One of the most remarkable things about the birth of Jesus Christ is the fact that it for centuries was trailed and foretold in many of the Old Testament books. The prophet Isaiah is the standout voice when it comes to the prophecies concerning the coming of Jesus into this world. For example, we see it in Isaiah 7:14; 8:8 and 8:10. Six hundred and fifty years later, that which Isaiah spoke about was fulfilled. Before that momentous event took place, there was a significant precursor.
The Bible tells us in Matthew’s account of the birth of Jesus the Messiah, that Joseph, who was engaged to be married to Mary, was visited by an angel as he contemplated the possibility of breaking the engagement quietly. As he was thinking about this, an angel appeared to him in a dream and said to him, ‘Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child she is bearing was conceived by the Holy Spirit.’ (Matthew 1:18-20)
One of the most remarkable words that the angel spoke and which is the focus of this short article as we reflect on the meaning of Christmas is found in Matthew 1:21. We read these words, ‘And she will have a son, and you shall name him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sin.’
One of the things that characterises certain cultures around the world is the significance that is attached to names. Unlike certain sub-cultures in the Western world where children are given names that sometimes makes one wonder, the naming of children in ancient cultures and certain cultures in our world today, is a very serious business. Due care and consideration is given before a child is named. When one examines those names carefully, each name carries real meaning. Names can speak of history or the circumstances surrounding the birth. Sometimes the names carry the hopes, aspirations, dreams and expectations of the parents. At other times they are profoundly prophetic. So, whereas generally speaking in Western cultures, names are connotative, in ancient ones, including the ancient Near East, names are distinctly denotative.
That is what we find in the name Jesus. Put simply, the name means Saviour. The implications of this name are far-reaching. The name given to the child contained the essence of His life mission. He was named Jesus because His reason for being, the purpose for which He was sent to this world, was to be the Saviour of the world. The name not only carried purpose it had inherent power to accomplish that for which it had been given. The name Jesus carries both purpose and power.
So, what God offers us through His Son this Christmas time and throughout the days and years that lie ahead is His Son Jesus, who brings salvation to all mankind. That is why in another well-known verse in the Bible Jesus says, ‘For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life..’ (John 3: 16).
Dear Reader, that in essence is the message of Christmas. It is the heart of the Christian message. Jesus is the saviour of the world. That in essence, is the message of Christmas.
God wants to give you eternal life through His Son Jesus Christ. All He needs on your part is an acknowledgement that you are in need of a Saviour, the confession of your sins and the acceptance of Jesus as your Saviour, with the promise: ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.’ (Romans 10:13)
Copyright Emmanuel Mbakwe 2015©
If you have read this article and you are not a Christian, I would like to invite you to receive Christ as Saviour and Lord in your life by praying this simple prayer:
‘God in heaven, I acknowledge that I am sinner and deserve to be punished for all the wrongs I have done. I am truly sorry. Thank you for sending your Son Jesus to this world. I believe He lived, died and rose again for my sins. I repent of all past sins and ask you to forgive me because Jesus. I confess and ask Jesus to come into my life and be my Saviour and Lord. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me to obey you and lead me to follow you all the days of my life. Thank you God for giving me eternal life through your Son Jesus. Amen!’