December 18, 2017
TEXT: (An angel said) "She will bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21)
Choosing a name for a baby can be hard. There are so many things to consider! Should we honor someone by choosing their name? Does it sound well with the family name? Will there be five other kids in kindergarten with the same name? Will it be too difficult to say or spell?
Joseph and Mary got to avoid all of this. The angel said simply, "Call his name Jesus," which means "The Lord is salvation." Then he gave the reason as well: "He will save His people from their sins."
Sin is one of those words that has been used so often and in so many wrong ways that it's almost useless now. At bottom it refers to something that is wrong, bad, evil, messed up, twisted, or corrupted-something that just shouldn't be that way, but it is, nonetheless. What's more, sin is something that didn't just happen by itself-somebody, somewhere, deserves the blame.
There is no culture, no country, no city, no family where sin isn't doing its destructive work. We live neck-deep in the results: broken relationships, hatred and resentment, sadness, trouble, loss and grief. But no matter how we try, we can't get free of them.
This is why God came into our world-to be born among us, to become our Savior. He is the only one who can free us from the trap of sin. Sin has no power over Him-He is the only human being who has never fallen into that trap. Instead, He reaches in and sets us free as well.
He did this when He lay down His life for us on the cross, paying our debt, letting all of us captives of sin go free. He took our sin with Him into death and left it there where it can never harm us again. And now that He has risen from the dead, He calls us to trust in Him and enjoy real freedom. More than that, He gives us everlasting life.
THE PRAYER: Lord, thank You for saving me from sin. Strengthen me in the freedom that You give, so I can serve You and my neighbors joyfully. Amen.