Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Reason He was Born

“Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside.  He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.  He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. 
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, 
to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’

Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him.  He began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’” (Luke 4:14-21 NIV)

Sometimes at this time of year, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, it is easy to get caught up in the baby Jesus and to forget the purpose for which He was born.  Porcelain nativities and live ones focus on the baby, and as any new parents realize, a newborn attracts all the attention in the room.  Yet Jesus was born for much greater things than just the oohs and ahhs of His birth.  In fact, early followers of Jesus didn’t even celebrate His birth.  It wasn’t until much later in church history that a tradition began to evolve into what we now know as Christmas.  They focused rather on the reason He was born.  

Jesus states that reason by quoting from Isaiah 61.  He came to proclaim good news to people who experience very little of it in their lives. He came to set free people who are in bondage or under oppression. He came to restore sight to those who cannot see clearly. He came to proclaim that the world is entering a time of much grace and mercy from God.  And as He left this planet, He entrusted this message to us. (Matthew 28:18-20)

There is nothing wrong with celebrating the birth of Jesus, but it misses the point if we get caught up in that celebration and forget to proclaim the message He came to deliver.  Today, do you know anyone who needs to hear some good news?  Are there people in your life that are held captive or blinded by worldly desires?  Do you know someone who is under oppression either internally or externally?  If so, they need to know God’s grace and mercy are available to them, that He is for them and not against them.  Indeed, He has come to set them free.  This is the message you have and what better time to share it than during the time we celebrate the birth of the One who first brought it?  

© Jim Musser 2017

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