Christmas can be a dangerous season of the year because in the midst of our celebrations, we tend to forget there are others with great needs who face suffering and heartache. We need to remember that Christmas is a great time for ministry to our brothers and sisters in Christ and a great time for evangelism to our unbelieving family, friends, and neighbors. So, let us be compassionate and caring toward all, and let us encourage our church members to seek opportunities to minister this Christmas.
There is an even greater reason why Christmas is dangerous; it’s dangerous because in the midst of all the lights and carols and candy and tinsel that help us celebrate the first coming of our Lord, we can forget just exactly why it was Jesus came in the flesh. When we ask why Jesus came in the flesh, though, we are asking at the very least two questions. First, we are asking, “Why Jesus came in the flesh?” In other words, why did Jesus have to take on our humanity?
The second aspect of the question is, “Why did Jesus come in the flesh?” Here we are asking about the purpose of the incarnation: What was the intent or motive behind Jesus taking on flesh? As we point our people to the why of Christmas, let me give two answers that begin to address both aspects of the question and lead us to bask in the glory of God’s beloved Son and our Savior, Jesus.
First, Jesus came in the flesh as our champion to destroy the devil and deliver us from slavery (Hebrews 2:14-16). A champion identified with a particular people and represented them on the battlefield against an enemy. Perhaps the most famous champions in the Bible are David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17). Goliath represented the Philistines, while David, the newly anointed king of Israel (1 Samuel 16), represented Israel and God. As we know, David defeated Goliath and liberated Israel from present and future fear of the Philistines: i.e., bondage.
Jesus is our champion sent by God to identify with us and represent us on the battlefield of this world against our enemy the devil. By his incarnation, Jesus both identified with us and represented us. By His death and resurrection Jesus both defeated the devil and liberated us from slavery. Consequently, because of Christ’s victory over sin and Satan and death, we no longer need to fear death (1 Corinthians 15:50-57).
Secondly, Jesus came in the flesh as our high priest to make a sacrifice for our sins (Hebrews 2:17-18). As the high priest represented the people before God in the temple (Hebrews 5:1-3), so Jesus had to be made like us in every way (except sin: Hebrews 4:15; 7:26) in order to represent us before God. Jesus is our high priest who offers Himself as the sacrificial lamb in our place (Hebrews 10:1-18). Therefore, because of Christ’s high priestly work, we can draw near to God with confidence (Hebrews 10:19-25).
So, for a world full of fear and without hope, we remember this Christmas that Jesus came in the flesh to defeat the devil by paying the penalty for our sin through His sacrificial death, so that all who put their trust in Him as their champion and high priest have their sins forgiven and no longer need to fear death. For a world full of suffering, we remember that because Jesus came in flesh and blood and suffered as a human being, He is able to help us in our own suffering as human beings.
Therefore, consider Jesus who has already run the course of this life and faced suffering and is now seated at the right hand of God, and run the race of life with endurance, keeping your eyes fixed upon Jesus, the originator and completer of our faith. This is the Christ we celebrate this Christmas.