Below, Sinclair Ferguson writes about the true Christ of Christmas from his new book, In Christ Alone: Reflections on the Heart of the Gospel.
The Scriptures systematically strip away the veneer that covers the real truth of the Christmas story. Jesus did not come to add to our comforts. He did not come to help those who were already helping themselves or to fill life with more pleasant experiences. He came on a deliverance mission, to save sinners, and to do so He had to destroy the works of the Devil (Matt. 1:21;1 John 3:8b).
Those whose lives were bound up with the events of the first Christmas did not find His coming an easy and pleasurable experience. Mary and Joseph’s lives were turned upside down. The shepherds’ night was frighteningly interrupted, and their futures potentially radically changed. The magi faced all kinds of inconvenience and family separation. Our Lord Himself, conceived before wedlock, born probably in a cave, would spend His early days as a refugee from the bloodthirsty and vindictive Herod (Matt. 2:13–21).
There is, therefore, an element in the Gospel narratives that stresses that the coming of Jesus is a disturbing event of the deepest proportions. It had to be thus, for He did not come merely to add something extra to life, but to deal with our spiritual insolvency and the debt of our sin. He was not conceived in the womb of Mary for those who have done their best, but for those who know that their best is “like filthy rags” (Isa. 64:6)—far from good enough—and that in their flesh there dwells no good thing (Rom. 7:18). He was not sent to be the source of good experiences, but to suffer the pangs of hell in order to be our Savior.