December 20, 2019 | By Jay Ashbaucher
Christmas has become a happy time of year for much of the world, although for some, because of all the extra work and money involved, the holiday season is a dismal chore. Many people love Christmas because of joyful family traditions, Santa with his magical reindeer for the kids, and an aura of peacefulness. It goes without saying that Christmas is a special time of year for the merchants also. For followers of Christ Jesus however, Christmas is the time to celebrate his birth. Nativity scenes pop up on people’s neighborhood lawns in communities everywhere, reminding us that Jesus, God’s Son, came into the world.
Usually, when we think of Jesus coming into the world, we think only of his coming to save people from their sins. True enough, but it may surprise you to learn of various things Jesus said about his coming. Let’s consider why Jesus said he came, and what he meant by what he said. To avoid making this article too long, we shall keep the comments brief.
Jesus said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). He is referring to people who, because of his appealing life and teachings, believe or want to believe in him. When he speaks of having life, he means coming alive spiritually, supernaturally, and possessing an eternal bodily life. Abundant life means possessing a life that satisfies our deep-felt longings for a better life, a life that goes way beyond ordinary expectations.
Jesus said, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). A ransom means a price paid to release someone from bondage or captivity; to set him or her free. One way Jesus served was to give his life a ransom for many. Christ died on the cross to pay a ransom for people who are in slavery. Who or what enslaves us? Perhaps destructive habits, the devil, guilt, fear? Jesus came to pay a price to set us free from whatever evils enslave us.
Jesus said, “Do you suppose I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division” (Luke 12:51). What he meant in the context of this statement was that members of families would be divided. When a member of a family believes in Jesus, other members will disown them; even treat them abusively. He did not include friendships when he made his statement, but friendships are often divided also, for their lives go in different directions; they no longer go down the same path together.
Jesus said, “I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me will not remain in darkness” (John 12:46). Light is very important in our day-to-day lives. Try closing your eyes and getting around. You can’t see where you are going. You run into things that cause you to stumble or get hurt.
Jesus said, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). A man came to Jesus who made a living by defrauding others, greedily and selfishly taking money, often from people who could not afford it. He was lost to what was honest, good, and right in his dealings with people. Jesus was accused by judgmental people of hanging around with people like that. These judgmental persons cannot help the people they judge. But, by faith in Jesus, the dishonest greedy man’s life was changed, and that is when Jesus made this statement to his judgmental accusers. Jesus came to help and save the lost, even the judgmental ones if they would be open to it.
Jesus said, “If anyone hears these sayings of mine and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world” (John 12:47). People can choose to believe him or not, but Jesus is the future judge of the whole world and he will render a reward to every person according to what he or she has done (Revelation 22:12). For now, he and the words he spoke, if rejected, will be the people’s judge at the last day (John 12:48). For example, if people do not listen to severe storm weather warnings and vacate their house as advised, their judgment will be administered if they are killed in the storm. Heeding the words given to them is what will save them, but not if they fail to heed them.
Jesus said, “Now my soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour” (John 12:27). Just before this statement, he said that his hour had come and that unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He was speaking of the time of his death. This was his reason for coming. His death would result in the saving of many lives. The greatest act of love is when a person willingly gives up his or her life to meet the needs of someone else. We, humans, are willing to love others if we can maintain our comfort levels, but how willing are we to love others when we must suffer to do it? It is not easy to choose to give up one’s life and comforts to love others, but Jesus demonstrated this kind of love and told us to love as he has loved us. Although some dare to risk their lives in saving another’s life, are we able to give up our life for people in everyday situations? Perhaps personally experiencing his love for me is the only way I could possibly have what it takes to love as he does. Jesus came to heal our damaged lives and help us learn to love.
Jesus said, “I have come into the world to testify to the truth” (John 18:37). He said this to Pilate, the Roman governor who was responsible for declaring him innocent or guilty of the accusations against him. Pilate declared him not guilty. They crucified him anyway. Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth”? Truth is what Jesus lives and speaks. He once said, “I am the truth” (John 14:6). During his trial, Jesus told Pilate that he was a king, but his kingdom was not of this world. Pilate would order his crucifixion, but would soon discover, that in Jesus’ kingdom, death has no power over life. One day, Jesus will return, not as a baby born in a manger, but as the king of kings who will rule his newly created eternal world of peace, joy, and righteousness. I wonder; who will be in his kingdom? Will Pilate, will his accusers, will all those who have finally rejected him as their Savior and Lord? Christmas celebrates the baby born in a manger, but he grew up to be a man, a coming king. I have a feeling that those in his kingdom will be those humbled enough to believe in him, be changed by him, and worship him as their king.