The Real Reason for the Season- Mark 10:45

At Christmas, we celebrate the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, the fact that God came to dwell with us, the truth of Immanuel, God with us. Over the years, this celebration has become more and more about presents and a man in a red suit than about the coming of the savior, and many have lost sight of the true meaning of Christmas amid the commercialization. So we often struggle with the issue of what Christmas is really “about”, what is the true meaning of Christmas, why does it matter that God came to dwell with us. Many point to things like bringing peace on earth and good will toward men, and while this is certainly true, according to Jesus Himself, this is not the primary reason He came to dwell with us. We then turn to the words of Jesus Himself, for he clearly told us why he came to dwell with us, and he does so in Mark 10:45. Here Jesus is talking with His disciples, and James and John have just asked Him to give them the positions of prominence in His coming kingdom, to sit at His right and left. They recognize Jesus as the Messiah, but see Him as coming to set up an earthly kingdom, to overthrow Roman rulership of Israel and return Israel to its glory days, with Him as its king and them and His chief advisors. They have misunderstood the reason for Jesus’ coming, and in the verse we are examining, Jesus corrects this misunderstanding. The verse reads as follows: “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”. Here Jesus tells them why He has come, what the real reason for the season is. He begins by referring to Himself as the Son of Man, His most common way of referring to Himself. The title Son of Man is taken from the Old Testament, and was commonly understood as a reference to Messiah, but to the Messiah who would come and set up an earthly kingdom with him ruling over all nations. Jesus here tells that that he is the Messiah, he is the Son of Man, but His kingdom would not be an earthly one, it would be a different sort of kingdom with a different sort of kingship. He did not come to rule but to serve, those at His right and left in His kingdom would be servants, not lords. He then tells them what He ultimately came to do, gives us the ultimate reason and primary reason why God came to us, the real reason for the season, and that was to “give His life as a ransom for many”. The word “ransom” here is the Greek lutron, and it refers to the price paid to purchase the freedom of one who is held captive. The true ultimate story of Christmas then is one of a rescue mission. The human race was held captive, in bondage and captivity to sin and death, and Jesus came to give “His life as a ransom”. to die to pay the price required (for the “wages of sin is death”-Romans 6:23) to set humanity free from its bondage to sin and death. So, according to Jesus Himself, the primary reason Jesus came to dwell with us was not to bring peace on earth, not to show us how to live, not to work miracles and heal every illness, not to leave us great teachings to live by, although He did do all of those things. The primary and ultimate reason God came to dwell with us, the real reason for the season, was to die on a cross in order to free us from our bondage to sin and death. At Christmas, we rightly celebrate the fact that God came to dwell with us, but often in our celebration of His coming, we overlook the ultimate reason He came. If all He did was come and dwell with us, hung out with us for 33 years and went back to heaven, all of us would still be headed for hell, and the truth is that Christmas would lose its meaning without Easter. So as we give our gifts, attend our parties and celebrate the coming of the savior, may we never lose sight of the real reason for the season, that God began a rescue mission at Christmas, and He completed it at Easter, and the true meaning of Christmas has nothing to do with toys and parties, but with salvation from sin. Jesus came to be with us, but much more importantly, He came to die for us, the real reason for the season is not gifts wrapped in pretty paper, but the gift of eternal life, the only gift that lasts forever.

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