December 25 I Friday
“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 1:21
The idea of needing a saviour is not appealing unless we are the one in trouble. For example, if we are drowning and somebody throws us a lifebelt, we are glad of a saviour. If our car is stuck in a snowdrift and somebody comes along and tows us out, we are glad of a saviour. If we develop an acute appendicitis and a physician performs surgery, removing the appendix, we are glad of a saviour. These three scenarios demonstrate that a saviour is the one who gets us out of a situation that we otherwise would not be able to deal with ourselves.
In the Gospel of Matthew, when Mary, who was pledged to marry Joseph, was found to be pregnant before they came together, Joseph wanted to divorce her quietly. However, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him, “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” (Matthew 1:20-21). The name “Jesus” is the Greek form of “Joshua” which means “the LORD saves.”
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem some months later, an angel of the Lord appeared to some shepherds in a nearby field, sharing with them the good news. “Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:11). The shepherds were told to find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.
About a month after Jesus was born, according to the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took Jesus to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. At the temple, the family encountered Simeon, a man “who was righteous and devout....It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.” When Simeon saw Jesus, he took the baby in his arms and praised God saying, “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation…” (Luke 2:25-30).
In these three events—before Jesus was born, when Jesus was born and after Jesus was born—a recurring theme is found in the words “save,” “Saviour” and “salvation.” On this Christmas Day, do we recognize that Jesus came as the Saviour of the world, bringing us salvation? But most importantly, will we acknowledge our need for the Saviour?
Prayer: Precious Jesus, I acknowledge my need of You. Thank You for being the Saviour of the world and coming 2,000 years ago to save us from our sins. Praise You!