Standing before Pilate, only moments before Jesus is sentenced to crucifixion, he says,
“For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world – to bear witness to the truth.” (John 18:37 ESV)
It seems appropriate at Christmastime to consider why Jesus was born. Why did God choose to incarnate himself as a babe in a manger?
The supernatural communications surrounding Jesus’ birth give us a glimmer of understanding…
- “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1 ESV)
- 8 I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 1 ESV)
- “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1 ESV)
- “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2 ESV)
- 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, 29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation 31 that you have prepared in the presence of all people, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” (Luke 2 ESV)
- 29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1 ESV)
Although Jesus healed the sick, restored limbs and sight, calmed storms and raised people from the dead, he said, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God… for I was sent for this purpose.” (Luke 4:43 ESV)
What then is the good news of the kingdom of God? What truth does Jesus bear witness to?
The answer is not complicated. God loves us, so he sent his only Son to set us free from the oppression of our fears, to revive us from the dead, and to give us hope. Jesus is God’s rescue mission.
By humbling himself to the lowest human condition – a poor babe in a manger considered by most to be illegitimate – God identifies with the least of us and gives us good news of great joy. The kingdom of God has come to the earth and with it salvation for all people.
We celebrate the birth of a Savior who died, was buried, and rose from the dead, conquering death and freeing us from our fear of it. We rejoice in the hope of an eternal existence without suffering of any kind, and the redemption of our relationship with the Father in Heaven who created us for this purpose.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 ESV)