Isaiah 9_2-7 Born for a purpose
Well, by now most of us have opened our Christmas presents, taken a look and perhaps, especially the kids, have even played with them, using the gifts for their intended purpose. Every gift has a purpose. Every gift is given to be used and enjoyed for what it is. Perhaps you received chocolates. They were made to be eaten and enjoyed. Or perhaps you received a digital camera. It is made specifically to take pictures, so that we can record the special moments in our life. We receive and give gifts for a specific purpose.
Christmas Day is a special day in which we remember and celebrate the birth of Jesus as a baby, born to human parents, Mary and Joseph, and yet born the son of God. We also rejoice and celebrate Jesus’ birth because he was born to us, given to us, as a gift from God. His birth is good news and of great joy to us, because he was born to fulfill a specific purpose. Now, none of us could say that about our lives. Yes, we can look back after many years and see how God has used us for one purpose or another, but none of us could say that from our very first breath, to our last, we were born for just one purpose. Jesus can. From his first cry at the breast of Mary, to his last agonising cry from the wood of the cross, Jesus life was purely and only a gift for us.
The prophet Isaiah foretold of Jesus’ destiny, telling us of his purposeful life, saying he will be all of this “a Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and a Prince of Peace.” The angel of the Lord, who appeared before Mary, told how he will be called Jesus, because the purpose of his life is to save people from their sins. The shepherds, who were out in the fields, looking after their sheep, heard an angel say “Today in the town of David a savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” No other baby has ever been born to such a destiny and for such a purpose, only Jesus. He was born as a gift for humanity and he was born to be given to you and me for the specific purpose of being the Christ. Since Jesus the Christ is a gift to us, as with every gift we receive, it is important we acknowledge and receive the gift for its intended purpose.
The title ‘Christ’, used by the angel announcing his birth, is not Jesus second name, it is the meaning of his birth; Christ means ‘The anointed one’. He is specifically born the Christos in Greek, translated from the Hebrew word Messiah, meaning ‘anointed to be king.’ Jesus, born in a stable, a place where only slaves, the poor and the hired workers go, is the king of humanity. Jesus, lying in a dirty manger wrapped in rags made into cloth, surrounded be frighten parents, smelly animals and sinful shepherds, is the world’s Christ. The lowly place of his birth, and the humble people that gathered around him on that holy night, reveal to us the purpose for his birth; to be the Christ to those without hope; to be the savior to those who are sinners and to be Lord to those whose only king is sin, death and the devil.
Jesus was born into the messiness of life to be Christ the saviour. And Jesus the Christ is purposely born into the messiness of our life, not so we will try and clean up our act…the stables were never cleaned for his birth; but that he clean us with the waters of baptism. He was born into our failures, not so we try and be better people, the shepherds remained shepherds, but that he may save us from our sins; the sin we were all born into, and the sin that rules our life and leads to death. Just as Jesus was born king in the dark Bethlehem night, so too is Jesus born to us Christ the king, in the darkness of our life, where only we know and go, not so we shine with good works, but that he shines in us like the star over Bethlehem, pointing us to that good news that he has been born to redeem us.
The words of Isaiah are now true for you “the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwell in the land of deep darkness, on them a light has shined.” This is the purpose of the gift to us of Jesus birth. And for this purpose we come here today, to worship the Christ; to receive the gifts of his kingdom, the forgiveness of sins. And to leave this place, this stable, and finally this life, in peace with God. “Saviour of the nations, come, Virgin’s son, make here your home! Marvel now, O heav’n and earth, that the Lord chose such a birth. For you are the Father’s Son who in flesh the vict’ry won. By your mighty pow’r make whole all our ills of flesh and soul. Amen (LSB 332:1, 6)