jesus Christ came to perform; to destroy the kingdom of Satan in the world, and to set up another kingdom in its place. Colossians 2:15 says, “God stripped the spiritual rulers and powers of their authority. With the cross, he won the victory and showed the world that they were powerless” (NCV). Satan’s complete destruction will not come until the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (Rev. 20:10).
He Came to Fulfill Not to Destroy
Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill” (Matt. 5:17). We hear a lot about purpose today. Purpose driven ministry. Purpose driven church. Purpose driven life. What was Jesus’ purpose? Jesus said that He came to fulfill the Law, not to destroy it. He was not some kind of a rebel trying to overthrow Judaism. The law was only a shadow (type) of the good things to come but the reality of those things is in Jesus Christ (Heb. 10:1; Col. 2:17). The people in Jesus’ day, like the people of today, lost the true meaning of what Christ came to do. The Old Testament pointed to Jesus Christ and the Old Testament believers looked forward to Christ’s coming. The New Testament church (believers) looks back to Christ’s first coming and His accomplishments on the cross and resurrection. His coming was a real historical fact that brought God’s salvation to us. It is not simply a day to celebrate but a life to celebrate God’s abundant grace. Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies and types. He was the long-awaited-for Messiah. He came to fulfill the Law and the prophets, not destroy them.
He Came to Call Sinners to Repentance
Jesus also stated that He came, not to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance (Luke 5:32). Did the Scribes and Pharisees demand good works? So did Jesus. But His righteousness was a righteousness that came from a right relationship with God the Father, not a code of laws. There was and is only one person who kept the whole law and fulfilled it. Jesus Christ is His name. He gave His own life as a sacrifice on Calvary’s cross, which satisfied God’s demand for righteousness. “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Rom. 10:4). The Pharisees thought that they had a corner on righteousness. They had a holier-than-thou attitude. But when Jesus came they saw what true righteousness was. The Pharisees “pretended” to be righteous. There are many people today with the same attitude. They believe that righteousness is inherent in them. They don’t need anyone or anything else. They make their own way. They are their own saviors. They spurn the idea of Christ as their Savior. But without Christ their only destination is death, destruction and hell. Jesus Christ came to call sinners who are aware of their sin and desperately need a Savior. Only those who know they need Him and who accept His invitation enter into His glories. Indeed, Jesus came to seek and to save people who are lost (Lk. 19:10). Jesus said, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (Jn. 6:38-40).
He Came as a King!
Pilate asked Jesus, “Are You a king?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world” The Magi asked, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him” (Mt. 2:2). Jesus is not only the King of the Jews but He is the King of all creation and one day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:9-11).
Christmas is not just a birthday celebration. It’s not about Christmas lights, shiny tinsel, garland and Christmas trees. It’s not about writing and sending Christmas cards. It’s not about presents, parties and bonuses. Christmas is about Jesus Christ coming into the world and bringing us salvation, redemption, victory over Satan, and the forgiveness of sins. It’s about becoming a real child of God through faith in Jesus Christ. And what He asks of us is to give Him the best gift of all. Ourselves! “I beseech you…by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:1-2). Oh! I’m not saying it’s wrong to celebrate. I’m not saying that trees and lights and gifts and cards are wrong. But in celebrating, remember Christ and the purpose of His coming into the world as a human being, born of a woman, born under the law to redeem us from the clutches of sin and death. Yes! By all means rejoice and celebrate. Yes! Enjoy life to the fullest because Jesus came to bring us abundant life, which can only be found in HIM and HIM alone.
Light Upon the Word
A Concise Newsletter from Pastor Thomas L. Valencia
14000 NE Hwy 240, PO Box 837 — Newberg, OR 97132
December 24, 2006