“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” – which means, “God with us.”
~ Matthew 1:23 ~
The Word was made flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his gory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
~ John 1:14 ~
Many have wondered at the idea of Christ coming down in the flesh. Why would God do that? Why would He lower Himself down to our lives of sin and humanity? Why did Jesus humble Himself by taking the form of a man and go unto death, “even death on a cross”? (Phl. 2:8) It may seem strange to some, or to others an insignificant thing that our Lord and Saviour came as a man. In order to understand this, we have to ask an important question: What was the purpose of Christ’s coming? To find this answer, among many others, we need to go to God’s Word. Jesus came to earth to “seek and save what was lost.” (Luk. 19:10) He came to preach the Word to people during His time on earth as well (Luk. 4:43). God sent His only begotten Son because He loved all people and wanted all men to be saved and have eternal life (John 3:16-21, 1 Tim. 2:4).
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
~ Luke 4:18-19 ~
But how was is that the prisoners received freedom? Who were those prisoners? How was light shone in the darkness and the oppressed unburdened? Why was it that God had to send His only begotten Son? The answer is clear: Mankind needed a blood sacrifice to atone for the sins of the world. Because our parents Adam and Eve, mankind has been steeped in sin. Nothing we could do or say could make amends for our sin. Nothing but the Blood of Jesus could make us clean.
Therefore, just as sin entered through one, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all have sinned. … Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the man were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
~ Romans 5:12, 18-19 ~
Jesus had to come so that our sins could be repaid. Though we did not know it, we were dead in our sins and needed a saviour. Though we were sinful, Christ came to die for us. And as the verse above explains, as one act of unrighteousness by one man covered all people in unrighteousness, so too did One Man need to come and make mankind blameless and righteous. As death is the consequence of sin, the repayment had to be through the death of something pure. In the Old Testament, Israel was commanded to sacrifice a pure lamb to cover over their sins. Yet this was not enough, whch is why God promised the Savior. The people of Israel had to pay for their sins regularly, for the blood of animals could never atone for the sin of the world.
because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the Lord, you will be clean from all your sins. It is a sabbath of rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance.
~ Leviticus 16:30-31 ~
For the life of a creature is in its blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.
~ Leviticus 17:11 ~
The sacrifice that was necessary was that of a blameless Lamb. Jesus was a lamb that was silent in the face of His accusers because, although He was without fault, He knew that we needed our Savior and He loved us so much that He died for us (Isa. 53:7). A blood sacrifice is what was necessary for the atonement for sin, and it was only Christ’s blood that could redeem ours. Our sacrifice was both God and Man, perfect and holy, tempted in all the ways we are, yet is steadfast, true, and pure.
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.
~ Hebrews 2:14-17 ~
But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the gory of God, and are justified freely by his grace though the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished – he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justified those who have faith in Jesus.
~ Romans 3:21-26 ~
Because of the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, we have been saved from our sins! Our sins have been atoned for, our lives redeemed, our blood made clean! We are indeed a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17-18). Now we have been reconciled with God and can be at peace with Him (Rom. 5:10-12). Before, no impure thing could be before Him. But because of the holy sacrifice of His Son, we can stand blameless before God (Col. 1:21-23). Moreover, we have eternal life through His Son because not only did He die, but He rose again! (John 10:28, Rom. 6:23, Titus 3:7, 1 John 5:11)
Since we have been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more having been reconciled shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
~ Romans 5:9-11 ~
This, dear friends, is the grace given to us that gives us hope in our salvation and eternal life. We hold to this hope as an anchor (Heb. 6:19). This is why remembered Christ’s death until he comes through Holy Communion. And this is why Jesus had to come as a man. He came and dwelt among us, tempted in every way as we were, yet had no sin. This is what made Him the perfect and blameless sacrifice for our sins. We like to think that the things we receive and the people we are is on account of what we have done. This is not so. We are alive and free because the Son set us free and gave us new life.
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.
~ 1 Corinthians 1:18-24 ~
Though Christ’s sacrifice may sound odd to some, it is the reason we Christians have hope and a reason to live. We like to say that “Jesus is the reason for the season” around Christmas. Yet is He not the reason we have life at all times? Shouldn’t His humility to come as a man, God in the flesh, be something we remember at all times? Shouldn’t we celebrate this all year long? The reason Christ’s sacrifice matters and makes atonement is because He was perfect and Holy and He was a man; He had to be both God and man. Blood had to be shed for the sins of the world, but it has to be blameless blood. And now that we have this new life, we should share it with others in every part of our lives. Our Lord came as a man because it was only through a blood sacrifice that our sins could be paid for, and that act is a reason to celebrate.
Blessings to you and yours,