Big Idea: Jesus came to be someone and to do something that nobody else could do.
We just read one of the best Christmas passages. I remember reading it as a kid, and I’ve loved hearing it ever since then. It’s what we are celebrating tonight as we remember the birth of Jesus two thousand years ago.
But I want to poke a little behind the events — the birth — to ask what Jesus was sent to do. The Bible teaches that Jesus came on a mission. He was born in Bethlehem just over two thousand years ago because he had a vocation. And that’s what I want to look at with you for a few minutes.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Hebrews 7:26-28 gives us the answer. Let me read it, and then let me explain it.
For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.
Jesus came to be someone and to do something. This is the reason he was born. This is the reason for Christmas.
Jesus Came to Be Someone
Jesus was born to take on a profession. Like Joseph, he would become a builder. But he was also born to become a high priest.
A high priest in Israel is the person who is responsible to serve as a representative and mediator between people and God. The problem with all the high priests that ever existed is that they they were sinners. They had to offer sacrifices not only for the people’s sins but for their own sins too. Not only that, but they kept dying. They needed to be replaced.
But Jesus was born to be a different kind of high priest. He is, as the CSB puts it, “the kind of high priest we need” (7:26). The words mean that Jesus is the high priest who is perfectly fitted for us. He’s just right for what we needed.
What makes him so good? Verse 26 tells us. He is:
- “holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners” — All of this means that, unlike the other high priests, he is sinless. He never sinned. He didn’t have to offer a sacrifice for himself.
- “exalted above the heavens” — Unlike the other high priests, he’s not dead. He didn’t need to be replaced. He’s right where we need him to be, right now. He is still acting as our perfect high priest for us.
We needed a high priest like this. There was no human alive who could ever fill this role. That’s why Jesus came. Jesus came to take on the role that nobody else could ever fill. That’s why Jesus was born as a baby in Bethlehem.
Jesus came to be someone: a sinless, exalted high priest. Jesus came to be someone. But Jesus also came to do something.
Jesus Came to Do Something
Verse 27 says, “He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself.”
The late James Montgomery Boice had a great sermon. The sermon’s title was “Where Is the Lamb?” The quote comes from Genesis 22:7, where it was spoken by Isaac, Abraham’s son. God had told Abraham to take Isaac to Mount Moriah and offer him as a burnt sacrifice.
They packed everything but the sacrificial lamb, so Isaac asked, “Where is the lamb?” He didn’t know that he was the one that was supposed to be sacrificed! Abraham trusted God, and said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” And God did. God interrupted Abraham.
Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called the name of that place, “The LORD will provide.” (Genesis 22:12-14)
Boice said that Isaac’s question is pretty much the theme verse of the entire Old Testament. Where is the lamb? Humanity is sinful. We deserve death because of sin. We can’t come to God without dying. The only way is if someone dies in our place. Innocent animals died so that the people didn’t have to.
But animals can never fully take our place. And so the problem continues: where is the lamb? Where is the one who can fully and finally take our place and die in our place, finally dying in our place once and for all so that we don’t have to?
Well, this passage tells us. Jesus is that lamb. Because of who he is — holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners — he is able to be that Lamb whose blood is sacrificed for the sins of his people.
“Where is the lamb?” The Lamb is lying in a manger in Bethlehem. Jesus came to be someone and to do something that nobody else could ever do. He came to be the sinless High Priest and the sacrifice so that we would never lack a representative with God or a solution to our sins.
That’s what Christmas is all about. Jesus came to be someone and to do something that nobody else could do.
Where is the Lamb? The Lamb is Jesus. So come. Adore him. Worship him. Trust him. He is perfectly suited to your needs.
Father, thank you that Jesus did what no other high priest could do. Thank you also that he did what no animal sacrifice could do. He is our sinless High Priest, perfectly fitted to what we need. And he died in our place.
Where is the Lamb? Lying in a manger. So come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord. Amen.