December 23 I Friday
“Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a Son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” —Matthew 1:20-21
When we read statements like the opening verse of this devotion, we tend to go straight to the cross and think of Jesus literally saving us from our sins. It is right for us to think of Jesus saving us through His death on our behalf; He rescued us because God’s justice demanded that the consequence of sin be paid out in full. Hebrews 9:22 tells us, “ …the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” In other words, God’s justice demanded retribution, a perfect, spotless sacrifice to be made.
As a righteous judge, God sits in the judgment seat and pronounced the death sentence upon humanity for their sin. But God’s love and compassion leads Him to step down from the judge’s seat, go where we are in the prisoner’s box and pay the sentence that His justice demanded. His Son, Jesus, lived the perfect life that we could not live and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice to absorb the full sentence of our sin. This satisfied the justice of God that was demanding punishment to be paid out.
Returning to the opening verse of this devotion, what God revealed to Joseph is that Jesus not only saves us from the penalty of sin, but He saves us also from the fulness of our sins. In other words, He saved us theologically, relationally, behaviourally and communally. Theologically, Jesus is constantly confronting people’s broken interpretation and understanding of what God is like. Jesus is the perfect interpretation of who God is, as Hebrews 1:3 tells us: “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being....” Relationally, the primary call of Jesus is not to a religion, a list of rules, ceremonious rites, a school of thought or a philosophy but to a relationship with Him. Behaviourally, Jesus set an example for how we are to love God and others, as we understand what humanity was meant to be. By the power of His Holy Spirit at work within us, He empowers us to live differently. Communally, when we place our faith in Christ, we are not just reconciled to God; we are reconciled to one another. When we become a Christian, it is not just belonging to an organization; it is belonging to a living, active and dynamic organism—a global family.
How awesome and powerful the revelation that God gave to Joseph regarding Mary’s unborn child. Jesus came into this world, not just to save us from our sins, but to save us in every dimension of the word.
Prayer: Dear Mighty God, You are the righteous and just Judge. Thank You for sending Jesus Christ into this world, not just to save us from our sins, but to save us totally in every dimension of the word. Praise You!