Each Christmas, many people in our society consider once again what it means that the Son of God came in human flesh and lived among us.
And rightly so. We can never consider this profound truth too much. The one who created this world came and lived as a human on it, even living under the very laws that he had given humanity.
Such an action would fly against the impulse of most of us. We like to keep our positions of authority and power, not make ourselves subject to others.
We even see this attitude in Christ’s own disciples. In Mark’s gospel we read that two of them, James and John, wanted to ensure they received positions of authority with Christ: ‘Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.” “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.” “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” “We can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.” When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all” (Mark 10:35-44).
So why would Jesus lower himself and come as a human when the leaders of the world, including his own disciples, love positions of power? There are many answers to this question. But one answer is given by Jesus himself in the very next verse of that same passage: ‘For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’ (Mark 10:45)
Jesus came as a human, born under the law, in order to serve humans. How? By giving his life as a ransom for those who believe in him.
All humans are in a dreadful state. They are enslaved to sin. And that life of sin will bring death and judgement. Thankfully, God’s Son knew better than humans do about their sorry condition. So he came to redeem his people by paying the ransom price required to set them free from slavery. And that ransom price was his very own life. On the cross, Jesus took the sins of his people upon himself and then felt the full weight of the punishment that those sins deserve.
But how do you know that Christ’s death was a sufficient ransom payment? By his resurrection. When Jesus came to life again, he showed that death had been conquered, the ransom price was met. As Paul says: ‘He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification’ (Romans 4:25).
So this Christmas, do you believe that the Son of God came to ransom you from sin so that you can live eternally?