In our former devotional, we learned that Christ did not come to be served but to serve. In a stoop of humiliation, he left the throne of glory, added human flesh, submitted to human government, endured a cursed body and planet, and surrounded himself with deprave pagans. In the process, he perfectly obeyed the Father and lived an entirely righteous life. Yet, despite his love for God and man, he was slandered, blasphemed, arrested, tried, tortured, and crucified. Why did the Son of God endure such a stoop of humiliation? He was despised by men and afflicted by God because he so loved the world.
However, in our lesson today, we will now uncover one final reason why Jesus Christ did not come. Here is the main idea:
While Jesus came to save the world, he did not come to save the righteous.
Perhaps it will be best to prove this point by using Jesus’ own words:
Mark 10:45 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. (Also Matthew 10:28)
Mark 2:17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. (Also Matthew 10:28)
Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.
Jesus came for the world. He came not just for Hebrew friends, but for men and women of all ethnic groups. He was the Jewish Savior, but he was the Jewish Savior of the World. Adam and Eve waited for this day. Abraham saw it coming and it made him glad. Angels proclaimed his being joy for all the peoples. Jesus Christ had a multi-ethnic and international purpose.
However, Jesus came not for all the people in the world. Clearly, he knew the names of the elect. He had access to the Lamb’s Book of Life written before the beginning of time. In his prayer found in John 17, he mentioned his particular focus upon all those given him by the Father.
Therefore, while his atoning merit was sufficient for every man, woman, boy and child, his work of salvation was only efficient for some. If Universalism — the belief that every person is saved from God’s condemnation and wrath — had been his plan, he would not needed to live longer or die harder. Once again, his work of atonement was sufficient for all, but it was efficient for only some.
And who are the some?
- While Jesus came to save the world, he only came to save many.
- While Jesus came to save the world, he only came to save those upon whom God’s favor rested.
- While Jesus came to save the world, he only came to save sinners.
- While Jesus came to save the world, he only came to save the lost.
- While Jesus came to save the world, he only came to save the sick.
Jesus came not for the healthy; his cross-work benefited not those who considered themselves righteous. Tax collectors, prostitutes, idol worshipers, and demon-possessed maniacs found Christ to be their Savior and Lord, while many ministers, theologians, and well respected community organizers found him their enemy. Spiritual sickness and lostness was a necessary characteristic found in all those specially loved by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Those who deemed themselves good and righteous, they were left out. According to his own words, Jesus came not for them.
Therefore friends, I suppose there is one question to ask, “Are you wicked or righteous?” If you declare yourself good, Christ is not your Savior and Lord. He is your enemy, and when he comes again you will recognize your fatal error. For you, the Christmas story is not sweet. For you, there is no need for you to sing “Joy to the World.”
However, If you declare yourself a sinner, and call upon Christ to be your Savior and Lord, you can rest assured that Jesus Christ came for you. Repentance and profession of faith are characteristics of electing love and grace.
Finally, let us review the series of devotionals and put all the pieces together.
- Jesus did not come to counter-balance the Father, but he did come to join with the Father and the Spirit in expressing undeserved mercy and grace to sinners.
- Jesus did not come to bless the Jews alone, but he did come to bless men and women of every nation, tribe, and tongue.
- Jesus did not come to lessen the ethical requirements of the Father, but he did come to establish, uphold, and enable men to worship God aright.
- Jesus did not come to provide immediate peace, but he did come to further separate those in the Kingdom of God from those in the Kingdom of Satan.
- Jesus did not come to judge and condemn, but he did come to save those already judged and waiting for condemnation.
- Jesus did not come to be served, but he did come to be a servant of the Father and the Father’s world.
- Jesus did not come to save the righteous, but he did come to save sinners who recognize their lost condition.
Therefore, to many of you I end with “Happy holidays.”
But for some of you, I end with “Merry Christmas … Joy to the World, the Lord has come.”