"THE PURPOSE OF HIS COMING"
To Die On the Cross that We Might Live
Intro. We picture in our minds the lovely manger scene. We are enthralled with the rugged natural beauty. Mary and Joseph with her little new born Son wrapped in the swaddling cloth lying on a bed of hay with the animals standing around, and the excited shepherds coming to see this new born child. But if you look more carefully you might see...
I. THE SHADOW OF THE CROSS OVER THE MANGER. FOR HE WAS DESTINED TO DIE ON A CROSS.
A. When Jesus was just a few weeks old, Mary and Joseph brought Him to the Temple that Mary might fulfill the ritual of purification according to the law of Moses.
1. She brought a pair of turtle doves which was the offering allowed for those who were poor.
2. At the same time as they came into the Temple area a very Godly elderly man named Simeon was also coming in. Simeon had been promised by the Holy Spirit that before he died, he would see the promised Messiah. When he saw the baby Jesus he took Him in his arms and said, "Lord now let Your servant die in peace for I have seen Your salvation."
3. Turning to Mary he said, "This Child is set for the fall and the rising again of many in Israel. A sword shall pierce through your own soul also." (Note the also)
B. Many of the prophecies of the Messiah spoke of His suffering and death on the cross.
1. In the Psalm we read this morning he spoke of their laughing Him to scorn. It described the physical conditions of a person being crucified.
a. The dry mouth. "My tongue sticks to my jaws."
b. The bones slipping out of their joints. "My body is out of joint."
c. The piercing of His hands and feet.
d. The dividing of His clothes among them and the casting of lots for His robe.
2. The prophet Isaiah said,
He would give His back to the smiters, and His cheeks to them that plucked out the hair: That He would not hide His face from shame and spitting.
3. Again Isaiah prophesied that His face would be so marred that He couldn't be recognized as a human being, and that when we see Him there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He went on to say that He would be wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, that by His stripes we would be healed. All of us like sheep had gone astray but the Lord has laid on Him the iniquities of us all. For the transgressions of the people He was smitten. That His soul would be made an offering for sin, and that by the knowledge of Him many would be justified.
4. Daniel the prophet told of the very day the Messiah would appear, then he said that the Messiah would be cut off and receive nothing. That is He would not receive the kingdom.
5. Zecharias prophesied that they would look on Him whom they had pierced, and would ask, "What is the meaning of the wounds in your hand?"
6. In the Psalm that prophesies the day of the triumphant entry of the Messiah and their shouts of "Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord." In the preceding verse it speaks of the rejection of the Messiah by the leaders, and in the following verse it speaks of binding the sacrifice to the altar."
7. This baby was born to give His life as a sacrifice for sin.
8. Speaking of the crucifixion Peter declared: "You according the determinate counsel and foreknowledge have crucified and slain Him." Another passage speaks of His being slain from the foundation of the world.
C. Many times Jesus predicted to His disciples His crucifixion.
1. When they first acknowledged their belief that He was the Messiah, He began to talk to them about His having to go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders and the chief priests, who would kill Him.
2. In Matthew 17
He told them that He would be betrayed into the hands of men who would kill Him, but that He would rise the third day.
3. In Matthew 20
as they were on the way to Jerusalem He said to them, "When we get to Jerusalem I will be betrayed to the chief priests and the scribes who will condemn Me to death, and they will turn Me over to the Gentiles who will mock Me and scourge Me and they will crucify Me but on the third day, I will rise again. For I have come to give My life as a ransom for many."
II. OUR TEXT SPEAKS OF HOW CHRIST EMPTIED HIMSELF.
A. He was in the form of God and thought it not robbery to be equal with God.
1. That is starting at the very highest.
2. But He took on the form of a servant and was fashioned like a man.
3. He then humbled Himself and was obedient unto death, even the death on a cross.
4. That is the very lowest. From the highest heights to the lowest depths Jesus was willing to go in order to redeem mankind from sin.
5. From the riches in glory to the poverty of being born in a manger He was willing to go for your sake.
B. As we think about that little Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in that manger, that little Baby a short time before was with God and thought it not robbery to be equal with God. He was honored, worshipped and adored by the angels.
1. Here He is now fashioned like a man.
2. Wonder of wonders, he has come in the form of a helpless Baby.
a. No ordinary baby to be sure.
b. Though His mother was a deeply spiritual yet normal young girl, His Father was the eternal God. The angel said to Mary, "He shall be called the Son of the Highest."
c. From a human standpoint, she was still a virgin. Thus she was fulfilling a prophecy concerning the Messiah where God declared, "I will give to you a sign, a virgin shall conceive and bring forth a Son and shall call His name Emmanuel, which means God with us."
3. Before that little baby ever came to earth He was destined to die on the cross.
4. To die on the cross was the purpose of His coming.
a. This was why He became man, that He might die. He was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death.
b. Why must that beautiful little baby lying so peacefully there in the manger die on a cross?
III. CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES.
A. In the beginning God warned man that if he disobeyed God, that is, rebelled against the authority of God, he would surely die.
1. In spite of the warning man did rebel, and the sentence of death was passed upon him.
2. Because of man's rebellion, His fellowship with God was broken.
3. But that is why God made man, that he might have fellowship with God.
4. God longs for that fellowship.
5. However all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and that sin had blocked access to that fellowship.
6. But God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son in the world to accept the guilt of sin and to die for all who would believe in Him.
7. The Son of God was on a divine mission when He took on the form of a man and became obedient unto death, even the death on a cross.
a. God made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin that we may be made the righteousness of God through Him.
b. Though He was rich yet for our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might be rich.
c. I owed a debt I could not pay. I could not redeem myself from sin and the sentence of death.
d. He paid a debt He did not owe, He took my sin and died in my place. Then He granted me His righteousness. And in His righteousness I can fellowship with God.
B. Because of His obedience God has highly exalted Him, and given Him a name above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
1. In the Psalm that we read this morning that spoke of His death on the cross, the psalmist declared "All of the families of the nations shall worship before Thee. And all those who have gone down into the dust shall bow before Him."
2. Isaiah prophesied:
I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth [in] righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.
3. That includes you and me, one day sooner or later you will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. To do it now is to receive the forgiveness of your sins. To wait till later is to acknowledge the righteousness in condemning you to the second death.
4. In confessing now the Lordship of Jesus in my life is to declare the end of my rebellion against the authority of of God in my life.
5. To continue to rebel until I am forced to confess, only indicates my continual rebellion against God and His justice in forbidding me entrance into His kingdom.