“. . . for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” (John 18:37).
Christmas has become such a busy time of year with decorations, parties, shopping, cooking and such. There is a magazine called Garbage magazine and years ago it gave the following stats about Christmas: Americans used 28,497,464 rolls and sheets of wrapping paper, 16,826,362 packages of tags and bows, 372,430,684 greeting cards, and 35,200,000 Christmas trees. 1 CNN reports that during the five weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years there is an extra 5 to 7 million tons of garbage produced. 2 Who can doubt that the garbage produced at Christmas this year will be even greater? Jesus didn’t come to produce garbage. But why did He come? With all the activity it is easy to forget about the meaning of Christmas, the reason for the season. Why did He come? Why did Jesus come? If we really want to know the reason for the season we should go to Jesus and see what He said. What did Jesus say was the purpose of His coming? The specific phrase, “I have come” (in which Jesus indicates why He came), is uttered by Jesus a number of times in the gospels (e.g. Matthew 10:35; Mark 1:38; John 5:43; 6:38; 9:39; 10:10; 12:46; 18:37). On one of these occasions Jesus said:
John 18:37b – “. . . For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”
Now this is not what we would call a portion of scripture traditionally associated with Christmas.
, 12-1991, p. 7. 2 http://archives.cnn.com/2000/NATURE/12/18/holiday.excess.enn/index.html
Jesus must have wanted us to know why He came to repeat why He came so many times. That’s our challenge; to recognize and reflect on the message of truth He came to bring us and to receive it into our hearts by faith. Let’s look at what Jesus said about why He came.
Why did Jesus come? Jesus came to DELIVER a message. Jesus said, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth.”(Mark 1:38; Luke 4:43). He came to preach. Jesus even gave the content of His message saying He came to bear witness to the truth. He said, “. . . for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” (John 18:37). Jesus even described where the truth He came to preach and teach could be found saying:
John 17:17 - 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
God’s truth is found in His word because all of God’s word is truth (2 Samuel 7:28; Psalm 19:7- 9; 119:9, 142, 151, 160; Proverbs 22:21; Ephesians 1:13; 2 Timothy 2:15; James 1:18). Have you heard His message of truth and have you received it by faith? What did that message of truth consist of? A summary examination of the Gospels reveals that the message of Jesus consisted of:
1. Jesus taught about the
2. Jesus taught the need for discipleship (i.e. being a learner who grows in understanding and application of what is taught) - “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19); Jesus taught the blessedness of being a disciple (Matthew 5:1-12; Matthew chapters 5 through 7); Disciples are to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16)
3. Jesus taught about prayer - Disciples should have a vital prayer life (Matthew 6:5-13; 9:38; 14;23; Mark 6:46; 11:24; 13:33; Luke 6:12; 9:28; 10:2; 18:1-8; 22:40 ).
4. Jesus taught about righteousness - Righteousness acceptable to God must be heart oriented and more than a religious pursuit of God (Matthew 5:20 – 6:4); true righteousness involves doing God’s will in life (Matthew 7:21-23); be heavenly oriented and trust God to provide (Matthew 6:19-21, 24-34); don’t be a hypocrite (Matthew 23).
5. Jesus taught God’s way of salvation is single and solitary – A narrow way (Matthew 7:13-14); Build your life on the rock of Jesus’ words (Matthew 7:24-27); Jesus is the only way to get to God the Father in heaven (John 14:6).
6. Jesus taught and demonstrated He could heal (Matthew 4:24; 8:4-17; 12:15; 14:14; 15:30; 19:2; 21:14).
7. Jesus taught we should beware of false prophets (Matthew 7:15-20; 24:11, 24; Mark 13:22).
8. Jesus taught servanthood - Followers of God should be humble and have servant’s hearts - If you want to follow Jesus you have to deny your self, pick up your cross and follow Him (Matthew 16:24-27); The greatest according to Jesus is the humblest, the least and the servant of all (Matthew 18:1-5; 20:27-28; John 13:1-20); come humbly before God (Luke 18:9-14).
9. Jesus taught about His redeeming sacrifice - Jesus must go to the cross and die and three days later be risen form the dead for the remission of sins (Matthew 12:40; 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:17-19, 28; 26:36-46; Mark 8:31; 10:45; John 2:19-21; 10:18). 10. Jesus taught the need for salvation from sin - Jesus came to save the lost (Matthew 18:11); With God all things are possible including the salvation of sinners (Matthew 19:26); You must be born again through faith in Jesus (John 3:1-21; 5:24; 6:47); Without Jesus you will die in your sins (John 8:24); Eternal life is knowing Jesus (John 17:3); Saving faith is a work of God in a person and therefore a gracious provision of God (John 6:29, 44; 1:16-17); Jesus taught He can free a person from sin (John 8:31-36).
11. Jesus taught that He is our source of spiritual life and nourishment - Jesus is the bread of life, the one who feeds our souls through our relationship with Him (John 6:35, 48, 51); Jesus quenches the thirsty soul (John 7:37-39); Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12); Jesus is the resurrection and life (John 11:25-26).
12. Jesus taught and proved He is God – His disciples said Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God and has come to give His life a ransom to redeem the lost – Matthew 16:13-21; He is the great “I AM” (John 8:58); His opponents said He made Himself equal with God and Jesus said He should be honored as the Father is honored (John 5:16-24); The scriptures bear witness to Jesus (John 5:39); Jesus and God the Father are one (John 10:30-33); He who sees Jesus has seen the Father also (John 12:44-45).
13. Jesus taught love - The greatest commandment is to love God supremely and love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 5:43-48; 22:37-40; Mark 12:29-31; Luke 6:27-36); Love involves service (John 13:34); Love is the evidence of being His disciple (John 13:35); Love involves obedience (John 14:21-24; 15:10); we need to abide in Jesus’ love (John 15:9-10); Our love is to be like the love Jesus modeled for us (John 15:12-13; 17:26); Love is a command of Jesus; it is not optional (John 15:17); Jesus wants to know if we love Him (John 21:15-17).
14. Jesus taught about the Holy Spirit – He promised to send the Holy Spirit to help His followers after He would ascend to heaven (John 14-16); Jesus taught that those who worship God should worship Him in spirit and truth (Matthew 4:10; John 4:23-24); Jesus’ teachings must be spiritually discerned (John 6:63).
15. Jesus taught He is coming back! - After Jesus leaves He will come again and we ought to watch for His return (Matthew 24:29-31, 36-51; Luke 21:36); When Jesus comes back at His Second Coming it will be for judgment (Matthew 24:31-46); Until Jesus returns we ought to be making disciples, baptizing people as a sign of their new life in Christ via the gospel and teaching them to obey all that Jesus taught (Matthew 28:18-20).
This is only a very brief and limited summary of the content of Jesus’ message. The message of Jesus is worth our attention and study. It would not be a bad thing to spend one’s life dissecting and living out in the Spirit the message of Jesus. Receiving the gospel gift of Jesus and living it out is the most glorious of Christmas gifts.
Why did Jesus come? Jesus came to DIVULGE God. The message Jesus came to communicate is of utmost importance. It’s important because the message embodies the Master Himself. In Hebrews it states:
Hebrews 1:1-4 - God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
Jesus didn’t only communicate His message verbally, but He communicated it by His nature. Jesus said He came in His Father’s name: “I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.” (John 5:43). To come in someone’s name meant you came as a representative; you came in a way to convey the will and nature of that person. Jesus came in His Father’s name in that He revealed the nature of God because He was and is God in the flesh (John 1:1-2,14; 10:30; 14:6-11; Colossians 1:19; 2:9-10).
Why did Jesus come? Jesus came to DISRUPT the complacent. One of the first things Jesus did when He began His earthly ministry was to call people to repentance. In Mark it states:
Mark 1:14-15 - 14 Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to
Jesus came and right away began to shake things up by calling the sinners to repentance. Repentance is not just feeling sorry about something but turning from it and seeking a way to be freed from the wrong sinful action (e.g. 2 Corinthians 7:10-11). You can’t come to Jesus and remain the same. Jesus comes to shake us up and wake us up to a new life in our saving relationship with Him (e.g. 2 Corinthians 5:17).
Why did Jesus come? Jesus came to DIVIDE. It is common to think that Jesus came to unite, but in fact Jesus’ own words indicate He came for just the opposite purpose; He came to divide. The evidence of this provocative statement is found in Matthew 10:34 where it states, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.” Jesus goes on to say that there would be family division because of Him (see Matthew 10:34-39). Family gatherings at Christmas can often erupt into all out war. But the tension and stress and division Jesus is talking about here is not caused by family squabbles or wrong or bad gifts, it is caused by taking a stand with Jesus. 5 Our hearts are often filled with divided loyalties. We are divided between the world and Jesus; our own self centered desires (lusts) versus our relationship with Jesus. In the process of change for the better, for something to be made right, it must often first be broken down. Sometimes before peace comes, there is a battle, even a war (e.g. Before Romans 8, there is a Romans 7). A divided heart has to be broken before it can receive what God has for it (Joel 2:12-14). Jesus is either Lord of all in your life or He is not Lord at all. For Jesus to do His work in your heart, in your life and beyond that to your family and loved ones, He must be first and Lord. If Jesus is not Lord in your life, when He gives instruction by the Holy Spirit, you may not follow it, or you may only partially follow it and make things worse than they already are. You have to lose your life in Him. You have to totally trust in Jesus for Him to work effectively in you (Acts 8:37). A time will come when we will need to take a stand for Jesus in the presence of our unsaved family members and friends. We are not to take such a stand in and unloving insensitivity or harshness. That would bring shame to the name of Jesus. But we are to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15; 1 Peter 3:15-16). We need to put Jesus first and care more for the lost souls of family members than merely keeping the peace or status quo of Christmas.
Why did Jesus come? Jesus came to DO God’s will. Early in His ministry and life Jesus said: “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” (John 6:38). To accomplish God’s will Jesus would have to give His life as a ransom, a payment to God’s justice for the penalty of sin (Matthew 26:36-46; Romans 6:23; 2 Corinthians 5:21). It is because of Jesus’ obedience and sacrifice that we can be saved from our sin (1 John 1:7, 9; 2:1-2).
Why did Jesus come? Jesus came “for judgment,” to be the DECIDING factor in life. Jesus said: “For judgment I have come into this world, . . . ” (John 9:39a). Not everyone accepts that Jesus is God or even that they are separated from God because of their sin. Jesus came as the deciding factor; He came that those who are genuinely seeking can find eternal life in Him and that those who are playing games will be exposed for their hypocrisy. Jesus is the fulcrum, the watershed, the deciding factor in your eternal destiny. What you do with Jesus will determine whether or not you remain lost in or are saved from your sin. Give Jesus your heart; trust your heart to Him and He will give you a new heart suited for eternal life with Him (Jeremiah 17:9- 10; Ezekiel 18:31; 36:26).
Why did Jesus come? Jesus came to DESTROY the works of the devil. The result of Jesus sacrifice was to disarm Satan and ultimately all his works. The New Testament says: “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8; see also Colossians 2:13-15; Hebrews 2:14). Never forget that you are in a spiritual (Ephesians 6:10-18). Satan is a loser and he knows it. But he still has some fight in him. Christmas time is a battle of the bulge in more ways than one.
Why did Jesus come? Jesus came to DIE for our sins. 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.” (Mark 10:45; see also John 3:16-21).The wages or consequence of sin is death (Romans 6:23). That is a debt we cannot pay off. If we die in our sins we will be eternally lost. Jesus came to die for us, in our place so that we could be forgiven our sins and made righteous before God (Philippians 5:5-11; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus said: “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was
lost.” (Luke 19:10). Some go on search and destroy missions; Jesus went on a search, save and disciple mission. And we are called to follow in His steps (1 Peter 2:21; 1 John 2:6). Why did Jesus come? Jesus came to DELIVER the hurting. Remember, though there is often
pain in following Jesus, He will not let you be tested beyond what you are able (1 Corinthians 10:13) and He will not allow you to be broken beyond repair. Whatever breaking God allows in your life will be used for His good purposes (Romans 8:28-29). Of Jesus it was said, “A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench, Till He sends forth justice to victory” (Matthew 12:20; Isaiah 42:3). Trust Jesus with everything.
Why did Jesus come? Jesus came to serve and DELIVER us from evil. Jesus told us we should pray to be delivered from evil (Matthew 6:13). He provides a way for us to be delivered from evil through His word and our relationship with Him. In the Gospel of John it states:
John 8:31-36 - 31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?”34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.
If you are committing sin you are a slave of sin, and sin can be a cruel taskmaster. But Jesus, through His word and our personal relationship with Him, has provided a way to be delivered from the slavery to sin. The word of God promises a way out from under the bondage of sin (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Why did Jesus come? Jesus came to call everyone to make a DECISION. Jesus called the rich young ruler to make a decision between the god of his goods and God in the flesh, Jesus (Matthew 10:21). Jesus said a person cannot serve two masters; you can’t serve God and the things of this world (Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13; cf. also 1 John 2:15-16). Jesus said if you want to follow Him you have to put Him first and put self last (Luke 9:23-26). When Jesus’ teachings got tough He asked His disciples if they still wanted to follow Him (John 6:67). And when Jesus had been beaten and scourged He was presented before the people and Pilate asked who they wanted Jesus or Barabbas (Matthew 27:17). Jesus came to call all people to make a decision. Will you receive Jesus as your Savior and Lord, or will you not? No decision is a decision, against Jesus. If a person is in a burning house and rescuers call to them to come out to safety, if the person I the house just mulls over the call and casually contemplates whether or not they will heed it, they will burn to death. Indecision is decision. What is your decision about Jesus and why He came?
That is why Jesus came, that mission was begun at Christmas, the birth of Jesus. Jesus came a long way for you and me. Jesus gave a lot for us; He gave His life so that you and I and every sinner could be brought out of darkness into God’s light and experience salvation from our sin, by God’s grace through faith in Jesus. Has His mission been accomplished in you? Jesus has a 7 gift that surpasses any Christmas gift you’ve ever known, life in Him. To receive that gift of life is as easy as ABC, all you have to do is: Admit you are a sinner (like all humans are) – Romans 3:23. Understand that sin left unattended to will lead first to physical death and then eternal death (eternal separation from God) – Romans 6:23a; Ezekiel 18:4. Turn from your sinful life to Jesus and God will give you a fresh start (Acts 2:38) and new life (Romans 6:4). Believe and receive Jesus as your Savior (Romans 6:23b; Romans 8:9-10). Don’t depend on your works; they can’t deal with your sin. Depend on Jesus. Jesus completed work on the cross is what deals with sin (Ephesians 2:8-19; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Titus 3:5).
Commit your life wholeheartedly to Him; live for Him (Acts 2:42; 8:37; Galatians 2:20; 1 Peter 2:21; 1 John 2:6). You life will be characterized by abundance if you do (John 10:10). M.R. Dehaan, founder of the Radio Bible Class wrote the following poem that is a good summation of the reason Jesus came.
Can This Be Christmas
What's all this hectic rush and worry?
Where go these crowds who run and scurry?
Why all the lights -- the Christmas trees?
The jolly "fat man," tell me please!
Why, don't you know? This is the day
For parties and for fun and play;
Why this is Christmas!
So this is Christmas, do you say?
But where is Christ this Christmas day?
Has He been lost among the throng?
His voice drowned out by empty song?
No. He's not here -- you'll find Him where
Some humble soul now kneels in prayer,
Who knows the Christ of Christmas.
But see the many aimless thousands
Who gather on this Christmas Day,
Whose hearts have never yet been opened,
Or said to Him, "Come in to stay."
In countless homes the candles burning,
In countless hearts expectant yearning
For gifts and presents, food and fun,
And laughter till the day is done.
But not a tear of grief or sorrow
For Him so poor He had to borrow
A crib, a colt, a boat, a bed
Where He could lay His weary head.
I'm tired of all this empty celebration,
Of feasting, drinking, recreation;
I'll go instead to
And there I'll kneel with those who know
The meaning of that manger low,
And find the Christ -- this Christmas.
I leap by faith across the years
To that great day when He appears
The second time, to rule and reign,
To end all sorrow, death, and pain.
In endless bliss we then shall dwell
With Him who saved our souls from hell,
And worship Christ -- not Christmas!
God bless you with His coming and have a meaningful Spirit filled Christmas.
Yours in Christ’s coming,