5 Consequently, when Christ[a] came into the world, he said,
“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
but a body have you prepared for me;
6 in burnt offerings and sin offerings
you have taken no pleasure.
7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’”
8 When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law),9 then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:5-10 ESV)
Summary—In our text today, the author of the Hebrews quotes from the words of David in Psalm 40 to explain why there is a Christmas. and why Christ came into this world. “I have come to do your will, O God.” When Jesus came into the world he changed everything. Old Testament sacrifices were fulfilled in Christ. The Old Covenant sacrificial system was replaced with a better sacrifice once for all. The author explains this by saying, “He sets aside the first to establish the second.” By offering Himself as sacrifice, Christ marked the end of the sacrifices of the Old Testament and ushered in the accomplishing something that no one else in the whole world to do. He came to show the way to salvation through His perfect sacrifice.
Insight—When you look under the Christmas tree, what do you see? Why were they put there? To some, these presents are nothing more than presents, wrapped with sheets of paper and secured with sticky tape. They are just material objects, purchased as an offering for the enjoyment of their families. We get so wrapped up (pun intended) in getting the perfect gift that we lose sight of why they are put their in the first place. During the time of Christ, Jews lost track of why they offered their presents to God. Day after day, they brought animals to the alter as sacrifices so that they would make God happy and receive his favor and reward. They thought the sacrifice alone would earn God’s salvation. They were wrong. Although God told Israel to offer sacrifices, he took no pleasure in these offerings. Listen to the words of I Samuel 15:22, “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice the the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” God is not satisfied only with sacrifices. They are just substitutes. They are shadows pointing to the reality of something better. If you put presents under the tree to earn favor with loved ones, than you are missing the point of the gifts. We aren’t earning anything that way. Christians give gifts because we have already received the best gift of all. Only Christians can give presents in the right way. We know, by faith that God gave Christ to His people once and for all to make us holy. That means he gave us Christ out of love. Those gifts under the tree represent that perfect gift. So give with a cheerful heart, with the right attitude of giving, with the love that Christ already showed us in His present to us.
Child Catechism—Q: Why did Christ come into the World? A: To do God’s will.
Discussion—What is the difference between giving and grabbing presents during Christmas? Why can Christians alone give presents in the right way?
Prayer—Father God in heaven, we rejoice in your present to us this Christmas season. We humbly thank you for sending your Son as a sacrifice offered for our salvation. You have made us a people who can rejoice in your gifts. Help us to reflect that joy to others in our giving by the power of the Holy Spirit. Use our gifts and joyful obedience to bring the nations into glad service of our Lord Jesus. We ask this in name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Contributed by Mike Fenimore