Advent 2 – 10 December 2017 –Mark 8:1-8
Prepare for the Savior’s coming by Repentance
Should Christmas Be Banned?
In Mark’s Gospel, there is no Christmas! It begins with an adult Son of God. After John, the Baptist’s preparation for Jesus He simply appears as a thirty-year-old adult seeking baptism.
If it were up to Mark, quite possibly, we would have no Christmas celebration. Should we follow Mark as the Puritans did in the 17th Century – by banning Christmas? Some would feel at home with such an idea. Now, to totally outlaw any celebration of Christmas might be stretching things a bit. However, in light of the materialism of our modern day maybe we should simply skip all of the Christmas “sell-a-bration”! It is imperative that we come to an honest understanding of what Christmas really means for this world.
What is Christmas all about?
1. Which is not simply an understanding of how He was born but we need to understand who was born in Bethlehem and for what reason He came to this earth. All of us are quite familiar with the birth of Jesus Christ. We are familiar with the story of His birth we know of the manger, the angels, and the star.
A. All these things are important. They point to an undisputed fact that Jesus was born, that He became a human being.
1. These facts points that Jesus was a man. Hardly anyone would dispute these events as fact. Most people are not offended to say that Jesus was born, that He became human.
2. To make the point that He came in history is all somewhat to say about Jesus. This is the all some are willing or comfortable to go with respect to the birth of Christ. To them “little baby Jesus’ is simply all they care to know concerning Christ. They will attest to the fact that a baby was born and that is it – nothing less and certainly nothing more!
B. If we get hung up on just His birth, we may lose out.
1. The reason for His birth is what is important. Why did He come? The Lord of life entered time and space to be our redeemer. He entered our world to bear our sin. He came to this earth to reconcile us back to the Father.
2. He is not simply a “cute baby” a little lamb. He is the eternal Son of God. Yes, He entered this world as you did for He came to be your substitute. He came to live a perfect life for you. He came to fulfill the law for you. He came to fulfill and keep every requirement the Father requires of you. To be your substitute He had to be perfect in every respect so that His sacrifice would be complete.
2. Jesus, the child who was born – He is “The Son of God”
A. Very God.
1. He is the Creator of us all. In Him is all life. He is the one who was with the Father from the foundations of the earth.
2. He is the all-powerful One by Him and for Him all things were made. Mark will begin his gospel with a powerful and bold confession. Jesus is the Son of God. This is Gospel and good news.
B. In Him is what all the prophets had written
1. Over 800 prophecies concerning the Savior were written in the Old Testament. Mark quotes from Malachi and Isaiah to show that John was not an ordinary man nor was Jesus. Mark was the predicted forerunner of the Messiah. John prepared the way for Jesus by calling the people to repent, confess their sins, and be baptized.
2. Jesus fulfilled each of these prophecies. He fulfilled every one of them. Every single prediction concerning the Christ was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Each has been fulfilled in His birth, life, suffering, death and resurrection.
3. Why He was born – He is “The Christ”
A. He is the One who came to save us
1 We could never save ourselves. Our sin condemns us. Our works are soiled with sin. Our attempts at being good fall short. We need a Savior. Only Christ will do.
2. Sin has separated us from God. Sin has caused a huge wedge to separate us from God, and from our neighbor. In Jesus’ life, passion, death and resurrection that which has caused separation has been removed.
B. By His suffering and death, we are saved and redeemed.
1. In Baptism we are brought into His family. Paul reminds us “When we were baptized into Christ Jesus we were baptized into His death. We were buried with Him by our baptism into death so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father we too should live a new life. For if, we have been united with Him in a death like His we shall certainly be reunited with Him in a resurrection like His. Your baptism is both a death certificate and a birth certificate. In your baptism, you died to sin and became alive in Christ forever.
2. Through this covenant of Baptism we are kept in faith. He calls, gathers, enlightens, sanctifies and keeps you forever in the faith. He gives us His Holy Spirit. As He calls you, He plants the seed of faith into your heart. He enlightens you causing growth toward the light of the Gospel. He sanctifies you so that your works may flower and show the fruit of a genuine faith. He keeps you watering and nurturing your faith so that it remains active and effective, as He has promised to use you in His kingdom.
So, should Christmas be banned? By no means! When we look past the trappings, we see the One who has come to redeem and save us. He is God in the flesh our Savior, King and Redeemer.
Words – 1,000
Passive Sentences – 12%
Readability – 78.8%
Reading Level – 5.2
Woodcut by Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, © WELS