He Took On Flesh - For You

Text:  John 1:1-14

In the name of Jesus: Amen.

Everything began in that small town of Bethlehem.  He stepped into human history that Christmas Eve long ago.  Yes, Jesus took on human flesh; He became man, our brother.  He became one of us.  He came and was exposed to all that we are exposed to.  This all happened some 2,000 years ago, as the Son of God was conceived in the Virgin’s womb and born into time, space, and history.  This is why we are gathered here today.

There is no doubt about it; this is the deep mystery of Christmas:  Jesus was conceived and born; Jesus came to humanity.  But the greater mystery of Christmas is this: why would the Lord God come to us?  Why would the Lord humble Himself to take on human flesh and enter humanity in such a lowly way?  Why would He care so much about a world full of sinful rejects and losers like me and you?  The answer: Christ came to humanity to bear our burden of sin and to suffer the penalties of our sin; He came to defeat death on our behalf.  He came to win you and me back by His life and sacrifice.  He was born, lived, died, and rose, because He cares for you and He cares for me and He cares for this world.  He was not content to leave His creation in death and the condemnation of sin.   He was not content to let us burn. 
In order to make all things right, in order to make all things new, Jesus Christ not only had come to us, but He had to come to us as a true man.  You see without God having truly been born a real man, the work of Jesus would be worthless to us.  Without God dwelling with us, Good Friday, Easter, and all of the rest of the Christian holidays would be meaningless.[1]  Without the Lord putting on flesh and dwelling among us, our salvation would be empty and worthless.  Otherwise stated, Jesus had to take up our earthly flesh and set His foot into this world – into time, space, and history physically – so that He could live the life that we cannot live and die the death that we cannot die. 

Dear friends, Jesus came to Bethlehem, came to this world, to be our Savior.  As our Savior, He had to live a life in submission to the Law.  (God is not subject to the Law.  Humans are.)  Our Savior also had to suffer the penalty that we earn with our sins every day.  (God doesn’t suffer and die.  Humans do.)  On the other hand, our Savior’s life and sacrifice had to be sufficient for the sins of the entire world.  Even if there were such a thing as a perfect human being, that perfect human could only offer himself in the place of one other human.  However, only God can ransom the entire human race – and that is what happens in Jesus.  Furthermore, our Savior also had to do battle with death and the devil.  Humans are too weak, but God is Almighty.  What this means is that our Savior must be both God and man in one person.  And that is who Jesus precisely is.[2] 

Today, do not be deceived by the soft and gentle and peaceful baby in the cradle.  This baby is not some sentimental figure of Christmas fairy tales.  No!  This baby is almighty God in the flesh, born unto you, unto me, and unto this world for the specific reason of doing battle against our sins, the devil, and the world.  He was born into time, space, and history in order to take our failures and our sins upon Himself and to bear the wrath of God the Father on our behalf.  Indeed, this birth is the start of the long, focused, caring march of Jesus to the cross, where everything at the cross will  be the same way  as it was in Bethlehem – surrounded by wood, wrapped strands of clothing, basically all alone and in rather lowly conditions.[3]  

And so we are here this morning to remember, celebrate, and hear once again about the historical fact that ‘unto us’ a child was born – that the Son of God put on human flesh.  We gather today to hear this reality that Jesus gave up all of heaven and earth and took on your flesh and was born of a lowly virgin – for you. 

This morning, behold the Christ-child proclaimed from the Word, who lived the perfect and sinless life you never could; who went on to suffer your justly-deserved punishment; who went on to die your justly-deserved death; who rose again for you, and who now lives and reigns victoriously – for you. 

Behold, Christ!  The government is upon His shoulders.  He is our mighty God and Prince of Peace.  He has worked salvation for you and for me!

Here is your Lord and Savior!  Here is your reason for you to celebrate and give thanks this Christmas Day. 

Blessed Baptized Saints, “He comes to you this very day—His blessed birthday—to give to you His blessed gifts of eternal life, forgiveness, grace, and mercy; to give to you the very gift of Himself; His body and His blood, for the strengthening of your faith, for the forgiveness of all your sin, for your comfort, your assurance, and your peace that surpasses all human understanding.”[4]

This morning, rejoice!  “He has come unto His own.  He has come to you. . . . You are His child.  God be praised, evermore and evermore.”[5]

Merry Christmas to you in the name of the one who was born unto you, Christ Jesus the Lord: Amen.

[1] David Kind, “God Made Accessible,” University Lutheran Chapel Newsletter: Fall/Winter, 2015, http://www.ulcmn.org/News/Newsletter%20-%20Current.pdf (Accessed December 24, 2015).

[2] James T. Batchelor, “Nativity of Our Lord,” LCMS Sermons, http://lcmssermons.com/index.php?sn=3978 (Accessed December 24, 2015).

[3]Jason Zirbel, “Now What?” LCMS Sermons, http://lcmssermons.com/index.php?sn=3982 (Accessed December 24, 2015).

[4] Ibid.

[5] David H. Peterson, God With Us: Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany Sermons (Fort Wayne, IN: Emmanuel Press, 2014), 91. 

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