What a precious blessing to wake up today knowing that we belong to God, all because Jesus was willing to come and do what we so desperately needed but couldn’t do for ourselves.
I know God doesn’t really exist in time as we know it. He is the beginning and the end, and in His sovereign wisdom, all that will ever be is already accomplished. Yet, in His good wisdom, He gave us time as a measure, and He entered our dimensions of time and space in the Person of Jesus to interrupt our destiny. As the angels gathered in the skies above the shepherds to announce His birth, surely God the Father rejoiced that His plan of redemption was now taking place in the creation He had once declared very good.
Jesus came to give us good gifts and restore us back to “very good” status with His Father. Let’s review the gifts we’ve already discovered and introduce the last one we’ll talk about this Christmas.
Gift #1 – Jesus was born so that we could be born again.
Gift #2 – Jesus walked so that we could worship.
Gift #3 – Jesus spoke so that we could see.
Gift #4 – Jesus suffered so that we could stand.
Gift #5 – Jesus died so that we could die to sin.
Gift #6 – Jesus lives so that we could live again.
Gift #7 – Jesus left so that we could go.
Jesus came here on a mission.
Luke 19:10 – For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.
John 3:16-17 – For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
John 17:1-4 – Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.
Jesus had a singular purpose for coming – to provide the way of salvation for those who are lost and separated from the Father. Remember what He said on the cross, just before He gave up His Spirit in death? “It is finished.”
What was finished? He had accomplished redemption, taking upon Himself the wrath of God for the sins of the world. He had paid our sin debt, and now, all who believe by faith and receive this gift of grace and forgiveness can be made righteous by the blood of Christ.
How do we know He accomplished His mission?
God raised Him up from the grave (Acts 2:24), highly exalted Him, and gave Him the name which is above every name (Philippians 2:8-11). Sin’s power was broken, and death was defeated.
What did Jesus do after finishing His mission?
He went home.
Luke 24:50-51 – And He [Jesus] led them [the disciples] out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. While He was blessing them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven.
Acts 1:9 – And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
The context of these verses is important because it teaches us that when Jesus had finished HIS mission, He gave us OUR mission.
Luke 24:48-49 – You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.
Acts 1:8 – But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.
Jesus left so that we could go.
Go where? Go and tell.
Matthew 28:19-20 – Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
This is our last gift…the gift of continuing Jesus’ mission to seek and save the lost. Jesus had to return to the Father so that the Holy Spirit would be sent to indwell all those who believe and follow Jesus (John 16). Empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are commanded and called to live as His ambassadors, proclaiming the gospel and urging men and women, just like Jesus did, to hear and believe.
Jesus finished His mission.
Have you accepted yours?
Our mission ends the same way His did – when we are called home. Until then, if we name the name of Jesus, we must continue to share the many gifts that Jesus came to give us with those who are still in darkness.
Have you received these seven gifts? If you haven’t, today is the day of salvation. Be a wise man. Be a shepherd. Kneel at the manger and receive the gift of Jesus.