Why Was Jesus Born (Part 2)

Text: Galatians 4:1-7

In the name of Jesus: Amen.

Why was Jesus born?  Yes, why was Jesus born?

This is a simple question that we asked last Wednesday night and from this question we learned that Jesus was born to serve you and me.  In other words, we learned that Jesus was not born to ‘be served’ but rather ‘to serve.’ 

Tonight, though, we ask this question once again.  And like last week, we acknowledge that this simple question can be a bit difficult to answer at times.  For example, people will try to personally answer this question for themselves and end up with all sorts of answers.  One of the answers that may come to our mind is that Jesus was born to stand with the poor, work for justice and stand up against the powerful.  That He was born to teach us about radical love and be an example of how we should live our lives.  Now, considering this, we do need to admit that Jesus did do these things.  He did heal the sick, He did stand with the downtrodden, and He did fight against the Pharisees. But does this capture the whole reason why He was born?  Was He born to simply show us how to live our lives? 

Dear friends, while Jesus did righteous things, He did not primarily do these righteous things to show us how to live, but rather, He was born to do these righteous things for you.  That is to say; He was born to not only die for you but also to live for you! 

It may be easy to miss the point that I am making here, so let us consider the significance of this. According to our Epistle reading from this evening, we read that Jesus was born ‘under’ the Law, to redeem those who were under the Law, so that we might receive adoption as children.  That is to say; Jesus came not to be some teacher of the Law, and He was not born to merely do some good things as a way of being some good moral example, but rather, He was born so that He could be obedient to the Law.  He was born so that His obedience to the Law might redeem you and me.  It is like this, Jesus was born to live for you by being a servant of the Law, the Law that you and I cannot keep and cannot fulfill.

God’s Law demands perfection.  Indeed, it demands perfection and holiness. It demands impeccable love towards God and flawless love towards our neighbors.  Furthermore, God’s Law never quits with its demands.  It thunders with its orders and threats, constantly coming against our thoughts, words, and deeds.  And when we are honest with ourselves, we must acknowledge that we do not do the good that the Law demands and we do the very evil that the Law says we should not do.  To the point, we do not follow God’s Law to perfection.  And this is why we need Jesus to forgive us of our sins by dying for us, AND it is the reason why we need Jesus to live perfectly under the Law in our place. 

For many years, I knew that Jesus had died for my sins and that by faith I would be saved.  However, what I did not realize was that Jesus also lived for me.  In other words, I understood for many years that Jesus forgave me of my sins, wiping my slate clean, but then I incorrectly believed that it was up to me to fill that slate with a bunch of good moral works.  Jesus got rid of my negative sin, but then it was up to me to acquire and earn positive righteousness.  My problem was not that I didn’t understand that Jesus died for me, but rather, I did not understand that Jesus lived for me as well.  Maybe tonight you find yourself confused over this as well. 

If this is the case, hear this evening that Jesus was born to die the death that you cannot die ‘and’ He was born to live that perfect life that you cannot live.  Jesus avoided the sin that you cannot avoid, and He did the good that you fail to do.  This means that Jesus was born to not only remove the guilt of your sins but also to give you His complete righteousness and goodness as a gift! 

You see, Jesus is our substitute not only in His death but in His life too. He did everything that we cannot do: He lived in perfect obedience to God and His Law.  He didn’t sin.  He maintained a perfectly righteous life under the Law and then He went to Golgotha. And there at the cross, something incredible happened. There was an exchange. All of our sins and filthiness were transferred to Jesus and Jesus’ perfect life under the Law – His righteousness – was credited to us. It was a great exchange: sin for righteousness. 

So what does this mean?  While it is true that Jesus came and did a lot of righteous things – healing the sick, comforting the afflicted, helping the poor – many of these things are not exclusive to Jesus, for many of the prophets of the Old Testament did the same things as well.  But unlike the prophets and us, Jesus did these righteous and good things to perfection to conquer the Law for you and me.

Dear friends, the Law always accuses you and me, it demands complete perfection.  It demands perfect thoughts, perfects words, and perfect deeds.  And because we are not perfect, the Law will always condemn us and threaten us and accuse us. However, this is not true for you and me when we are in Christ. 

By living perfectly under the Law for you and dying under the Law for you, Jesus has conquered and strangled the Law.  That means that you do not have to do good things to earn a right relationship with God, for Jesus is your righteousness.  It means that when you fail, that you do not have to work to acquire God’s approval by your own works, for Christ is your righteousness.  It means that when the Law crushes you for your sins, which is good, that you can run to Jesus to hear that He was crushed in your place and lived perfectly for you… and that ‘in Him’ you are not put to shame but considered righteous. 

Because Jesus Christ was born to not only die for you but to live for you, you do not have to acquire a bunch of good works to earn salvation somehow, because God is already well pleased with you on account of Jesus’ life. 

In Jesus, your chains are gone. 

In Jesus, your burden is gone. 

In Jesus you know that the very perfect, holy and righteous law that condemns you is the very law that Jesus was born under; so that by His righteousness He might fulfill it on your behalf. 

Jesus’ life completely met up to the standard of God’s holy and perfect will, which means that you meet up to the holy and perfect will of God, for you are in Christ – the one who was born to live for you.

In the name of Jesus: Amen.

Note: The final cause of the obedience of the Law by the righteous is not righteousness in the sight of God, which is received by faith alone, but the peace of the world, gratitude toward God, and a good example by which others are invited to believe the Gospel. –Martin Luther 

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