Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Jesus is the Reason for the Season

Jesus is the Reason for the Season
by Rev. Greg Schermerhorn

At this time of year, many people wonder, “who was this Jesus?”  This is a good thing.  Christmas has not completely lost its significance to the commercial holiday that it has become.

Today, we will look at the babe in the manger to see who He IS and what His significance was then and still is today.  Let’s start our study in Luke.
Luke 2:1–14 (NKJV)
2 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
 4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

Nearly all of us have heard this story before, the story of Jesus’ birth.  Even the children’s cartoon “Charlie Brown Christmas” tells this story.  This is the Jesus that the world is OK with knowing.  The world is not afraid of the baby Jesus, nor do they respect Him.  Just look at the treatment of our Savior in the movie Talladega Nights.  NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby prays to the “Baby Jesus” to bless a family meal.  Why?  Jesus was “powerless” and non-threatening as a baby. 


This is why God chose to send His Son to Earth as a baby…so He would be non-threatening.  God, in His infinite wisdom, chose to have His Son become incarnate flesh so that we could relate to Him and understand who He was and who He is!

Hear this next statement very carefully:  Jesus was not created by God to be our Savior.  Jesus was and still is God!  Let’s take a look at the Gospel of John.
John 1:1–3 (NKJV)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

Jesus is the Word!  Jesus was present with God before any of creation existed.  John makes clear that Jesus was present and active during the creation of the world.

Jesus set aside His divine prerogatives and literally put on flesh and blood so that He could dwell among us.  This allowed Him to reveal God to us in a way we could better understand.  He also provided the way of salvation for mankind.  Simply put, Jesus was born to die.
John 1:14 (NKJV)
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Romans 5:8 (NKJV)
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

This incarnation where God became human flesh is the greatest part of the Christmas story!  God literally put on a human body.  You could think of it like one of us putting on a coat!  This incarnation set the stage for Jesus to interact with humanity on a personal level.  Jesus experienced the whole of the human condition, except for sin!  He experienced hunger, pain, temptation, sorrow, need…all of the things that we ourselves experience.
Hebrews 4:15 (NKJV)
15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Jesus made clear the purpose of His ministry to mankind, the purpose for His incarnation.
Luke 19:10 (NKJV)
10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Luke 9:56a (NKJV)
56 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.

Jesus came to point the way to God the Father.  He came to be the final atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Jesus came so that we might have life, eternal life with God.
John 14:6 (NKJV)
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Jesus described Himself as the Good Shepherd and His people as sheep. 
John 10:7–18 (NKJV)
7 Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 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.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”

This illustration Jesus used of the Good Shepherd and His sheep describes His relationship to us very well.  It describes His purpose in coming to Earth and living among us.  It describes His goal for us to have restored fellowship with the Godhead.

The babe in the manger in Bethlehem 2000 years ago is the Savior of the world.  This is this same Jesus who existed for all eternity as the second member of the Godhead.  This same Jesus bore all of the sins of humanity on His shoulders as He hung on the cross of Calvary.  This same Jesus is coming back for the saints at the rapture.  This same Jesus is coming back to Earth in victory at the end of time.  This same Jesus is the King of kings and the Lord of lords!

Philippians 2:10–11 (NKJV)
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The greatest gift of all time has been given to us all, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  Why?  Because God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world…that’s us!
John 3:16–18 (NKJV)
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
18 “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.

This brings us full circle back to where we started.  God loved us so much that He sent His Son Jesus to do the impossible for us…save us from our sins.  We cannot do it on our own.  We can only do it through the sinless Son of God, Jesus.  He is one who did all of the work for us.  We just have to receive it!  It is really as easy as A…B…C.
·        Admit to God that you are a sinner. 
o   Repent of your sins and turn away from them.
·        Believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He has paid the price or penalty for your sins. 
o   Receive His gift of forgiveness.
·        Confess your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior

This Christmas season, please take the opportunity to share the greatest Gift humanity has ever received with your family, friends, co-workers and acquaintances.  There is no easier time of the year to share Jesus than CHRISTmas!  It will make an eternity’s worth of difference in their life!