Between His conception and birth He was called “God with us”. Wise men called Him the “King of the Jews”. Gabriel said that He would be “great . . . the Son of the Highest” and “Holy . . . the Son of God”. An angel announced the birth of “a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord” (Matthew 1:23; 2:2; Luke 1:32, 35; 2:11).
Jesus was no less than the Son of God, the Saviour of the world, and the Sovereign of Israel. However, contrary to what might be expected,
He came to Serve Us and Sacrifice for Us
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45).
As God incarnate and the promised Messiah, the Lord Jesus had the right to be served by all. However, His goal in coming was not to be served but to serve. He came, not with the goal that others sacrifice for Him, but that He might sacrifice for others.
This distinguishes Christianity from all other religions for, while many religious adherents boast of great service and sacrifice for their gods, the Christian’s greatest boast is that their God served and sacrificed for them.
In what sense did He serve? He came to work for others; He came to seek the good of others. The apostle Paul later reminded Christians that “being in the form of God” the Lord Jesus had “made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant”. As God’s perfect Servant He expended His energy in the service of others, even to the point of “the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:6-8). During His years of service in this world He healed the sick, fed the hungry, and raised the dead. He gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and speech to the mute. He comforted the bereaved, calmed the distressed, and cleansed the defiled. His miracles were not performed out of self-interest or to alleviate His own sufferings but exclusively for the benefit of others. He had come to serve others and His greatest work for others was His own death at the cross. This leads to the subject of His sacrifice.
In what sense did He sacrifice? He entered this world in order to give “His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). The price for sin had to be paid and the Son of God took to Himself humanity to pay that price. He voluntarily laid down His own life so that others may be freed from the tyranny of Satan and the dominion of sin. The price demanded by God for the sin of humanity was paid in precious blood by the Son of God. He “has loved us and given Himself for us” (Ephesians 5:2).
Many people, hoping to enter heaven at the end of life, speak much of their service and sacrifice for God. This is human religion; it is not the Christian Gospel. God will not accept any service we do or sacrifices we make if the goal is to atone for our own sins. The Bible is clear that salvation is “not by works of righteousness which we have done” (Titus 3:5).
How then can we have hope of heaven? Jesus Christ has served and sacrificed. He has finished the work required to save us; He has offered the one sacrifice that God has accepted for sin. To be saved, we must place our confidence only and entirely on Jesus Christ and His finished work. The Christian’s boast can be summed up in these words of Horatius Bonar:
On merit not my own I stand;
On doings which I have not done,
Merit beyond what I can claim,
Doings more perfect than my own.
Upon a life I have not lived,
Upon a death I did not die,
Another’s life, Another’s death,
I stake my whole eternity.