Jesus was born so that God could become man. To believe this will radically affect your attitude to Christmas. At Christmas most people are more concerned with the death of a turkey than the birth of a Saviour. Consequently they miss the whole point of this wonderful time of the year.
Jesus is God. Many find it difficult to believe this. Even some who call themselves ‘Christians’ deny it. But there can be no doubt – this what Jesus himself believed and what the Bible clearly teaches.
Everything about the Christian faith hinges on this. The famous author C. S. Lewis said, ‘You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse.
‘You can shut him up for a fool; you can spit at him and kill him for a demon; or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about him being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.’
So, according to the Bible – and those who believe it – Jesus is God, and existed in heaven as the eternal Son of God.
If we don’t believe this, there is no point in asking why Jesus was born. The question is only worth asking because the answer is totally at odds with normal experience – Jesus’ birth came about not as a result of human procreation, but through a unique act of God.
The New Testament story of Jesus’ birth is full of this – a virgin gives birth to a son. Impossible, we say! Of course it is difficult for us to understand, because in human experience it cannot happen.
But in the birth of Jesus, God was doing something special that was way beyond human thought or imagination.
God’s terms, not ours
The key factor in understanding the birth of Jesus is God’s attitude to human sin. God is angry with sin and must punish those who rebel against his laws. This is not because he is vindictive, but because he is holy beyond our comprehension.
That God must punish sin is not a very popular belief these days, but it is unquestionably what Jesus taught. God, who is altogether holy, cannot regard evil and good in the same way. He cannot smile benevolently on both truth and lies, both kindness and cruelty.
So God’s holiness makes hell as inevitable as his love makes heaven.
God never excuses sin, but in his love and mercy he is willing to pardon and forgive the sinner – but only on his terms.
Those terms are that the sin must be dealt with and punished, and the sinner must turn to him in repentance and faith. How can this bring forgiveness?
The only solution
Jesus had to become a man in order to deal legally and justly with our sin. It is man who has broken God’s law and sinned, therefore man must pay the penalty for that sin. But there was no man qualified to do this, so God himself became man in the person of Jesus Christ, and did what was necessary for our salvation.
Salvation was planned in heaven, but it could not be accomplished it heaven. The punishment of sin must be borne by man, and the atoning sacrifice that would obtain salvation must be made by man.
But there was no one good enough to atone for sin, because all men and women are sinners. The only solution was for God to become man and, by his death, to purchase salvation for his people.
Jesus said of himself, ‘The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many’ (Matthew 20:28).
God became man so that in the person of Jesus he could die for his people and obtain for them eternal salvation.
This is why Jesus was born.
Perhaps you are disappointed with Christmas. Disappointed that all the glitter and fun is so short-lived – or never materialises at all.
Disappointment leads to disillusionment. You think, what is it all about? Is it worth it? And you conclude that Christmas is a waste of time.
Of course, it all depends upon what you are looking for. If your view is only materialistic, then you may well be disappointed and disillusioned.
Christmas is probably the most expensive time of the year. All those presents and food and drink have to be paid for. When January comes and the credit card bills roll in, the full cost is seen. We may end up heavily in debt.
But wait a moment. Christmas is about the cost God was willing to pay to remove your debt of sin.
What if in January your credit card debt was fully paid by someone else? That is not likely to happen, of course. You incurred the debt and you must pay it.
But here is the reality and relevance of Christmas. Your sin has run up an enormous ‘debt’ – one that you owe to God. You incurred this debt by your rebellion and disobedience to his will, and you will have to pay it, won’t you?
Not if you turn to Jesus and trust in his death for the forgiveness of your sin – for you will find that Jesus has paid the debt for you. That is why he was born and that is why he died.