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We come now to a time of examining the Word of God, looking together at the Christmas story, at least from one viewpoint. I’ve entitled our thoughts this morning, “Why Jesus Came.” And it’s not going to be too profound, really, in terms of maybe saying things you never thought before, but it’s definitely profound in terms of reciting things that we know to be true.
Two thousand years ago God entered human life. I hope that never becomes a common thought to you. God entered human life. Heaven came to earth. Deity put on the robe of humanity. That ought always to startle you. That ought always to thrill you and amaze you. On a night emblazoned by a magnificent star, a child was born like no child ever before or since. And the single event of the birth of Jesus Christ was the most cataclysmic event in the history of the world. It became the critical point of history, and all history up until that time moves toward it, and all history since that time moves away from it. And it was so obvious to the world that this was the high point of human history that they made it the very crossroads of time, and everything before it was B.C. and everything after it was A.D., the year of our Lord. The greatest event in the history of the world.
The world knows about the event and they know about the Christ. Even the world of unbelievers acknowledges He was incomparable. Renan, the French atheist, said, “Whatever may be the surprises of the future, Jesus will never be surpassed.” Napoleon said, “I know men and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between Him and every other man in the world there is no possible comparison.” A current historian says, “A person named Jesus gave certain men such an impact as to be unequalled by far in the entire annals of the human race. After nearly two thousand years, that impact is not at all spent, but daily there are people who have tremendous revolutionary experiences which they associate with Jesus Christ. The personality of Jesus is without parallel. It is unique and incomparable.”
There’s no question about it. Jesus affected history more than any other human being. Now, the world knows that He came. They know that. In fact, they’re busy right now celebrating it (or giving it a good shot, anyway). They know that He came. Not only that, they know when He came. The calendars of history are set by it. Not only that, they know where He came. There’s no question about that, either – Bethlehem. But what I’m sure they really don’t know is why He came, and that’s the issue. It doesn’t matter that He came, when He came, where He came, if you don’t know why He came. That’s what really matters. And if you know why He came, it really isn’t important when and where. Why is the issue. Why a Bethlehem? Why a star? Why shepherds? Why wise men? Why a manger? Why a mother? Why a baby? Why a stable? Why a Christmas? Why does God become man? What demands such an act that causes God to leave glory to enter into human history?
Well, I suppose we could gather together a band of theologians and we could all speculate why. Or maybe we could read out of some prosaic writings or sing songs that remind us why. Or we could talk about it but, best of all, if you really want to know why He came, the best one to ask is Jesus. He knows why He came. In fact, as I began to study this week the thought of the coming of Jesus Christ, I began to trace through the gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – all the places where Jesus says, “I am come” because those are all the statements of why He came. And I thought that, for our study this morning, we’d look back at those statements and hear from the mouth of Jesus Himself why He came.
Let’s begin by looking at John chapter 6 and verse 38, John 6:38. And we’re not going to have time to deal with the text that surrounds these in each case, though in some we will if it helps to make it clear, but let’s begin at verse 37 and note particularly verse 38, “All that the Father gives Me” – John 6:37. “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven not to do Mine own will but the will of Him that sent Me. And this is the Father’s will who hath sent Me, that of all that He hath given Me I should lose none but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of Him that sent Me that everyone who sees the Son and believes on Him may have everlasting life and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Now, notice back at verse 38, “For I came down from heaven for this reason, not to do Mine own will but the will of Him that sent Me.” First of all, Jesus said, “I am come to do the Father’s will,” to serve the will of the Father. That’s the first point. He came to serve the will of God. Now, what was the will of God? Well, it tells you in verse 39, “To gather together the people that God gave Him, to keep them to the last day.” Verse 40 says, “To raise them up to the fulfillment of everlasting life.” In other words, God had a master plan and God’s master plan was to redeem people. And God called out from the human race certain people to Himself, and He sent Christ to gather those people together and to raise them up to Him at the last day.
In other words, Jesus did not come to do a human work. He did not come to do what He thought was best. He was not a wise philosopher who had a good plan for helping the human race. He was not a political revolutionary who tried to overthrow social abuses. He was not a well-meaning religious founder who spawned a religion of His own mind. He came on a divine commission to fulfill a plan preordained by God the Father before the world began. He said, “I didn’t come to do My own will; I came to do the will of Him that sent Me.” Jesus’ work was not human, it was divine. You can never, ever get away with saying Jesus was only a man. He came to do the will of God. In fact, in John 4:34, He says, “My food is to do the will of Him that sent Me,” and what He means by that is, “That’s the only thing that satisfies Me.”
Oh, my. What a great thought that is. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we came to the place where our very satisfaction was totally dependent upon obedience to the will of God? That’s the way it was with Christ. He came to do the will of God. In Hebrews chapter 10 and verse 5 it says, “A body Thou hast prepared Me.” Why? “Because You were not satisfied with sacrifices and burnt offerings.” In other words, sacrifices and burnt offerings could never satisfy the holiness of God, and so God had to send one final great, climactic person to be the ultimate sacrifice, who by the offering of Himself perfected forever them that are sanctified. God had to prepare a body for the Son to enter the world to make a sacrifice that would satisfy. And so He came, subservient to the will of the Father.
Psalm 40 verses 6 to 8 talk about the fact that His ear was digged or pierced, and if you go back to Exodus chapter 21, you’ll find an interesting passage. When it came time to free a slave, if that slave wished to serve that master because he loved him, he could choose not to be free but he could say, “I love this man and I love this family and I want to stay and I want to serve out of love.” And so the servant was taken to the judges and the judges were told that this was his desire. Then they took him over to a doorpost, they leaned him up against a doorpost, put his ear against it, and drilled a hole in his ear. “My ear hadst thou digged.” That was a sign that he served out of love.
Now, when you wives had your ears pierced, you didn’t really know that you were sentencing yourself to your husband for the rest of your life, to serve him out of love. But that’s what it meant then, and Jesus, as it were, had His ear digged.
Jesus was a willing servant. His very satisfaction was dependent upon doing the will of God. In fact, when it was all said and done, in John 17, He went unto the Mount of Olives knowing that He was nearly finished with everything and He says, “Father, I have done Your will on the earth. I have finished the work You gave Me to do. Now glorify Me with the glory that I had with You before the world began.” In other words, before the world began He was with God and He became a servant. Philippians 2 – read it, it’s all there. He humbled Himself, became obedient to the will of God, entered the world to gather together the redeemed people of God and to provide the resurrection that would ultimately guarantee their resurrection in the last day. He came to serve the will of God.
Don’t ever think that Jesus was just a self-motivated individual. He came to fulfill the eternal redemptive plan of God. You cannot isolate Christ in history from eternity. He came on a divine mission.
Secondly, He came not only to serve the will of God but He came to speak the Word of God. Look at John 18. To speak the Word of God. John 18:37, and here is Jesus at His mock trial. He’s standing before Pilate. Pilate is a cynical, frustrated, cowardly, cornered man, and he says to Jesus, “Are you a king?” Are you a king?” he says in verse 33. And in verse 36, Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” And so in verse 37, Pilate says unto Him, “Are you a king then?” Well, what kind of a king is a king who doesn’t have kingdom in the world? What kind of a king are you? Notice the answer. “Thou sayest that I am a king.” Now watch, the words of Jesus as to why He was born. “To this end was I born, even for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth hears My voice.”
And Pilate cynically said to Him, “What is truth?” Like so many people in our world today, he had had it with trying to find truth. He gave up a long time ago. Too many opinions, too many philosophies, too many religions, it’s too foggy out there. I called the L.A. County Library just to find out how much there was being offered as truth of one sort or another, and they told me there are three and a half million books in the county public libraries, a hundred and thirteen billion words, approximately. Thirteen hundred and fifty new volumes are processed a day. Between two and three thousand words in the United States are printed every minute. I mean there’s plenty of stuff, plenty of books, but like the Bible says, “Man is ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
And it seems to me that the more and more and more and more you get, the more cynical you become. We have so much information now, we don’t even know how to store it. They put it on microfilm, but that’s too bulky, so then they put it on crystals and they shoot a laser beam at it and refract it up on a screen, and now they’ve invented a thing called molecular storage where they can put the whole Library of Congress on an object the size of a sugar cube. They’ve got so much information and it seems the more you get, the more frustrating it becomes.
And Pilate, finally, in that situation, at least in his own life, said, “What is truth? I gave up on that a long time ago.” Jesus said, “I came, for this I was born that I should bear witness to the truth.” He came not only to serve the will of God but to speak the Word of God – and believe me, when Jesus speaks He speaks truth because He speaks, the Bible says, from a God who cannot – what? – lie. Jesus even said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Jesus said in John 8, He said, “And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you” – what? – “free.” You know what that means? You’re never free until you find the truth – never.
You say, “What kind of slave are you talking about?” You are bound to the search until you find the truth. Did you ever try to do a mathematical problem and it hung you up? And you just kept going over it and going – and finally you got it and you were free from the struggle to find the answer. Maybe some of you have worked in a laboratory and you’ve worked an experiment or something, and finally – eureka! – you’ve got it. Well, the same thing is true morally. Man is never free, he is searching and searching and searching. His freedom only comes when he finds the truth, and the search is over, and the chains that bound him to the search are broken.
And when you find Jesus Christ, you find the truth. When Jesus talks about God, He speaks the truth. When Jesus talks about man, He speaks the truth. When He talks about sin, He speaks the truth. When He talks about birth and life and death and time and eternity and love and joy and peace and everything that He talks about, He talks about truly. And so you and I can take this precious Book, the Word of God, and open it up with absolute confidence that it is the truth. Why did Jesus come? He said to Pilate, “I came to speak the truth of God. And if you were of God you would listen.”
There’s a third statement of Jesus that I want you to notice in Matthew 5:17. He came to serve the will of God, to speak the truth of God, and thirdly, to sum up the law of God – to sum up the law of God. Let me give you a little of the picture. Jesus was talking to people who were bound by the law, not so much by the law of God as by the Pharisaical code. Now, I want to give you a little bit of theology, the background, so listen carefully. When God instituted law in the Old Testament, when God instituted the Mosaic covenant and all the laws, God had a purpose in mind and that purpose was not to make men keep those laws so they could gain self-righteousness. Right?
The purpose of the law was to break the back of men. The purpose of the law was to show men they were hopeless, they were incapable, they were incompetent, they were sinful. They couldn’t keep it, and so in their brokenness they would crawl to God for mercy, and He would love and forgive them in His grace. That was the purpose of the law. It was to show a man no matter what he did, he couldn’t cut it. It was to frustrate him so that in desperation he fell before a holy God and pleaded for mercy. And in the Old Testament, such a plea was indicated by the offering of a sin offering, a trespass offer. And this was man saying, “I can’t cut it, God, I can’t keep it, I can’t do it and I fall on Your mercy.”
But the Pharisees came along and they gritted their teeth and they said, “We’re going to do it, we’re going to keep this, baby, straight through. We’ve got to make a few adjustments to do it, but we’re going to do it.” So they developed 365 negative commandments and 250 positive commandments, and they were all external, and they said if you could just keep these, you’re okay, you’ll be self-righteous. You won’t need to fall on the mercy of God. You won’t need to plead for the grace of God. You won’t need a Messiah. You’ll be all there yourself, man, you just keep these 600-some rules. And they made sure that they were external, see, all right out here, external.
For example, they said a lot about you shouldn’t murder but they didn’t say anything about you couldn’t hate. They had a lot to say about not committing adultery and nothing to say about lust. They had some things to say about stealing but nothing about coveting in your heart. You see, they were ignoring the real issue and they were comforting themselves and their own self-righteousness because of what they didn’t do and they never really dealt with what they were inside, and so they missed the whole point. The whole point of the law was for you to look at what you do and go backwards to what you must be if that’s what you did. And the Pharisees tried to stop the process. It was okay as long as you didn’t do it, no matter what went on inside.
And so they came up with all these rules and, boy, they laid them on the people. And they said, “This is the way to get righteous, keep these rules.” In fact, in Romans 10, Paul says they go about trying to establish their own righteousness. They don’t want God, they don’t want the Messiah, they don’t want to have to offer sacrifice, they don’t want to fall on God’s mercy, they’re going to crank it out – good works.
Well, you know, that’s very typical today. It really is. People today want to establish their own righteousness, so they make their own rules. They say to themselves, “Well, after all, I pay my income tax, I give to the community chest, the Red Cross, I’m nice to my children, I’m nice to my neighbor, I’m a pretty good guy at the job. I really do all right.” “I’m a nice housewife, I take care of my little kids. After all, God must be pleased with me.” Now you’ve just set your own external rules when the fact of the matter is if you looked into the law of God, you’d find yourself crawling on your stomach like that sinner, saying, “God, be merciful to me.” That’s what God wanted to do. He wants to break you and make you crawl to Him for mercy, and then He wants to forgive and lift you up and restore you.
Well, you see, they had ignored all that part of it and they were just trying to keep the law. And so the Pharisees, who were the guardians of the law, had imposed this on all the people. And they were telling all the people, “Boy, if you don’t do this, you’re not spiritual. God doesn’t accept you.” And they were the intimidators of their day. Well, the people just felt intimidated to death. Now into the scene comes Jesus, and Jesus is a new teacher, and He’s got a kind of a loving message and a kind of a sweetness and warmth and a kind of an affirming and a positive nature, and He’s healing people and things like that. And they think, “Boy, this is something new. Now maybe this guy will take this burden off of us. Maybe He’ll free us from having to do all these things.” And so, latent in their mind is, “Oh, boy, wouldn’t it be great if He just set aside all that stuff?”
And so Jesus responds to what they’re thinking. Look at verse 17. “Stop thinking that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets. I am not come to destroy but to fulfill.” He says you might as well stop thinking that I am going to set aside God’s divine ethics, you might as well stop thinking that I’m going to minimize morality because I’m not. In fact, verse 18, “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot and one tittle shall in no way pass from the law till it all be fulfilled.” Not the dotting of the “I” or the crossing of a “T” will pass from the law until every single part is fulfilled.
“And I’ll add more,” He said, verse 19, “Whosoever therefore shall break one of the least commandments and teach men so, he shall be called the least in the Kingdom of heaven. Whosoever shall do and teach them the same shall be called great in the Kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the Kingdom of heaven.” You think that’s what they wanted to hear? Oh, no. He says you think you’ve had it? Let me tell you something, folks. You better exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees. You can just see them all go, “Oh.” See?
Well, you say, “Why did He say that?” They weren’t desperate enough. They weren’t broken enough. They were only dealing on the externals. He says, “If you think you’re in trouble not keeping the externals, let me tell you about the internals you haven’t even thought of.” Verse 21, “You heard it said you shouldn’t kill.” Verse 22, “I’m telling you you better not hate.” Verse 27, “You heard it said you shouldn’t commit adultery. I’m telling you if you look on a woman to lust after her, you’ve done it in your heart.” Verse 33, “You’ve heard it said, ‘You shall not perjure yourself.’ I’m telling you don’t even make an oath.” In other words, He internalized the whole thing, and you can just see them going, “Oh, oh.” You see, they weren’t sunk deep enough yet.
Listen, Jesus didn’t come to set aside God’s morality; He came to raise the standard again. He came to affirm the standard again so that men in desperation would come to the foot of the cross and plead for His mercy and His grace. He came to sum up the law, to fulfill it, to reaffirm it. And He Himself was the living perfection of the law. Did He fulfill the law? Oh, yes. In His very life, He never broke a command. He was without sin. He fulfilled God’s law. He set the example. He was the One who was the standard and men were to look at Him and say, “But I can’t make it,” and then He was to say, “And that’s why you have to come to the cross and there, when you repent of your sin, God forgives it and gives you My righteousness, and you will fulfill the law in Christ.”
And so He came. He came to serve the will of God. He came to speak the truth of God. He came to sum up the law of God. Fourthly, look at John 12. John 12:46. He says this: “I am come.” There’s our statement again. This is Jesus telling us why He came. We don’t need to speculate. “I am come, a light into the world that whosoever believeth on Me should not abide in darkness.” Listen, He came to serve the will of God, speak the truth of God, sum up the law of God, and fourthly, to shed the light of God. You know, the world had groped in darkness for so long. Jesus came in John 8 verse 12 and He said, “I am the light of the world. He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness.”
Oh, I love that scene. It’s so dramatic. It was in the temple court, the court of the women, the temple treasury. The huge candelabra was sitting in the middle because they had just celebrated the Feast of Lights, and it was over and the light was out, but there was a huge candelabra standing there, reminiscent of how God had led them with the light in the wilderness. Jesus walked in and while the people were all milling around and looking at that candelabra He said, “But I am the light of the world. He that walks in this light shall never walk in darkness.” “This one went out; I never will.”
And darkness in the Bible speaks of two things: ignorance and evil. There is the darkness of the mind and there’s the darkness of the heart. And Christ comes to enlighten the mind to understand God and to enlighten the path that we walk righteously. He came to shed the light of God. Oh, what a dark world it is – darker and darker all the time. Men grope in their sin. There is this darkness of evil, the strange and constant compulsion to sin, the darkness of death and the bitterness of separation, the darkness of a broken heart, a lost love, the impenetrable darkness of the future, the incomprehensible darkness that hides the truth. This is a dark world. We forget, you know, because we’re Christians and we have the light. We forget how dark it is.
Men are blinded by ignorance and evil and they’re so trapped. John 3 says, “And this is the condemnation that light is come into the world but men love” – what? – “darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil.” And that’s the only way of life they know and they’re afraid to expose it.
The other night when we were having our carol sing and I was talking about Christ at the end, a man got up about three-quarters of the way through the message and walked out. And he walked out and he was very upset. And somebody went out and asked him what was wrong and he said, “I don’t care to hear borrowed knowledge.” Because I was using the Bible. Well, what he really meant to say was “I don’t want to sit there and be exposed by truth.” God loves that man and would want to reach that man’s heart, but He can’t until that man is willing to be exposed by the Word of God to the truth of His own life.
But men love darkness – it’s all they know – and they’re afraid of the light. They’re afraid. Just imagine announcing, “Now, next Tuesday night all sinners in Panorama City, please gather at Grace Community Church for a message on hell.” How many you think would be here? He came to be light. Sadly, men love darkness. But He says in verse 46, “Whosoever believes on Me can have the light.” Oh, how wonderful it is to know the light, to the light of falsehood – to the darkness, rather, of falsehood, Christ is the light of truth. To the darkness of ignorance, He is the light of wisdom. To the darkness of impurity, Christ is the light of holiness. To the darkness of sorrow, He’s the light of joy. To the darkness of death, He’s the light of life.
I guess I get a little urgent at this point because I look back at verse 35, and there’s an interesting statement there. Jesus said to them, “Yet a little while is the light with you, walk while you have the light.” In other words, you better start moving in the right direction while the light is still here. Walk while you have the light. For he that walks in darkness doesn’t know where he goes, and while you have light, believe in the light that you may become the children of light.
I don’t know how much time we have now. They were right on the edge because Christ is speaking there about His leaving the earth and saying it’s going to be over pretty soon, the light’s going to be gone and you’re going to be in the darkness, and it wasn’t long that it was true, He was gone. And I don’t know how long until He comes again and the world is engulfed in incredible darkness of the last days, but all I can say is the light is here if you want to come to the light and be exposed and see your sin and fall on His mercy, then He’ll open the light to you. He’ll light your heart and your mind, and you’ll know the truth and walk in it.
The baby came to Bethlehem. Why? To serve the will of God, to speak the truth of God, to sum up the law of God, and to shed the light of God. Fifth, to save the lost for God. Look at Luke 19:10. To save the lost. Doesn’t take you much time to figure out that man is lost. He is like a ship cut adrift. He doesn’t know where he’s going, where he’s coming from. He doesn’t understand the waves that buffet him. He’s like a lonely ship drifting in the midst of a sea, and the whole group is down in the hull having a party, but they haven’t got any idea what’s going on around them or what it means.
Luke 19 is a wonderful story. Story about a little fellow named Zacchaeus. His name means “pure” and he became pure one day. He was the commissioner of taxes, it says in verse 2, chief among the tax collectors. And the Lord came through Jericho because He was on a divine appointment. After all, He came to do the Father’s will, and one of the people included in the Father’s will was this little fellow named Zacchaeus. So Jesus had to stop this day in Jericho to pick up Zacchaeus and bring him into the Kingdom. And so he wanted to see Jesus but he was little, so he decided to climb a tree.
Verse 4, he climbed up in what is called a sycamore tree – actually, a fig mulberry tree, and he was going to see Jesus no matter what. And it didn’t embarrass him that he was the commissioner of taxes hanging out of a tree. And Jesus came along, looked right up to him and said, “Zacchaeus, come on, get down, I’m coming to your house.” You say, “What’s the deal?” Jesus, as I said, was on a divine mission from the Father. He had an appointment with Zacchaeus. He was going to be part of the Kingdom. It was time to get him in. And Zacchaeus had to go home and get his life straightened out. He made haste, came down, received Him joyfully.
That’s the human response to the will of God, you see. You have the divine decree of God, Jesus goes to get Zacchaeus. You have the human response of Zacchaeus, he comes down out of the tree and he’s happy about it. And salvation is that combination. And when they saw it – that is, the people, all the legalists in town – they said, “Oh, He is going to be the guest with a man that is a sinner.” See. What kind of a person is this Jesus, hanging around sinners? And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord – this is after, I’m sure, some kind of meal and some kind of conversation.
The result of it all, Zacchaeus says to the Lord – and here, you don’t have the story of his salvation, just the fruit of it, which proves that it happened, right? “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor.” Now, you know something’s happened in his life. Immediately you know that. Beyond that he says, “If I’ve taken anything from anybody by false accusation, I restore him four hundred percent.” That was required by Exodus 22:1 if you took it by robbery. And so he says, “I’m going to do” – and, boy, the whole point is very clear and Jesus said unto him, “This day is salvation come to this house, for as much as he is a son of Abraham.” What He’s really saying is this man has become a true son of Abraham, a true Jew, this day.
And then the conclusion, verse 10, “For the Son of Man is come” – this is why I came, for people like Zacchaeus – “I am come to seek and to save that which was lost.” You see, there’s that divine mission, He is collecting the redeemed community. And you say, “Well, He can’t do it now, He’s not here.” Oh, yes He can, He does it by His Holy Spirit. But He got it started on His own. He called the disciples. He went after the first ones. And finally He began to commission them two by two, and then He commissioned His church in Acts, and now we’re following it up, finishing the work which Jesus began, Acts 1:1 says. He came to save the lost.
Look at Matthew 9, for a comparative passage, verse 10. We go from the story of tax collector Zacchaeus to the gospel of Matthew written by a tax collector. Matthew was a tax collector who records for us an incident with a whole bunch of tax collectors. So these are tax collector texts. Verse 10, “It came to pass as Jesus sat eating in the house” – now, this is no doubt Matthew’s house. And Matthew is some kind of wonderful guy. He’s been converted. He’s going to follow Jesus. So he holds a big farewell dinner. He invites all of his unsaved friends, all the other tax collectors and all the sinners he can find, has them all over for dinner to say goodbye to him because he’s going to go off with Jesus and he has Jesus be the speaker. That’s pretty sharp, isn’t it?
So, they’re all there. And, of course, the Pharisees saw it. They dogged the steps of Jesus. And they said to the disciples, “Why does your master eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And the implication is really an embarrassment to them. How can you possibly hobnob with such a person? What kind of a person is this who runs around with the riff-raff? When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “They that are well need not a physician but they that are sick.” And I’ve got to believe that there’s sarcasm in that. You well people wouldn’t be interested – sarcastically. They thought they were so well, so righteous, so perfect, so holy. We used to say about the Pharisees they were looking for the first vacancy in the trinity. They were so sanctimonious, such a great sense of piosity.
Well, He says, you wouldn’t be interested since you’re well, I came to the sick. You tell me, isn’t it obvious? Doctors go to sick people. But go and learn what it means. “I will have mercy and not sacrifice.” I don’t want your phony religion. I want your hearts. “I am not come to call the self-righteous but” – what? – “sinners to repentance.” He came, you see, to save the lost for God. But the one thing that has to happen is, beloved, Jesus Christ will never enter your life until you recognize your sin. You’ve got to see you need a doctor. You’ve got to see you need the Great Physician.
Jesus said, “I can’t help you. I know you don’t understand. You’re too righteous, you’re too self-righteous.” As long as you think you’re okay like you are, as long as you think God couldn’t possibly keep you out of heaven, you’re such a good guy and a good lady, as long as you think that way, Jesus can’t help you. He only helps desperate people. He only helps people in the corner beating on their breast saying, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” He doesn’t help the guy standing up and saying, “I thank Thee that I’m not as other men are, and I give tithes of all that I possess. I fast twice a week. And I’m not like that dirty sinner in the corner.” He can’t help him. Jesus said, “Not that man but the other man beating on his breast, ‘God be merciful to me, a sinner.’ That man went home justified rather than the other, Jesus said.” Can’t help you unless you know you’re a sinner. So Jesus said I’m come for those people who have a need.
So He came. He came to serve the will of God, speak the Word of God, sum up the law of God, shed the light of God, and save the lost for God. Sixth – and this is a most fascinating truth – He came to serve the judgment of God. Now, this is an indirect point, but look with me at John 9:39. There are two contradicting Scriptures that we need to harmonize. John 9:39. We don’t have the time to go in great detail, but I want to give you some thoughts about it.
A wonderful miracle has just happened, a dear little blind man, blind from birth, sitting at the gate, begging year after year after year, Jesus gives him his sight. And the Pharisees get all bent out of shape, all upset. They think that Jesus can’t possibly be from God. They want to throw Him out of the synagogue, you know, they want to excommunicate Him, they want to un-synagogue Him and put anybody else who identifies with Him out, too. They’re so furious that He healed this man. And they say, “Who is this fellow? Where did He come from?” And he says, “Amazing to me you don’t know where He came from and He gave my sight.”
Then Jesus meets this man later on and he receives Christ and he’s wonderfully saved, verse 38, “He said, ‘Lord, I believe,’ and he worshiped Him.” But on the other hand, those Pharisees again, verse 40, some of the Pharisees who were with him heard these words and said, “Are we blind also?” And Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you should have no sin. But now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore, your sin remains.” In other words, He says the problem with you is you have enough of the truth to be responsible, you think you see, and as long as you think you see, you’ll never come to Me so you can really see. So your sin remains. I can’t forgive it. You already see. We see – that’s what you say – oh, we see perfectly, we’re not blind. And He says your sin remains, I can’t help you until you know you’re blind.
So on the one hand, you’ve got a guy who’s blind and he can see spiritually; on the other hand, you’ve got people who can see physically and are blind as a bat spiritually. Jesus comes into the situation, and just like a sword – whack! - between two people, you’ve got one who is saved, he really knows Christ. One group rejects. And verse 39, Jesus said, “For judgment I am come into this world that they who see not might see and they who see might be made blind.”
In other words, Christ said, “I came,” and you know what happens? It immediately separates everybody into the haves and the have nots. But now I want you to know something. This is not the primary reason that He came. This is one of the effects of His coming. Let me show you why I say that. Look at John 12:47. John 12:47. “If any man hear My words,” Jesus said, “and believe not, I judge him not.” You say, “Now wait a minute, you just said you came for judgment. “Oh, I judge him not for I came not to judge the world but to save the world.” In other words, – you say, “Is this a contradiction?” No. The purpose for which He came was to save the world, but in reaching out to save the world, those who reject bring upon themselves judgment.
Now, let me show you the simplicity of this. It’s just two sides of the same thing. If Christ wanted just to judge the world, He wouldn’t have had to come, He could have sat up in heaven and just executed everybody, right? He didn’t need to come to judge the world. He came to save the world but when people reject Him, they bring judgment on themselves, and so in effect He’s working out the judgment of God. For example, in John 3, it says simply this – now listen. “Whosoever believeth not is” – what? – “condemned already because he doesn’t believe.” In other words, a man condemns himself by rejecting the purpose for which Christ came.
I can illustrate it this way: If somebody took you to hear a great symphony, and you sat and you listened to this masterful symphony all the way to the end, and the person said, “Well, how do you like that symphony?” And you said, “Oh I don’t like it. I don’t care for that, it’s not that good.” That person might say to you, “My friend, that symphony is not on trial, you are. That’s a masterpiece. If you don’t appreciate it, there’s something wrong with you.”
Or if somebody took you to one of the great art galleries of the world and showed you the masterpieces and you said, “I don’t think they’re so hot.” Hey, fellow, they’re not on trial, you are. And when somebody brings Jesus Christ to you and you say “I’m not interested, I don’t think He’s who He claimed,” the same thing can be said. He is not on trial. The facts are in – you are. If you don’t like a symphony, it isn’t the symphony that’s bad, you’re no appreciator of music. If you can’t appreciate great art, it isn’t the art that’s bad, you have no eye for art. And if you can’t appreciate Jesus Christ, it isn’t Jesus Christ that’s wrong, it’s you. The case is closed on Him.
So, you see what happens. By how you react to the purpose for which He came, you bring about judgment. See? So He came not to judge but to save. But in reaching out to save, there were some who rejected and brought on themselves judgment, and so they actually become victimized by the judgment of God through His coming. He came to separate. He came to divide. In fact, in Matthew chapter 10 He says, “I have not come to bring peace but” – what? – “a sword to set a father against a mother and a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law” and so forth and so on. “I came to set a sword between people.”
You know something? Jesus came into the world to save, and it would have been God’s design that none perish, that all come into the family. But for those who reject, there is a consequent judgment that splits families. Jesus didn’t come into the world to shatter families, but His coming has resulted in that, hasn’t it? One believes and one doesn’t. A converted wife and an unsaved husband, a converted husband and an unsaved wife, children that know Jesus Christ, parents who don’t, parents who know Jesus Christ, children who don’t.
You see, all in the world there is antagonism. There are two groups in the world, God’s people and the devil’s people, and that’s the way it is because some people don’t respond to the purpose for which He came. And so He came primarily to save but because people reject, His coming serves the judgment of God. It clarifies the unbelievers, it unmasks them. Simeon had it right when, after Jesus was born, Simeon said, “This child is come for the rising and the falling of many. He will be a divisive issue in the world.” And He is. And so, though He came to save the lost for God, the result was to serve the judgment of God on the rejecters.
Lastly, Jesus was born to serve the will of God, speak the truth of God, sum up the law of God, shed the light of God, save the lost for God, and serve the judgment of God – and finally, to pay the ransom to God. Mark 10:45. To pay the ransom to God. “For the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto but to minister and to give His life” – what? – “a ransom for many.” He came to pay the ransom to God. Sin and death have kidnapped humanity. Sin and death hold humanity for ransom. And God requires a price to redeem back lost men, and Jesus comes and pays the price. And what is the price? To give His life, a ransom for many, He had to die. In Acts 20:28 it says, “The church, which He purchased with His own blood.”
Jesus Christ came and paid the ransom price to God, which allowed God to break the shackles of sin and death and free those who were redeemed. When Jesus entered into the city, they said hallelujah and hosannas and they wanted to make Him a king, and they got all done with that and then He said this, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone. But if it die, it brings forth much fruit.” I know you want a political king but I have to die to offer myself a ransom for many. He was born to die.
It’s very clear, people, why He came. You don’t even need to speculate, just listen to what He said. “I am come to serve the will of God.” “I am come to speak the truth of God.” “I am come to sum up the law of God.” “I am come to shed the light of God.” “I am come to save the lost for God.” “I am come to serve the judgment of God.” “I am come to pay the ransom to God.” And to sum it all up, “I am come that you might have” – what? – “life and have it more abundantly,” John 10:10. That’s the sum of it all. When it’s all said and done, all of those reasons accrue to us in that one great truth of John 10:10, “I am come,” He said, “that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” That’s His gift to you. That’s why there was a Christmas. Let’s pray.
Father, we thank You for the gift of Christ, for the reality of His life, His death, for all that He is to us even now as our faithful and merciful high priest, for what He shall yet be to us when He comes as King of kings and Lord of lords and we reign with Him forever and ever. Father, we thank You for the Christmas, the first Christmas. Help us never to take for granted that amazing, incredible, astounding event. Help us to remember it every time we think of the date, look at the calendar, every time we contemplate what we have in Christ. It’s because You came into the world. And, Lord, if there are any in our fellowship this morning who’ve never given their heart to Christ, may this be the day. Macomy this be the day when the Spirit of God draws faith out of their heart and they believe and they acknowledge and they confess with their mouth Jesus as Lord. To the glory of God. Amen.