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A Savior, who is Christ the Lord (Part 1)

December 13, 2006

Luke 2:1-7 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

 

Have you ever thought about how outrageous was this decree of Caesar Augustus?  Can you imagine the outcry if our president ordered everyone to travel to the town of his birth to be registered?!  To get federal ID cards?  I don’t know if Caesar’s motive was law enforcement to weed out the terrorist zealots who wanted to overthrow Rome, or if it was simply to make for the easier collection of taxes.  Either way, it sure offends our limited government sensibilities, doesn’t it?

And yet, Joseph submits.  And thereby is fulfilled a seven hundred year old prophecy from the book of Micah which said that Christ would be born in Bethlehem.  What wonderful comfort we can draw from the sovereignty of God!  Even the wicked policies of overreaching governments unwittingly accomplish the decrees of the Lord. 

Luke 2:8-11 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

What is the good news of great joy?  That unto us is born a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  Three titles are ascribed to Jesus by the angel (Savior, Christ, and Lord).  We’ll look at them one at a time.  First, and I think it is significant that it is first, Jesus is a Savior. 

I. A Savior

Because we’ve heard this verse hundreds of times, the word Savior doesn’t surprise us here, but if you were to clear your mind and read all of Luke chapters 1 and 2 as though for the first time, I think the word Savior would stand out to you as not what you were expecting.   I think the word that a first-time reader of this book might expect to see here is King.  Unto you is born a king.  Why?  Because the angel said to Mary that “the Lord God will give to [Jesus] the throne of his father David” and in the last paragraph all the emphasis was on getting Joseph to Bethlehem so that Jesus could be born in the city of David.  And yet here in verse 11, before he is called a King, he is first called a Savior.

But let’s think about it further.  Is not saving the main thing that kings do?  Kings deliver their subjects from their enemies.  That’s why people want to have kings.  They gladly submit to a king when they want protection from their enemies.  Kings fight battles to save their subjects.  Sure we also want a king who is just and righteous and defends the cause of the poor and oppressed.  But you could have the most benevolent king and the most just and peaceful kingdom in the world and it would be of little value if it could just be overrun by Attila the Hun tomorrow.   Kings must be deliverers, kings must be saviors.

We’ve seen this the last two weeks in the speech of Zechariah.  Remember in 1:69 he praised God for sending Jesus to be “a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David”  He’s a king, he’s a descendant of King David.  But he’s called a horn of salvation.  He delivers us from our enemies, he impales the lion with his mighty horn.  And from what enemies are we saved?  We are saved from our sins.  Zechariah himself said so in his same speech in verse 77 “the knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins

And how did Jesus save us from our sins?  You’ve heard me say it 100 times, so I’ll say in another’s words this morning.  Bob B. gave me for Christmas a book of previously unpublished Jonathan Edwards sermons.  And one of them happened to be a Christmas sermon.  So I read it this week and here is how Edwards describes the way Jesus accomplished peace on earth and good will toward men. 

“This upon the account of sin only that God is angry with us.  Where sin is, there God’s displeasure and hatred will be….[But] now the wrath of God is diverted form the head of the sinners and is executed upon the head of his beloved Son, who interposes himself and stands in the gap and bears all upon his own body and soul.  All the storm lights on him, and we are sheltered and safe.  There is no more of God’s wrath remains.”

 

That’s the good news of great joy.  Jesus has been born into the world to be our Savior from sin, to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.  He shields all those who believe in Him from the storm of God’s wrath against our sins.  If these thoughts don’t seem Christmassy, then we’ve forgotten the true meaning of Christmas.  Unto us is born this day a Savior.   The joy of Christmas is the joy of being saved.  It’s not chestnuts roasting by an open fire, it’s not the blessings of family and fellowship.  These are to be received with thanksgiving, but we must be very careful not to let them eclipse our Savior, the fount of all joy.  If every other blessing is stripped away, the Christian still perseveres because the joy of the Lord is his strength and he rejoices in his Savior.  If you want to put the Christ back in Christmas, meditate much today upon the fact that he is your Savior and seek restoration of your joy in His salvation of your soul from the penalty of sin.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Egana permalink
    December 20, 2006 5:31 pm

    how can there be no comments here?

    at least a resounding AMEN! Jesus is AWESOME!

  2. Egana permalink
    December 20, 2006 5:32 pm

    “The joy of Christmas is the joy of being saved”

    OH YEAH! that’s so true!

    he gives us everything in Himself. He is our joy, our strength, our song…

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