Which Jesus Will You Celebrate This Christmas?
We are now fully into the Christmas season! The music is playing, the gifts are being purchased, and the holly is evermore jolly. So much happens at this time of year that we can become lost in the details and forget to enjoy the big picture, the reason for doing all of this. And yes, as a pastor, of course I’m going to remind you that Christmas is all about Jesus. But… which Jesus?
That may seem like a strange question at first, but I think it’s a very important question. It’s one thing to say that Christmas is about Jesus but it’s quite another thing to recognize which Jesus we’re talking about. “But wait, are you saying there is more than one Jesus?” Well, I’m not, the Bible is! In fact, the Bible warns about such things. So, I think a big question is, “Do I know which Jesus I am following? Do I follow the true Jesus of the Bible or a Jesus made in the imagination of some man or religious organization?”
Do you know which Jesus you follow? Do you know which Jesus we are celebrating during the Christmas season? The Apostle Paul writes to the church in Corinth deeply troubled by the issues going on there; namely, some of the people are starting to follow a different “Jesus”. They no longer believe in the true Jesus of the Bible, the One who is God in the flesh, who lived without sin, who died a sacrificial death, and who rose again from the grave. They believe in a “Jesus” of their own imagination. Paul writes, “For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed… you put up with it readily enough” (2 Corinthians 11:4). It is to the shame of these Corinthians who have turned from the true Jesus to a false, man-made Jesus. Paul calls them to repentance.
Even today, we can find many different “Jesuses” in the world. How can we tell if we are looking at the real Jesus or a false “Jesus”? By looking to the Bible. The Bible tells us who Jesus is, what He came to do, and what our response to Him should be.
Jesus is God in the flesh (John 1:1, 14). He clearly recognized He is God (Mark 2:5) and proclaimed Himself to be God (John 8:58). Jesus is not a created being or some sort of lesser god or angel. He is not merely the son of God in an earthly fashion. In fact, Jesus uses the term “Son of God” as an affirmation of His divine nature; those who opposed Him understood that (John 10:32, 36). Jesus is also not simply a moral teacher, a guide to point people to truth. He emphatically states that He Himself is truth (John 14:6). Therefore, to make Jesus less than God is to be following a false Jesus.
Jesus entered into His own creation with a very specific purpose. “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). “[Jesus] said to them, ‘Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, so that I may preach there also; for that is what I came for.’” (Mark 1:38) “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”(1 Timothy 1:15). The Bible is clear that Christ came to bring salvation to lost, sinful people. Christ came to usher in the Kingdom of God, to make right what sin had broken at the Fall. This is what Christmas is all about! Not just about the birth of Christ, but about the true nature and mission of Christ. To make Christmas anything less is to create a “Jesus” of your own imagination.
Finally, if we follow the true Jesus of the Bible, we must listen to Him. Jesus says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). When we come to Christ in faith and repentance we are transformed from the inside out by the Holy Spirit. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Sins in which I once found joy and pleasure, I now hate and despise for the sake of Christ. I don’t think I can be righteous in my own strength, but I know the Spirit now empowers me to live a life that glorifies God. Too many “churches” follow cultural trends of the world and have given up caring about sin. In fact, many “churches” now celebrate and encourage the very sins that Jesus died for. Be assured that these counterfeit churches follow a false Jesus and do not understand the purpose of Christmas. Jesus came to earth to save the world not allow the world to indulge in sin.
I recognize my words may seem harsh, especially during the holidays. But please understand the only reason I write this is because truth is so important. I’m not trying to take away your Christmas cheer, even if I do believe it’s not based in reality. You have the right to believe whatever you want. At the same time, I want people to have as much information as possible in order for them to consider whether or not their beliefs align with the Bible. Mark Twain once said, “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.” I would encourage you to consider the Jesus you follow. Do you follow the true Jesus of the Bible or do you follow a false Jesus? Will you celebrate the birth of the true Jesus this Christmas season or not?