When you think about it, Christmas is a bizarre holiday. The core reason for it is that the Son of God left heaven and became a human being.
This is not normal behaviour. If we lived in heaven and reigned with all power and authority, we wouldn’t take a step down. Nobody likes to take a demotion. But that is what the Son of God did. So why did he do it?
There are many answers to that question. Jesus himself gives us just one of them when he said publicly: ‘For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost’ (Luke 19:10). Jesus is referring to himself as the Son of Man and he said that he came in order to seek out and save the lost.
What was lost that would make the Son of God come and live on this earth? Well the context of this verse is the transformation that had come about in the life of a tax collector called Zacchaeus. He had cheated many people out of a lot of money and had become quite wealthy as a result. The Jews knew Zacchaeus as a ‘sinner’. And indeed he was. And as a sinner Zacchaeus was lost to God. He would be forever cast out of his presence one day.
But when Zacchaeus met Jesus we witness this astonishing transformation: ‘But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount”’ (Luke 19:8).
Zacchaeus was no longer a servant of money. He had been found by Christ and saved from his life of sin. Zacchaeus wouldn’t be sent out of God’s presence for eternity. And Zacchaeus is not the only lost person that the Son of God came to save.
All of humanity are sinners as we’ve all broken God’s laws since the cradle. We all deserve to remain lost to God for all eternity. Yet Jesus came to find sinners like you and me and bring us back into relationship with God.
But how does Jesus seek and save us today? After all, in Zacchaeus’ case, Jesus literally came and found Zacchaeus as he was perched in a tree!
The Lord Jesus seeks us out by his Holy Spirit as we hear about Jesus through his word. While we hear his word read, his Spirit finds us out and opens our minds to listen to him.
And Jesus saves us by his blood shed for us at the cross. Christmas encourages us to remember the entrance of God into the world. But Jesus didn’t stay a baby in a manger. Jesus grew up and saved us by his death – his becoming human at the first Christmas was only the preliminary act! Another act was to come: his death. At Christ’s death, the sins of believers were put upon him and he then paid our death penalty in our place.
So Jesus came to seek and save what was lost. If you haven’t trusted in Christ, do you recognise that you are lost? That you have wandered from God and are no longer part of his kingdom? Do you fear to die outside of God’s family? Turn to Christ now as he seeks you and trust in the salvation that he has brought.
Then celebrate at Christmas what looks like one of the craziest acts in history: God becoming man.