This is our final Sunday in Advent – our preparation for His birth. Did you know that Jesus the real reason for the season? Just knowing you are here reading this shows that you know that. But do we know why He’s the reason?
On that night that Jesus was born, an angel appeared to the shepherds who were watching their flocks by night. “And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.’” Luke 2:10-11
There was only ONE piece of information the Angel delivered: The Messiah had been born. But WHY did the angel say Jesus was born? (He is born to be a savior.) “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour”
Ahh, what a sweet and simple statement about Christmas. Within that, behind that simple phrase, there is so much insight and truth to learn. For example: The fact that Jesus came to be “my savior” means that He came to be
My Rescuer. My hero. My knight in shining armor
A Card for Christmas said it this way:
“If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator.
If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist.
If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an accountant/ a planner.
But since our greatest need was forgiveness, God sent us a Savior.”
Jesus was born to be our Rescuer, our Hero, our Knight in shining armor. . He is our precious gift. We NEED HIM!!
Jesus came to save us as the Bible tells us. What is He saving us from?
The angel that appeared to Joseph told him that Mary would “… give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people FROM THEIR SINS.” Matthew 1:21 What does that mean?
Most people would “hope” that they were going to heaven. They / We know we have done enough bad in our lives and we know there is NO way we deserve to go to heaven. So most of us hope we have done enough good that it will out shine the bad. They mean that they KNOW they’ve done enough bad things in their lives. They KNOW there would be NO way they deserve heaven. When people say they “hope they’ve done enough” to be saved, they’re acknowledging that they have sin in their lives… and it has to be paid for. (I have to do enough good to counter my bad deeds. I need to pay off my sins.)
It troubles them that they have sinned. It troubles them that they have failed. But they somehow come to believe they can fix that because they’re really not all that bad a person.
Most know and are ashamed of the wrongs, the sins, they have done and this bothers them. It reminds them they aren’t worthy to go into the presence of a holy God. And It reminds them that they’ve done things they hate. And that they’re not entirely that NICE person they’d want to be or think they are.
Suddenly their shame, guilt and embarrassment comes over them in a wave and leaves them feeling defeated and angry. It’s kind of like the comic strip Peanuts – Lucy is playing baseball and explains to Charlie Brown why she dropped a catch: “Sorry I missed that easy fly ball, manager. I thought I had it, but suddenly I remembered all the others I’ve missed, and the past got in my eyes.” The past got in her eyes. That’s part of the pain of sin… the past gets in our eyes.
This past can never disappear. We can NOT undo it. It just hangs on us like a dirty shirt. It proves how wicked and evil we can be… and we don’t like that! It frustrates us!
Well, in the midst of all of that, the Bible tells us about Jesus. Jesus was born to change all that. Jesus was born to save us from the shame of our sins. Jesus was born to remove the guilt of our sins. Jesus was born to PAY for our sins so that God says they no longer exist. In Jeremiah 31:34 God promised that when He would create a new Covenant (that Jesus came to establish) “… I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Isaiah 1:18 promised “…Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…” And that’s exactly what 1 John 1:7 says: “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”
How did Jesus do that? How did He remove our sins and purify us?
Well, He did it by paying for our sins. Ephesians 1:7 tells us that “In (Jesus) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins…”
We’ve been “Redeemed. We’ve been “BOUGHT” with His blood.
God spoke throughout the Old Testament about the truth that sin had a price to pay and that price was death. Romans 6:23 said it this way “… the wages of sin is death…”
Yet, through a sacrifice, man believed that those wrongs could be forgiven – let someone or something else pay for our sins. Hebrews tells us that “In fact the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” Hebrews 9:22
Something – or someone – could change our destiny?
What did we sacrifice in the O.T. – sheep and goats and bulls to gain forgiveness. People may have thought they were doing good but they sensed that it wasn’t good enough. An animal can not take the place of a man. But when Jesus came… that all changed. Jesus came to die. Jesus came to volunteer to take our place on the cross. Jesus came to be our Savior.
As John 3:16 says: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever should believe in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
That’s the simple message of Christmas.
What about the fact that the message of Christmas was that there was this little baby boy born in Bethlehem. If the Gospel message was all about Jesus coming to die on a cross for my sins why on earth would the Gospels even bother to tell me a story about:
• Wise men
• Mangers filled with sheep and goats and cattle and a donkey?
Why did God bother even sharing that? Why waste the ink and paper?
Well… God shared it because it was important!
Jesus came to earth as a human and God. He was and had to be both. Philippians tells us that Jesus “being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!” Philippians 2:6-7
So we know that Jesus was God before the birth in the manger. YES – JESUS WAS GOD.
But when Gabriel announced to Mary and Joseph and then in that manger when He came to earth, he became man as a baby in that manger God became a mortal – for us..
But in order to be mortal He had to be born of a mortal woman. That’s why the Bible tells us He was born of a virgin. There was no earthly father, because then He would have been just another man.
Matthew 1:18 tells us “This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.”
That’s odd! Why would God do it that way? Because Jesus had to be both man AND God. Mortal AND divine.
Why? –In order to take on our sins, to be a substitute for us, he had to die for us. God was the only one who was perfect and pure enough to die for us, but God could not die because He is not a human. So Jesus was the mortal without sin that took on all our sins through His death.
So,, Jesus was born an infant to prove to us He was both God and Man. And He came as a baby in Bethlehem because…that’s the message God wanted to give.
When Moses and the people of Israel arrived at Mt. Sinai to receive the 10 commandments
“Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the LORD descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, the whole mountain trembled violently, and the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder. Then Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him… When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” – Exodus 19:18-19; 20:18-19
When God gave Israel His 10 commandments, His purpose was to prove His power. But with the coming of Jesus, God wasn’t attempting to prove His power. He was intending to prove His love. Jesus didn’t come to put us in our place. He came to lift us up out of that place
Thus, everything God did that day spoke of a Messiah who would be approachable. I mean, what’s more non-threatening than a little baby in a cradle? Everybody seems to love babies. And babies don’t pass judgment. They don’t point fingers in anger. They hold out their arms and want to be held.
And to whom did God send His first announcement about Jesus’ birth? The angels didn’t go to the Kings and rulers. The Wisemen. The Religious leaders. The angels appeared to Shepherds out in the field, common laborers who smelled like sheep. These were not people you invited to swanky parties… let alone to the birth of a King. But again, God was telegraphing His message: Jesus was going to be someone that common people could touch.
Max Lucado said it this way:
“The tongue that called forth the dead was a human one. The hand that touched the leper had dirt under its nails. The feet upon which the woman wept were callused and dirty. And his tears… oh, don’t miss the tears… they came from a heart as broken as yours or mine has ever been.
So, people came to him. My, how they came to him! They came at night; they touched him as he walked down the street, they followed him around the sea; they invited him into their homes, and placed their children at his feet. There were those who mocked him, who were envious of him, who misunderstood him and there were those who revered him. But there was not one person who considered him too holy, too divine, or too celestial to touch. There was not one person who was reluctant to approach him for fear of being rejected.
Remember that when you see the nativity scene with a helpless infant drawing shepherd and wise man, manger beast and celestial angel, all in an unthreatening atmosphere that was to mark his entire life, even when that life was eventually slain on a desolate hill in Judea. Remember. For man seems always to build barriers between himself and God, but Jesus builds bridges.”
(Max Lucado “God Came Near”)
: I want to close with this story told by Stan Cole about a missionary team that had been invited to Russia to teach Christianity. It was Christmastime, and as they taught the story of Christ’s birth at an orphanage, everyone listened in amazement. None of the kids or the staff had ever heard it before.
One of the missionaries wrote: “We gave the children some materials and instructed them to create the manger scene that they had just heard about. All went well until I got to one table where little Misha sat; he looked to be about 6 years old and had finished his project.
“As I looked at the little boy’s manger, I was startled to see not one, but two babies in the manger. I called for a translator to ask why. Looking at his completed manger scene, the child began to repeat the story accurately, until he came to the part where Mary put the baby Jesus in the manger. Then Misha started to ad-lib his own ending to the story.
“He said, ’And when Mary laid the baby in the manger, Jesus looked at me and asked me if I had a place to stay. I told him I have no mama and no papa, so I don’t have any place to stay. Then Jesus told me I could stay with him. So I got into the manger, and then Jesus looked at me and he told me I could stay with him forever.’
“Putting his hand over his face, Misha’s head dropped to the table and his shoulders shook as he sobbed and sobbed. He had found someone who would never abandon nor abuse him, someone who would stay with him forever.”
That’s the simple Christmas story. It is a story of how God stepped down from heaven and made Himself accessible to common people like you and me.
I hope you realize and respond that you do believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God and you do recognize that you are a sinner . And I pray that you confess to Him and allow Him to take your sins and that you become His. Are you willing to confess Him as your Lord and Master?
God has already done His part in reaching out to us in love.
The question now is: how will you respond?
What will be your decision?
Please pray with me: Dear Sweet Jesus, as we read this message, let Your wisdom and truth come into our hearts. Let Your grace surround us and bring us everlasting life with You. Yes, Jesus. We love You. Happy Birthday. Amen