As we celebrate Jesus’ birth this year it is important to wonder why He was born into the world. Jesus came to earth so that He could die for sin. Why did He need to be born into the world and live for thirty some years? Jesus’ birth is a crucial part of His journey to the cross. If He had not been born he could not have died for our sin.
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Why do we Need a Savior?
The necessity of Jesus’ birth traces back to the way in which sin entered the world. Adam, the first man, plunged the world into sin when he took and ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. When Adam and Eve sinned they became aware of their nakedness, and were afraid of God. God came to Adam and Eve and provided them with garments of animal skin to cover themselves. In doing so, He made the point that blood needed to be spilt to cover sin. God will not accept the payment for sin by another creature; man has sinned and he must pay. The author of Hebrews tells us that: “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” The animals killed in the sacrifices of the Old Testament pointed to a future sacrifice which would satisfy Divine wrath.
The Bible makes it clear however, that we fallen, sinful humans cannot atone for our own sins. The Psalmist states in Psalm 49:7-9: “Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life, for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice, that he should live on forever and never see the pit.” Even our own lives are not valuable enough to pay for the enormous debt of sin which we have accrued.
Why Did The Savior Need to be God?
The Savior needed to be divine because only a divine being could endure the punishment for sin. On multiple occasions throughout His ministry Jesus made it clear that He was God. John records an instance in which Jesus said that: “The Father and I are one” (John 10:30-32). The Pharisees recognized that Jesus was making a claim to divinity. They said to Jesus: “you, who are a man, declare Yourself to be God.” Jesus’ divinity allowed Him to endure suffering which no created being could.
Why Did Jesus Need to be Human?
Jesus needed to be truly human so that He could pay for human sin. God would only accept the payment for sin from a man, because men sinned. Since the Son of God became man, He experienced pain, temptation, and suffering on behalf of His people. The writer to the Hebrews emphasizes this point in Hebrews 4:15:“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Jesus’ humanity allowed Him to legally pay for sin, and also to know firsthand our trials.
How Did Jesus Become Human?
When Mary received the news that she would bear the Christ, she asked: “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34). The Angel Gabriel told her: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). The Christ child was not conceived through normal human means, but miraculously. Jesus was a biological child of Mary. As a result of being her descendant, Jesus assumed human flesh and a human nature. Jesus’ person is and always has been divine. When He was conceived, He took to himself a human nature in addition to His divine nature. In this way, Jesus was fully man and fully God.
Jesus’ Work on Our Behalf
As a result of His divinity and humanity Jesus was able to bear our sin. He was unjustly condemned to death on the cross where He hung and suffered the terrible agonies we deserved. When He cried from His cross and said, “It is finished”, He declared that He had completed His atoning work.
Even though Jesus is now in heaven, His work on our behalf continues. Paul writes in Romans 8:34 that: “Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” Christs’ sacrifice was a one-time event, but He continues to intercede on our behalf before the Father. Since He is human, Jesus knows our weakness and is able to sympathize.
Jesus has always been God, but He needed to become human to bear sin. Now, He continues to work for us, showing to the Father His perfect works in place of our sin. Christ’s birth into this world was a necessary part of His work. Christmas is a time to remember How He triumphed over sin.