Why did Jesus come into this world? The prevailing answer would be that He came to die. While nobody would argue that the death of Jesus Christ on the cross is central to our faith, it seems sometimes that the implications of the fact that He lived with us in this world for thirty-three years are minimized or even overlooked. In His death, Jesus brought us back to the Father, but at Christmas time it would help us greatly to remember that in His birth, He brought the Father to us.
“Immanuel” is His name – “God with us.” Jesus came to make clear to us what His Father is really like. The lie that befell Adam in the Garden of Eden had given all of humanity such a distorted mental image of who the Father is that the Real God didn’t even remotely resemble the caricature mankind had drawn in his own mind. So into this world comes our Savior declaring, “If you’ve seen me, you know what the Father is like because we are one and the same!”
Jesus didn’t come into the world so that the Father would change His mind about us. Your Father has never been angry with man and Jesus came to show us that. He came to change our minds about the Father. He told story after story to show us the great love the Father has for us. The loving father in “the story of the prodigal", the shepherd who left the ninety-nine to find the one lost sheep, the man who sold everything he owned so that he could possess the hidden treasure in the field – the list of examples could go on. Jesus wanted us to see that our Father adores us and has eternally determined to include us in His family in a way that we will be a part of “The Inner Circle” forever. Jesus was born so that we can see that our Father loves us so much that He sent the Son to find us and bring us home.
There’s another tremendous reason Jesus was born. It has to do with the vicarious life He lived while He was here on planet earth. Mankind was in a mess when Jesus got here. Because of Adam’s sin, we were wasting away toward absolute loss. That scenario was not one that our Eternal God had ever recognized as a viable option. From eternity past, the Father, Son and Spirit had purposed that we would live in His eternal embrace and nothing – not Adam’s sin – not Satan’s ploy – not our own foolishness and stubbornness would get the last word on that topic. He created us for Himself and He would have us, regardless of the cost.
So Jesus came into this world and became one of us, and as us, He undid the damage Adam had created. He lived a “vicarious life” for us all. The phrase means that He didn’t simply represent us. He was us. As the Perfect Man who joined Himself to our humanity, Jesus replaced our unfaithfulness with His own faithfulness toward the Father. His obedience before God obliterated our disobedience. His righteousness supplanted our unrighteousness. He became us before God the Father.
Think of it like this. When David and Goliath faced off in battle, the agreement was simple. If David won, the entire army of the Philistines suffered defeat. If Goliath won, every person in Israel would become slaves. As “federal heads” of these two nations, David and Goliath were the Israelites and the Philistines. The lives and destiny of the two nations were contained in these two men at that moment.
So it was with Jesus Christ. Mankind’s destiny had been wrapped up in Adam, but the Last Adam came and in his vicarious life defeated the Goliath of sin that threatened our destiny. Through His victory, we all have become victorious. His life was our life before the Father. His death was the end of our old lives. His resurrection was our birth. His indwelling life today is the bond of love between our Triune God and us. Humanity and Deity mix and mingle in an ever flowing river of pure love through Him.
To say, “Merry Christmas” is to affirm that Jesus has succeeded at what He came to do. He has joined us to Himself and His Father through the communion of His Spirit. The Divine Agape who spoke all things into existence is your Life-Source. Whatever may be happening in our circumstances, we can live with the assurance that “we stand in Him complete.” This is indeed “good tidings of great joy for all men.”