Why Did Jesus Come? The Reason for Christmas

What is Christmas all about? Obviously it has to do with the arrival of Jesus Christ on planet earth. But why did he actually come? Just why was he born? What led him to leave the comforts of heaven to appear in the flesh on this dark and dreary earth?

If you are a church pastor, minister, priest or leader, one of your most important jobs is to teach your flocks about who Jesus is and why he came. So it is especially appropriate at the Christmas season to ask again why it is the Incarnation took place. Why did Jesus visit this planet, and what did he seek to do while here?

We know of course there are plenty of wrong and reckless answers to these questions. Most non-Christians and many liberal believers will offer all sorts of patently false reasons, such as:

-He came to be an example for us
-He came to bring world peace
-He came to be a moral teacher
-He came to show us how to be nice to each other
-He came to spread peace and joy
-He came to tell us how to be good
-He came to promote social justice
-He came so we could all get along
-He came so we could find inner peace and personal fulfilment
-He came so that we might be happy
-He came so that we could get rich

All these answers are certainly NOT what the Bible says concerning the reason for Christ’s coming. Sure, some of these things may be secondary results or fruit of the real reasons he came. But no one reading the New Testament could come away with those rather pathetic reasons.

Why did Jesus come?

Scripture makes it quite clear as to why he came, and the whole of Scripture speaks to this in one way or another. But one way to get a handle on this is to list those passages that tell us exactly why he came. We can just let Jesus and the Bible speak on this.

Here then are some very direct and unequivocal verses on this matter. They are either the very words of Jesus, or the words of others about Jesus.

He came to offer truth and light
John 12:46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
John 18:37 ‘You are a king, then!’ said Pilate. Jesus answered, ‘You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me’.

He came to deal with our sins
Matt 20:28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
1 Tim. 1:15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
1 John 3:5 But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins.

He came to defeat the devil
1 John 3:8 The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.

He came to preach the good news
Luke 4:43 But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”

This last heading pretty much summarises the other three. The gospel is the good news, and the good news involves all the truth that God has revealed to us, including the unpleasant truth that we must hear the bad news before we can get the good news. And the bad news – as shown in some of the passages above – is that we are all sinners.

We are all alienated from God, under his wrath, and heading to a lost eternity. So the primary reason Jesus came is because we are sinners, and that condition means we are in a very bad place indeed. Indeed, we are fully subject to the devil and his wiles, so that is another part of the coming of Christ – to defeat Satan and his works.

Thus when Jesus speaks about spreading light and truth, it is not some vague, undefined feel-good light and truth, but a very specific variety. The darkness of sin, death and the devil is overcome by the light and truth of Christ and what he did on the cross. And that involves other specifics as well: we must appropriate what Christ has done.

Faith and repentance is the biblical response to the work and message of Christ. It does us no good just to hear about what Christ did for us, but then to think that is all there is. No, we must respond to what Christ said and did. Otherwise it is just a nice story.

I recall one Christmas when we were away from home, so we went to a local church. It was a somewhat liberal and non-evangelical church. The minister actually shared in a half-way decent fashion some of the gospel truths concerning the Christmas message.

But then that was it. Instead of tying it all together and telling the congregation, “OK, in light of all this, how will you respond?,” he just sent everyone on their merry or not so merry way. He seemed to see no connection between the Scriptural points he had just shared, and the need for the people there – including us visiting strangers – to latch on to these truths and make them ours.

As I said above, of all people, Christian leaders must get Christmas right. They must have a clear grasp of just what the Bible has to say about the coming of Christ. If we get this wrong we will get everything else about Christianity wrong as well.

Corrie Ten Boom offers us a brief but powerful summary of what this is all about: “Who can add to Christmas? The perfect motive is that God so loved the world. The perfect gift is that He gave His only Son. The only requirement is to believe in Him. The reward of faith is that you shall have everlasting life.”

Merry Christmas.

[1109 words]

16 Replies to “Why Did Jesus Come? The Reason for Christmas”

  1. Hi Bill, thank you for another well researched article. I’m afraid that I’m more “brutal” when someone asks me this question. My normal response is; The Lord Jesus Christ came to die for the sins of the world, unquote. If there is still sufficient interest, then I’ll launch into the how & why quoting from both the O.T. & the N.T. Bill, I’m in full agreement when you stated “Christian Leaders must get this right”. There never has been, nor will there ever be, a place for a “wishy washy” Gospel. The lgbtqr brigade amongst others can drive their campaigns on emotions and ill founded hysteria, we as Christians can’t afford to have that luxury. As always Bill, “KEEP DISHING IT OUT”, Blessings, Kel.

  2. Merry Christmas to you and your family Bill, and to your readers.

    I have just finished reading Wesley’s Sermon “The Lord our righteousness”. It is an interesting combination of majoring on the great doctrine how Jesus was righteous and that, his righteousness is imputed to us when we believe. The other part of his thesis is that there are many, many, ways to say what this doctrine means; and that we should give each other room to use those expressions that we might feel are in some ways inadequate, or in some ways abused. His sermon obviously springs in part from criticism he had received. (I know another person who does the same.) Even apart from education, there are many personal differences that he says will influence the way we speak of this. Wesley even allows that some “Papists”, “Presbyterians’, and even “Quakers” may truly believe, against “the principles of their own church”, and rely solely on Christ for merit or righteousness. He says we need to give each other room if we can, forgive each other if we can, for, underneath the varying expressions there is often more commonality than we might readily perceive.

    I once preached on Rom 12.31 “seek the best gifts” and explained that there have been many sermons on “a more excellent way”. Even so I was criticised for not speaking on ” a more excellent way”. Nobody can say all that needs to be said in one session let alone one phrase.

    Wesley quotes the words of a certain Mr. Hervey, (“worthy to be wrote in letters of gold”)
    “We are not solicitous as to any particular set of phrases. Only let men be humbled as repenting criminals at Christ’s feet, let them rely as devoted pensioners on his merits, and they are undoubtedly in the way to a blessed immortality”

    So too; the glory of what God has done; the glory that is declared at Christmas.
    It also is , “The Lord our Righteousness”.
    It is part of the beginning of the story.
    There you go, even explaining that can be done in many ways.

    There are so many things to be said.
    All of them should be said sometime or other.
    Even the list of eleven “He came…..” have some merit in their proper place.
    But it is Christmas.
    We have congregations that have visitors.
    We have congregations that include people who have never heard or grasped the gospel.
    We have people who are willing to hear something that will give them faith.
    YES; We should be preaching the gospel very clearly in these next few days.
    It is the time for majoring on majors, and being as clear as we can be.

  3. Thanks Bill & thanks Bruce. I have for many years been mindful of John 12:49-50 where Jesus says the Father commanded him ‘what to say and how to say it’
    I often challenge myself about the ‘how’ to say it and it seems different in different circumstances. Some listening may find my ‘how’ too soft or too indirect and others too harsh and too direct. How much meat can you give a new babe? I think it’s a bit of trial and error but aim for bite size bits that can be consumed and won’t choke. I confess I struggle with how much to share and what to share but trust God will provide both the opportunity and the words to meet people where they’re at. My own journey was long so I understand others may require bite size steps too in our Biblically illiterate world?
    God bless Bill ??

  4. John the apostle was a close friend of Jesus, and his gospel describes Jesus’ purpose for humanity as light in the darkness: In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The Word was made flesh and dwelled among us full of grace and truth. The light shone in the darkness and the darkness comprehended it not. He came to his own and his own received him not; but to all who believed in Him and accepted Him he gave the right to become children of God.

    Jesus taught us how to be saved from destruction both physical and spiritual. “I am the way the truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me”. “You will know the teachers of false doctrines by the fruit of their labour.” He taught us how to pray to God, and his prayer has been handed down through generations – until it reached our own, where secular humanism rules. Like Nimrod, elitists regard themselves as god. The rich and powerful have hardened hearts and they bow to Lucifer. The Lord’s prayer contains the exhortation “deliver us from evil” and never has there been a time when this is more relevant, as liars and truthers are locked in battle. The words of the Christmas carol say it all: Oh come Oh come Emmanuel, redeem thy captive Israel (Emmanual meaning in Hebrew: God with us)

  5. A very sad Christmas for me; our first Christmas as a pagan nation. Let’s hope and pray there are not too many more. I do, however, wish you and yours and all your readers a very happy Christmas anyway. May God show His blessings on all those who trust and rely on Him over this coming year.

  6. Merry Christmas Bill,
    God bless you and your family during this time where we celebrate Jesus, hope has come into the world.
    Prayers and love
    Pita Lino

  7. Hi Bill, Thank You for drawing attention to the REAL reasons we should be celebrating Christmas. Our nation and others around the world would not be enjoying the freedoms and living standards we have today were it not for Jesus.

    May you have a blessed Christmas with your family Bill.

    Fred Merlo

  8. Christmas Blessings to you, Bill! This is a time we celebrate the birth of Jesus, God incarnate, Emmanuel! Saviour of all mankind! Praise God for His love to us all! Let’s listen to the wonderful salvation message in our old Christmas carols, and celebrate!

  9. Gaudete Gaudete Christus est natus,ex Maria Virginae Gaudete!

    Wishing you a happy and peaceful Christmas Bill

  10. Thanks Bill for another great article. Emmanuel. God with us. What an amazing event! Hallelujah! May your Christmas be a blessed one with your loved ones.

  11. Thanks Bill. As always: on target. Amazingly it’s all there in the carols e.g. “veiled in flesh the Godhead see; hail the incarnate Deity”….”where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in”. They are words you often won’t hear in a sermon…..Blessings on you and your family at Christmas and int the year ahead.

  12. His coming was prophetically anticipated. (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6-7)
    His coming was historically authenticated. (1 John 1: 1-4; 5:20)

    He came to be our sin bearer. (1John 3:5)
    He came to destroy the works of the Devil (1 John 3:8)
    He came to give us Eternal life. (1 John 4:9)
    He came to satisfy the demands of God’s holy justice and wrath against sin. (1 John 4:10)
    He came to be Savior of the world. (1 John 4:14)

    A mountain of “JOY” in a nutshell.

    It disturbs me that our secular society has taken such profound truths and twisted them into a heresy of commercialism.

    Immanuel…God with us…Think about it !

  13. Mt 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

    He came to save HIS PEOPLE from their sins.

  14. I was most disappointed when former President “Dubya” Bush said Christmas was about family. Jesus is the only person ever born for the sole purpose of dying. That dying was for us. Resurrection Day, aka, Easter, is the real high holy day for believers worldwide. For without the empty tomb there would be no hope. Isn’t it a bit ironic that the world celebrates Christmas big time when Resurrection Day is the epitome of God’s loving, perfect plan for mankind?

  15. Happy Christmas Bill to you and your family!
    Thank you, again, for this article and your articles throughout the year. What a joyful celebration it is, to rejoice together because our Saviour who is both Lord and Christ, has come into the world to save us from our sins!
    No greater cause for celebration and rejoicing!

  16. Hi Bill, I saw a fresh posting by Annette Hammond, and so reread your article. My views from my original response back in 2017 haven’t changed. The Lord Jesus Christ came into the world to die for the sins of the world. I notice today that Coles Supermarkets had hot cross buns on their shelves. I like many other Christians are not happy with this even though it was not unexpected! Coles are only selling them because the public like them. Bill maybe you could put together an article on how to use the history of the hot cross bun as an evangelism tool amongst our unsaved family & friends! On another note, I certainly hope during this Christmas season that the “moonbeams” and other “space cadets” are leaving you & your family alone. Blessings, Kel.

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