Who knew that sweet baby boy in the manger would be the most controversial human in history? More ink has been spilled about him than anyone else who has ever lived.
It’s so easy for us to lose sight of the divisiveness of Jesus. He’s one person with whom you can’t sit on the fence: you either believe he is the Son of God and the savior of the world, or you don’t. He is either who the Bible says he is, or he’s just another misunderstood teacher who got himself in trouble by criticizing people of power.
In the midst of all the wrapping paper and Christmas presents, we can easily forget the controversial nature of Jesus’ mission. He was not born simply to provide a nice example for people to follow.
The following are the specific verses where Jesus explicitly says why he came (as well as a few other relevant verses from the New Testament). May these remind you why Christmas is worth celebrating.
Jesus Came to Save Sinners
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
“I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.”
“For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”
“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.”
1 Timothy 1:15
From the moment sin entered the world, God promised salvation to humanity and all creation. Even as God spoke the word of judgment, he spoke the promise of salvation to Eve, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15).
The image above shows Eve meeting Mary, who is pregnant with the prophesied Savior who would “crush the head” of Satan. If you take a moment to reflect on the image, it really is quite beautiful and meaningful to consider. It also draws out the reality that Jesus could not save without bringing judgment on the enemy.
Jesus Came for Judgment
“I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.”
“For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.”
“The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.”
1 John 3:8
Christmas was an act of war. It marked the beginning of the end for Satan’s rebellion against God. Through Jesus’ life and death and resurrection, the curse of sin began to crumble. Sin had been paid for, and with it, death has lost its sting (1 Corinthians 15:55-57).
Salvation has come to God’s people through judgment: judgment of Satan, and judgment falling on Jesus Christ in our place. But Salvation came because Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity. Death could not hold him. Sin could not overtake him.
Satan has been judged, and his sentence has been given (though not yet fulfilled). Christians live in a constant state of Advent, expectantly waiting for the return of Christ where all the promises of the gospel will be fulfilled. Until then, we walk with confidence in the provision of God to do all he has said.
Christmas is Good News
In the end, Christmas is good news. As the angels declared to the shepherds, it is truly “good news of great joy for all people!” (Luke 2:10).
That’s news worth sharing…