Why do we need Christmas? Sure, we love the family times and all the food and the spirit and wonder of the season. Yet underneath all of that sentiment, what is the reason behind the season? You’re going to say, Jesus. Jesus is the reason for the season. Except he isn’t…
1 Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save,
nor his ear too dull to hear.
2 But your iniquities have separated
you from your God;
your sins have hidden his face from you,
so that he will not hear.
3 For your hands are stained with blood,
your fingers with guilt.
Your lips have spoken falsely,
and your tongue mutters wicked things.
12 For our offenses are many in your sight,
and our sins testify against us.
Our offenses are ever with us,
and we acknowledge our iniquities:
13 rebellion and treachery against the Lord,
turning our backs on our God…
15 The Lord looked and was displeased
that there was no justice.
16 He saw that there was no one,
he was appalled that there was no one to intervene;
so his own arm achieved salvation for him
20 “The Redeemer will come to Zion,
to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,”
declares the Lord.
21 “As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever,” says the Lord.
Isaiah 59:1-3, 12-13, 15-16, 20-21
Jesus isn’t the reason for the season. Jesus came to earth for a very important reason, yet he is not that reason. Jesus is the answer to the cause of Christmas. As we see here in Isaiah 59:2, our iniquities have separated us from God. Iniquity: it’s behaviour which is immoral or wicked or which shows impropriety. Sin. Our sin has separated us from God.
I still remember a classmate in my first university class telling me that she did not sin. She didn’t believe in sin. Pretty convenient. Except that our consciences tell us otherwise. Think you don’t sin? Start with your neighbour or spouse or enemy. Tell me how they sin. Oh… much easier. Now point back at yourself and use the same lens to view your own life. We all sin. We all fall short of the glory of God.
In fact, the result of our sin is that our sins have hidden God’s face from us so that he will not hear us. We have guilty hands and tongues which have uttered falsehood. Jesus came to earth because of that reason. Those sins. That iniquity. And because of the resulting separation from God. That’s why Jesus came. That’s the reason for the season.
We should respond to God as in vs. 12, acknowledging that our offenses are many and that our sins testify against us. We should agree with God that many times in our lives we turn our backs on him. God knows. He knows there is no justice and no intervener who can fix this apart from himself. And that’s why (vs. 16) his own arm achieved salvation.
The Redeemer of God would come to Zion. That’s Christmas. Our Redeemer, the Messiah, came to his people, and as we know from our readings this week, Jesus came also to all other nations. He is the answer. He is the arm of salvation reaching down from heaven for us to find hope in him.
Jesus’ covenant with us is forever. His Spirit, who is upon us when we come to Jesus, will never depart from us. Isn’t that the intended outcome of the season? That we would accept Jesus, who came to solve our separation, and be granted participation in the covenant of grace forever in our Lord?
The Redeemer comes (vs. 20) to those who repent of their sins. Yes, the coming of Jesus can cover all people, yet only those who acknowledge the reason for the season personally and turn back from their sin will realize that redemption… Let’s respond to God…