(An angel said) "She (Mary) 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
Have you ever heard of the company LifeLock? It's founder and CEO comes on the radio and says his name and gives you his Social Security number because he is so sure his company can protect his identity and keep him safe from all kinds of mischief that people would want to do with that information. Identity theft is a growing problem in the world and let me tell you, when someone steals your identity, it is a nightmare trying to get things back in order with your banks, your business, your creditors, even your friends.
Yesterday, we talked about an identity loss even worse than that, one that can't be overcome by our technology or wisdom, our money, or our fame. It's the loss of our humanity because of our sin, our guilt, and our shame before God and each other. We also talked, though, about Jesus, a Savior, who would come into this mess and not just overcome that problem, but also grant us new life, a new lineage, and yes, even a new identity in Him, into the worst struggles you may find yourself, either because of what you have done or what others have done to you. Into the greatest abyss of struggle, even shame, comes a Savior with a Name above all other names, Jesus, the world's Savior.
His identity was not merely a family name or a privileged lineage; it was a fulfillment of all of God's promises from the beginning of time. His Name described His very purpose for being here. Jesus -- God in the flesh -- came to take our place, identity loss and all, to save people like you and me and to grant us a new status like His as a son or daughter of God.
You know, one of the reasons I have LifeLock is because Yvette's and my identity was stolen at one time. A woman stole checks from our mailbox and then started buying things all over Southern California. Suddenly, our bank account was near zero; creditors were calling for payments for things we didn't buy, and they all said we wrote the checks, which of course we never did. It took months and months for that to be overcome. But, what a day it was when all of that money was suddenly back in our checking account, as if it never happened at all.
As wonderful as that feeling was, it's nothing compared to the reality that because of Jesus Christ, the sins that drove you away from God have been paid for, the guilt you struggle with is something that can be released and overcome, and the status of being a child of God with real hope for the future is something that Christ Jesus earned and delivers to all who trust in Him by faith. That's a deposit of life into your account that should give you a joyful sense of what it means to overcome identity theft by His identity gift.
THE PRAYER: Dear Jesus, help us see what it means that as our Savior, You not only overcome the loss of our eternal identity because of our sin, but that you grant us Your status as a son or daughter of God as a gift -- to be lived out with joy, now and forever. Amen!
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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