Christmas is upon us, and those who follow the way of Jesus are filled with joy at the remembrance of the Son of God’s entrance into humanity. In Jesus we have been offered the Father’s ultimate gift to his creation: his one and only Son.
One of my fondest childhood Christmas memories involves the way that my mother reminded my sister and me that Christmas was about Jesus’ birth. For the entire season of advent we would have a nativity set up with an empty crib of hay. On Christmas morning either me or my sister was allowed to place baby Jesus in the nativity.
Many of use have among our season’s decor a manger scene depicting the infant Jesus, Mary, Joseph, among other figures. It is a beautiful was to commemorate Luke’s telling of the Christmas story.
The problem for many of us is that we keep the Jesus we follow in the manger. Baby Jesus is easy to dismiss as King of our lives. As a baby, Jesus is easy to control or ignore altogether. You do not surrender you life to a baby, for a baby is dependent upon others for its well-being. Thus, we tend to be more comfortable with a baby Jesus.
At Christmas we remember that Jesus humbled himself and entered the world the same was as every other human being.
But the baby in the manger grows up. He is affirmed in his identity by the Father. From that relationship, Jesus draws purpose. Jesus knew why he had come and told those around him what his birth had brought.
- Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. (Matthew 5:17)
- For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. (Matthew 9:13)
- Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. (Matthew 10:34)
- For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. (Matthew 10:35)
- Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” (Mark 1:38)
- On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17)
- I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Luke 5:32)
- I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! (Luke 12:49)
- I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. (John 5:43)
- For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. (John 6:38)
- Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. (John 8:42)
- Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” (John 9:39)
- The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)
- I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. (John 12:46)
Many of those statements are a shock to the system for those who want to manage Jesus. He did not come to give you a better version of life in this world, Jesus came to present us with a new source of life. One that would potentially-almost certainly-bring conflict and trouble.
As the day approaches, remember what that first Christmas brought.
Read through the scriptures quoted above. Which ones surprise you? Why? How do they challenge your view of who Jesus is and why he walked among humanity?
My new book Essential Questions: Following the Way of Jesus By Examining What He Asked in Mark 8-10 is set for release January 27, 2020.
I am an author, discipleship coach, and speaker who helps followers of Jesus gain perspective on their identities so they can experience transformation in their decisions, behaviors and relationships and live in freedom. My book Tree of Lies: Transforming Decisions, Behaviors, and Relationships By Gaining Perspective On Your Identity in Christ available on Amazon (http://amzn.to/2bjMRyx) or Barnes and Noble (http://bit.ly/2c0q62I).
Services I offer are one-on-one coaching, group coaching, speaking at organizations/churches, workshops on marriage/discipleship/leadership, and church retreats. For more info, click here to contact me.