By Jon Duncan
Special to The PREVIEW
It is easy this time of year to focus on the baby in the manger without stopping to contemplate why Jesus was born at all — why would the Son of God take up residence in the human race?
What could have been so important as to require that Jesus leave the glories of heaven to be born into a sinful world as the God-Man, the Messiah, the Savior?
Matthew 1.21 seems to answer that question the most simply: “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
So, Jesus was willing to leave His home in heaven and journey to earth, be born to a virgin who was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit, in order to save his people from their sins.
The Gospels offer us four different perspectives on why Jesus was born, filled with accounts of His life, His ministry, and His cruel death. And yet even the Gospels do not offer all the reasons why He came, or all the benefits that we would receive by His coming. Those are tucked away in many different places in scripture. Let’s look at just one. Hebrews 2.9-18 contains a number of benefits that have been offered to each of us because Jesus was born.
Verse 9 tells us that Jesus was made for a little while lower than the angels (a reference to his birth in Bethlehem) so that He might by the grace of God taste death for everyone. “Taste death” means to experience death to its fullest, to drink the whole better cup of death. Jesus was born so that He might experience death in our place—so that we would not have to! Talk about a benefit!
Verse 10 reminds us that Jesus was born so that He could bring many sons to glory — a clear and direct reference to those who would accept His offer of salvation. This verse adds another powerful thought: Jesus was born so that He could become the Author, Pioneer, Captain and Source of our salvation. Jesus initiated this salvation for all those who believe and follow: he was born so that He could blaze the trail from earth to heaven that all who would believe in Him would follow. Though it almost sounds like a side note, we are told that this plan was a perfect fit to the omniscience of God and that Jesus would be perfectly prepared for this role as Captain through the suffering He would endure on the cross. Chew on that thought for a while.
Verses 11-13 describe the indescribable: because of Jesus’ birth as the God-Man on earth, He is now a member of the human race — in essence He is saying that we are part of the same family. As if that is not amazing enough, He goes on to confess that He is “not ashamed to call them brothers” (and sisters)! Imagine that: Jesus, Son of God, Creator of the World and Savior of those who believe, not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters as fellow members of the human race.
Verse 14-15 tell us that Jesus was born so that through His death He might destroy the Devil and his power over us, no longer allowing the Devil to use our fear.
Verses 16-17 tells us that Jesus had to, “be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God.” Did you catch that? Jesus was born in order to experience human existence so that He can identify with humans, sympathize with humans, and truly help humans in their life as humans.
Verse 17 also includes the fact that Jesus was born so that He could make the payment for our sins — the actual word is propitiation, which simply means that Christ’s death appeased the just and holy wrath that God must level against sinful man. Christ’s death on our behalf paid the debt we could not pay so that we could be reconciled to God who could not just choose to overlook our sin.
Verse 18 concludes with another great benefit: because Jesus was tempted without ever giving in to temptation, He is able to help us when we are tempted. This word “help” literally means, “to run to the cry of those in danger and bring them aid.” So we conclude this list of the reasons why Jesus was born with this: Jesus was born so that He could — through His suffering as a human being — be better equipped to run to the cry of each of us when we are enduring temptation and bring us help!
So, why was Jesus born?
So that He might by the grace of God taste death for everyone.
So that He could bring many sons to glory.
So that He could become the Author, Pioneer, Captain and Source of our salvation
So that He can call us brothers and sisters as fellow members of the human race — and not be ashamed to do so.
So that through His death He might destroy the Devil and his power over us.
So that He can identify with humans, sympathize with humans, and truly help humans.
So that He could make the payment for our sins that would repay our deb.t
So that He could — through His suffering as a human being — be better equipped to run to the cry of each of us when we are enduring temptation and bring us help.
That was why Jesus was born!
You probably will not see that on a Christmas card, but hopefully it will help you to remember more of the reasons He came the next time you read a card about His birth. He is called the Savior of the world, but He is really only the Savior of those who are willing to be saved. Is He your Savior? Have you accepted His gift?
Please join us this Christmas Eve as we celebrate Christ’s birth with a candlelight service, beginning at 6 p.m. at Centerpoint Church.