In a sermon from Matthew 10, Skye Jethani warns us against looking at the Bethlehem manger and thinking only about this innocent, helpless, sweet baby, tender and mild, laying down his sweet head. He is no such thing. Jesus said in that text that he did not come to bring peace but a sword.
He did not come to give us the warm fuzzies, but to demand our allegiance. He came to die on the cross to pay for our sins. He came to draw you to himself so you could be forgiven. He demands that we give him first place in our lives and worship nothing else — be it family or ourselves.
One of the greatest thinkers of the past century, C. S. Lewis, said it well in his book, Mere Christianity.
Christ says: Give me all. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work. I want you. I’ve not come to torment your natural self but to kill it. No half measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there. I want to have the whole tree down. I don’t want to drill the tooth or crown it or stop it but have it out. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires that you think are innocent as well as the ones you think are wicked, the whole outfit. And I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself. My own will shall become yours.
The all-grown-up Jesus wants your all. You can’t negotiate with him. You can’t bargain with him. He doesn’t offer a full-serving for some, and lunch-sized portions for the rest.
He has come to dethrone everything that we might illegitimatly place at the center of our lives. This message speaks of this all-grown-up Jesus in greater detail.