“… and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)
If there was anyone in the Christmas story who had the right to an explanation of what was happening, it surely was Joseph. The angel who shared these words with Joseph expressed what Christmas is all about when he told Joseph to call the baby Mary was going to have “Jesus” because He would save His people from their sins.
The word “Jesus” actually means “Savior.” But I would like to call your attention to the reality that the baby was to be given this name because He would save His people from their sins.
Many evangelical believers seem to put a spin on this statement of the angel that was never intended. Our spin is something like “forgive His people for their sins.” However, the hard reality is the angel declared that it was the purpose on the heart of God to save His people from their sins.
In the words of Psalm 107’s redemption hymn, when God redeems us from our chaos it is also God’s plan to deliver us from our chains. That is obviously on the heart of God when the angel pronounced this Christmas Good News.
Redemption means “to buy back and bring back that which was lost.” Rehabilitation in its Latin root means “to invest again with dignity.” Jesus came to forgive us for our sins, but He came to offer us much more than that. Jesus wants to save (and deliver) us from our sins.
This year have a personal Christmas – believe the declaration the angel made to Joseph!
Dick Woodward, 24 December 2009