Christmas Sunday

Hesham Shehab: Christmas Sunday 2022… What Are the Reasons for the Incarnation

Sermon text preached by Rev. Hesham Shehab
Sunday, December 25, 2022
St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, Whiting, IN
Texts: Old Testament Micah 5:1-4; Gospel Luke 2

What Are the Reasons for the Incarnation

There are several reasons for the incarnation.  The first one, or the central purpose of the incarnation of Jesus was the redemption of humanity.  But in addition to this central purpose, there are other reasons for which Jesus was born.

First: Jesus came in order to fulfil the promises of God. Several times in the Old Testament, through the word of the prophets, God promised the birth of the Messiah.  In Micah 5: 2, a prophecy older than Isaiah. Micah wrote 750 years B.C and the text is so impressive.

2  But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days

In Hebrew, the text talks about the Eternal and Everlasting…not ancient, not old as the English translation says…so, the One who would come, according to Micah is not just a created human being.

Another prophecy came 700 y BC in Isaiah 7: 14:

14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Immanuel means God is with us…in Hebrew and Arabic it means God is with the common people…not only the priests or the clergy…etc.

The Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in 1948 prove the authenticity of the Old Testament text we have just cited and that was written hundreds of years before Christ.

In addition, Jesus came to reveal the Father. By the incarnation of Jesus Christ, God revealed himself as the Father of Jesus Christ and also the Father of all who believe in Him as Savior, In Matt. 11:26-27, Jesus said :

27 “All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

So, we cannot know the Father except through the revelation of God in Jesus Christ. John 14:9

“Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. »

Jesus, the Word of God, the LOGOS, has been with the Father since eternity, and no prophet was with the Father. If you want to visit a town like NY for example, you need a local guide who lives in NY, not a non-resident of NY. The same with knowing the Father. Only Jesus Christ knows the Father, because He’s been with the Father since eternity.

Secondly, Jesus came in order to become a high priest for us all

The epistle to the Hebrews says that Jesus Christ is for us a faithful high priest, and one who by his own experience in a human body, experienced the limitations of weakness of our life in the world.

Hebrews speaks often of Christ as our high priest who through the incarnation is identified with the sons of Adam.  Hebrews 4:15-16; 5:1-4;

15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. WITH THE BLOOD OF JESUS, EVERY CHRISTIAN CAN GO INTO THE HOLY OF HOLIES, IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD WITH CONFIDENCE. While in the Old Testament era, only the high priest could do that.

Third, Jesus came to take away our sins.

The key reason that Christ came into the world was to take away our sins. We are born sinners who cannot save ourselves. And the wages of sin is death. Only a sacrifice could atone for our sins. He died on the cross in order to take the sins of the world, and rose from the dead to give us eternal life.  Only believe and you will be saved and have eternal life.

Fourth, He came in order to destroy the works of the devil.

Jesus came as a light to expose the darkness of this world.  He did that by the presence of his holy life, by his teachings and by his works.

On the cross he destroyed the works and the power of the devil and his demons.

14 « Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, »

Fifth, Jesus came in order to show by his example a holy life.

Jesus is the visible manifestation of the invisible God. He shows us by his manner of living in the flesh that God attends to us in our conduct all our days.

Peter and John tell us that the life of Jesus here in this world was an example for us, 1 Peter 2:21 21 “For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.”

Christmas is all about God’s presence with us. Immanuel is God with us. Amma NU EEL. Christmas is all about incarnation.  Christmas is about the love and grace of God that is on the way, the love that is in fact already here!!

Christmas is God’s invitation to each one of us to experience within ourselves the love that forgives sin and the love that comes to bring healing to the world.  And, it is only the presence of Immanuel, God with us, that transforms this messy world, gives meaning to our lives,  and enables us to live into the Kingdom of God where all things are made new.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen and Merry Christmas.

Hesham Shehab

Read more from Hesham Shehab……

Hesham Shehab
Hesham Shehab
Educator, Journalist, Columnist, Islamic Expert, Muslim Expert, Human Rights Activist, Pastor at Salam Christian Fellowship | Website

Adjunct Faculty at College of DuPage, Formerly Adjunct Faculty at American University of Beirut and Pastor at Peace Lutheran Church Lombard, IL Name pronounciation: HI-shahm SHI-hab  Hebrews 12: 4 & Philippians 1: 29

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