In this third and final post about what I call “non-traditional” Christmas verses I want to underscore three more in which Jesus himself clarifies why he came.
The first is in the Sermon on the Mount in which Jesus corrects a misunderstanding about his coming: “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). Rather than doing away with the Old Testament, Jesus was completing it. His coming was the fulfillment of prophecy, his teaching (especially in the Sermon on the Mount) was “filling full” God’s prescriptions for his people, and his eventual crucifixion provided atonement for disobedience and sin.
The second of these statements in which Jesus speaks about the reason for his coming is in Matthew 20:28, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” In an exchange with his disciples Jesus made it clear that the purpose of his coming was not to be served, but to serve by providing the ultimate service through his death on our behalf.
The third is John 10:10b when Jesus calls himself the Good Shepherd and contrasts the purpose of his coming with those who had come before him. Calling them thieves and robbers, he proclaims, “I have come that they [his sheep] may have life, and have it to the full.” Jesus’ coming and service was to give his followers life – not just life, but a totally different quality of life.
By highlighting these non-traditional Christmas verses I am not suggesting we should neglect the traditional passages in Matthew and Luke about Mary’s conception of Jesus by the Holy Spirit, Gabriel’s assurance to both Mary and Joseph, their trip to Bethlehem, Jesus’ birth and the manger, the angels and shepherds, or Herod and the Magi.
As I do every year, this month I have spent time in both Mathew’s and Luke’s accounts of Jesus’ birth. These accounts are the heart of our Christmas celebration and always will be. However, these three non-traditional verses, and the context in which they are given, can also add to our focus on Jesus’ coming as a baby and why he came.
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