MY PERSPECTIVE, Gary Damron
Beginning Part 2, one straightforward assertion I would make is that each of us is here for a purpose. We can trust that our life has worth, and that God gives meaning to our days. He also calls persons to specific work. Looking personally at why we’re in southwest Kansas, our move began with what could be described as circumstance – my wife grew up near here, and we had friends from Liberal who contacted us about a church who needed a pastor. For the years we lived in Liberal I was privileged to combine two callings, teaching and ministry. Behind each happening is the hand of God.
Young people at our church Saturday night told the story with music and drama of a Baby who came from heaven at Christmas. What a risk for the Father and the Son! But, it’s more than a story. Reviewing last week’s start to this theme, we looked at mistaken notions regarding his coming to earth: He wasn’t a revolutionary, didn’t belong to a religious club, he declined to set up a kingdom on earth, and his purpose at that time was not to judge.
When the Child was born in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago, God spoke specifically through his son. Jesus once and for all brought God to mankind in human flesh, in a historical and unrepeatable event with permanent consequences. A key verse is, “‘For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me’” (John 6:38).
So, the first reason he came was obvious – because God sent him. It wasn’t because circumstances brought Joseph and Mary together, or Mary decided to become a mother, or even that Jesus made the move from splendor to a bed of straw in a stable. Besides our key verse, six more passages from John illustrate the point. John 3:17 – “‘For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world…’”. John 3:34 – “‘For he whom God has sent speaks the words of God…’”. John 4:34 – “‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me…’”. John 5:36 – “‘…the very works that I do testify about me, that the Father has sent me.’” John 7:28 – “‘…He who sent me is true, whom you do not know.’”
Second, Jesus came to do the Father’s will. As early as age twelve, when his parents lost track of him in the caravan of travelers returning from Jerusalem, Jesus grasped that fact. He told Mary in the temple courts, “‘Did you not know that I had to be in my Father’s house?’” (Luke 2:49). Also, John 5:30 – “‘I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me’” John 8:29 – “‘…for I always do the things that are pleasing to him’”.
Our Lord’s coming fulfilled more than 400 Old Testament scriptures, dating back to Abraham and beyond. God promised Abraham. “‘In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed’” (Genesis 22:18). Peter in a powerful message to the Jews said, “‘That he may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you… about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from ancient time.’” The place of his birth was even pinpointed hundreds of years before, as the Magi found, and Herod’s advisors quoted in Matthew 2:5-6: “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, …from you one will go forth for me to be ruler in Israel” (Micah 5:2).
Finally, Jesus came to make God known. Scriptures to review include John 1:18, John 7:16, John 8:26-29, John 14:24, and John 18:37. There are few choices when facing Jesus – he was either a bad man who told lies, a mad man who was deluded, or he was both God and man and deserves our worship.
In order to be prepared when he comes again, we must simply believe that he came the first time as a baby in Bethlehem.
By the time we finish this series on why Jesus came, Christmas will be past. This season let us approach Christ as a child – innocent, trusting and dependent – so we can worship him today and be ready to enter the kingdom of heaven when he calls.