Why Baby Jesus?
While God neither required nor requested us celebrate any day over another excepting the Lord’s Day, Christmas is a time when most people are thinking about Jesus. Perhaps for some, this is the only time of the year that Jesus even comes to mind.
Now during Christmastime, the conversation and thoughts about Jesus are pretty much limited to Baby Jesus lying in a manger, the shepherds praising Him, and the Magi bringing Him gifts.
I think perhaps Baby Jesus is much more popular than “Christ Jesus,” “Lord Jesus,” and especially “King Jesus” because He seems so non-threatening and innocent. Well, as Christians, we believe He never gave that innocence up, but He definitely did become more fearful.
Before He ascended into Heaven, Jesus told the disciples,
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” (Matt 28:18)
Years later, while preaching to Cornelius, Peter declared that Jesus
“has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead.” (Acts 10:42)
And even before being born as a little Baby, Jesus was the Creator of the Universe:
“For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Col 1:16-17)
That is not the picture we get in a Nativity scene. Yet those passages all show us the same Person. As much as we might rather think about one aspect or another, they are all critical elements of Jesus’s identity. But how?
If Jesus is so powerful and mighty, why was He born as a baby?
What reason is there for the Almighty God, the Creator Himself, to descend to the earth, limit Himself in the humble frame of a man—and even go so far as to become a helpless baby?
This morning, we’re going to look at three reasons.
The first thing we have to understand is that Jesus did become a human baby. This is what we call the “Incarnation.” It’s not a flower, it’s a Latin word that means “existing in the flesh.”
This is what the apostle John refers to in John 1.
“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
People were confused and thought Jesus wasn’t really born as a human, but was really just a spirit appearing in bodily form. John added this as well in 1 John:
“What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands…” (1 John 1:1)
The apostles not only saw Jesus in the flesh, but they heard Him, they ate with Him, they touched Him, and they knew He was really a human.
And now we turn our attention to the question at hand: Why did Jesus become like us?
Jesus Became Like Us to Defeat Sin
Starting with Adam, every single person born failed the task to live holy and righteously. We call those violations of God’s will “sin,” and those sins have separated us from God (Isa 59:1–2).
“There is none righteous, not even one
There is none who understands,
There is none who seeks for God;
All have turned aside, together they have become useless;
There is none who does good,
There is not even one.” (Rom 3:10-12)
The problem is that there is no way any of us can resolve the problem of our own sin. We desperately needed a redeemer who could pay that debt for us. Now, as we know, God sent Jesus to be that redeemer. But why did He have to be born as a human in order to redeem us?
Well, we’ve looked at this before. The only way Jesus could be qualified to redeem us is by paying our debt, which is to serve God perfectly as His image.
That’s exactly what Jesus did.
“He is the image of the invisible God.” (Col 1:15)
“He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature.” (Heb 1:3)
This meant He had to go through the same life, the same weak flesh, the same temptations, yet without ever falling short. As we saw last week:
“What the law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh.” (Rom 8:3)
God became a man, with a human body that can feel pain, suffer, and die, so that He could be the sacrifice we needed.
Jesus justifies us through His death.
Now that Jesus has defeated sin, how was He to pass that victory onto us? This is important, because unless He does, we can’t be justified.
Justification is a legal term. It refers to the judge passing a Not Guilty sentence onto a person. In a spiritual setting then, for you to be justified means that, although you’ve definitely sinned, God considers you as Not Guilty, or righteous.
Scripture teaches that justification is not possible without a blood sacrifice, just like the ones performed in the Old Testament (Heb 9:22). However, those blood sacrifices were of animals and were therefore insufficient (Heb 10:4). Jesus was the perfect sacrifice we needed.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” (Rom 5:8-9)
Jesus died for our sins independent of anything we had done. Jesus died for us while we were sinners—enemies of God. And that death required His birth.
Jesus was born as a man so you can live righteously.
Jesus became a baby to defeat sin and to die as our sacrifice. He gave up the glory and power He bore in eternity to limit Himself in a human body. Don’t spurn the sacrifice He made by going back to sin!
Jesus did not give His life so you can wait till January 1 to repent of your sins. Take some time in introspection.
You know what changes you need to make. When you drive around this week and see the Nativity scenes, think forward to the cross and remember what that requires of you.
Jesus Became Like Us to Defeat Death
As a consequence of Adam’s sin, death has fallen upon all of us. And just as every person has a sin problem, every person has a death problem: Our flesh is corruptible and eventually it fails. Death “reigns” over us and we need a solution for it too!
Jesus became a man to defeat death through death.
“Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.” (Heb 2:14-15)
Unless He came in our likeness, He could not destroy death. By first defeating sin, He is able to pay the cost for our forgiveness, so that we do not deserve death any longer. He promised to raise us all up at the Last Day (John 6:40).
Jesus came to give us life!
“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.” (John 11:25-26)
God gave us life to begin with, and only He can give us eternal life. Jesus will give us eternal life and transform our bodies perfectly.
“Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.” (1 Cor 15:50-53)
Jesus’s death was not the only important part of His work. Without His resurrection, there is no resurrection for us either. And if our sins are forgiven, but we stay dead, then the consequence is the same; nothing will have changed! We need this renewed life to be able to inherit the kingdom of God.
Jesus was born as a man so you can live faithfully
Jesus became a baby to give you eternal life. How wonderful it will be—no longer subject to pain, fatigue, sorrow, temptation! The promise of resurrection helps us see the big picture.
Keep the hard times of this life in perspective of eternity. Make the most of this life by storing up treasure for the next. Jesus proclaimed this wonderful news everywhere, to anyone who would listen. Take this hope to those who are hopeless; they need you!
Jesus Became Like Us to Be Our Mediator
Despite forgiveness and the promise of eternal life—we still sin and we still suffer. We need forgiveness not just once, but constantly. We need someone to give us hope and comfort as we walk through life.
Jesus became a man to experience all the weaknesses of flesh. In His eternal spiritual form, God cannot be tempted with evil (cf. Jas 1:13). Only by becoming a man and subjecting Himself to the weakness of flesh could God experience temptation.
As the God-Man, Jesus is able to stand between God and man, bringing us together without compromising God’s holiness or requiring impossible perfection.
Jesus intercedes for us.
“Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” (Heb 7:25)
Jesus is still working in the presence of God. He allows the pathway of conversation we call prayer. This is a crucial role when it comes to forgiveness of our sins.
Additionally, His blood continues to cleanse us as we walk in the light (1 John 1:9–2:1). Jesus’s intercession allows us to remain in fellowship with God despite our frequent stumbling.
Jesus understands our struggles experientially.
“He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.” (Heb. 2:17-18)
Jesus suffered pain and was tempted just like any other man. He understands our struggles with temptation. Jesus is not cold and uncaring, but loving and sympathetic.
Jesus was born as a man so you can live spiritually.
Jesus became a baby so He’d be qualified to mediate between you and God. Jesus makes it possible for us to have a deep relationship with God, even before we leave this earth.
Take advantage of the blessing Jesus provides: Speak to God often and thank Him for the marvelous reconciliation we enjoy! Jesus gave His whole life to allow us freedom from sin and death, not only in the world to come, but in this world right now!
Jesus came down to be helpless so that He could be mighty.
He became like me so He could defeat sin.
He became like you so He could defeat death.
He became like us so He could understand and mediate for us.
Jesus came to the earth to be born as a little baby—not so we can have a cute holiday of gift-giving and nativity scenes—but so that you and I can have eternal victory.
So that you can become like Him— conquering sin and death, united with God.
So that you can be holy…so that you can be faithful…so that you can be close to God.
Jesus was born of a virgin over two thousand years ago so that you can be born of water and the spirit! (John 3:5)
Jesus came to earth to complete the love of God.
If you will embrace that love and serve Him today, please don’t wait!