Have you ever pondered the question of why we have Christmas at all? To be more specific, why was Jesus born in the first place? For what purpose did He come into this world?
The primary answer, of course, is that Jesus came to die for the sins of the world. All four Gospel writers describe Jesus’ death and resurrection in great detail. Throughout the course of Jesus’ ministry, though, He also spoke of other purposes that He came to fulfill.
During these next several weeks leading up to Christmas, we will explore five reasons the Bible gives as to why Jesus was born almost 2,000 years ago.
One reason Jesus gives is this: He came to set free those who are oppressed. At the beginning of His public ministry, Jesus went to the synagogue and read from the prophet Isaiah. This is recorded in the fourth chapter of Luke and, in verse 18, Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.”
All five groups of people that Jesus identified in this verse – the poor, the brokenhearted, the captives, the blind, and the bruised – are people that were oppressed, ignored, or beaten down in first-century Jewish society. Jesus came to give a voice to those who seem to have none and to lift those who are captive and hurting to a place of honor and respect.
Read through the Scriptures and you will see that God has great compassion on the poor and the downtrodden. In the Old Testament, for example, there was a provision God made for the poor called gleaning. When landowners were harvesting in their fields, if the workers overlooked a sheath or dropped some, they were not to go back and get it, but were to “leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless, and the widow” (Deuteronomy 24:19). Later, God champions the cause of the poor through the prophets with Amos, for example, accusing the leaders of “trampling on the poor” (Amos 5:11). Then, in the New Testament, God chooses Mary, a poor peasant girl, to give birth to the Messiah, the Savior of the world. Oppression takes many forms.
All of us have been oppressed by sin and need the deliverance that comes through the blood of Christ. In addition, Jesus mentions the bruised (have you been hurt?), the brokenhearted (have you been betrayed?), the captives (are you living with an addiction?), the blind (you can have healthy eyes, but fail to see the light of God), and the poor (you can be wealthy materially, but poor spiritually if you don’t know Jesus). You see, Jesus came to deliver you from all of these things that bind us. Yes, He came to bring eternal salvation to our sin-soaked souls, but in addition, He wants to deliver you from these debilitating conditions. Jesus is our great deliverer!