The birth of Jesus joyfully proclaims the good news that God himself intervened in history to save his people from their sins. The divinely bestowed name “Jesus” and title “Immanuel” invite reflection upon this Savior’s identity and mission.
Who is he and what does he do?
The name Jesus (“God saves”) reveals what he does—saves people from their sins! He was born to live and die as the Savior of the world. This is shocking because the Bible says salvation comes from God alone. Yet, the birth narratives tell us that Mary’s son would be named Jesus because God’s salvation would come through him. Could this mean that Jesus is God?
The title Immanuel (“God with us”) confirms that Jesus is indeed God! At Jesus’ birth, God the Son became a man. The eternal Son joined himself to humanity forever taking on a new identity as the “God-man”—one person who was fully God and fully man. He changed his identity, left his home, and came to earth to pursue us and bring us back to the Father. As the great God-man, his divinity uniquely qualifies him to be God’s Savior.
Jesus came to save you from yourself.
Sin is (and always has been) our greatest plight. Everyone has sinned against God. We’ve broken his commands and stepped over his boundaries. We haven’t loved him with all of our hearts, souls, and minds. We haven’t treasured him above all else as the glorious One who deserves our whole devotion.
Sin alienates us from God and from one another. We delight in our sin then hide in our shame. We have chaotic hearts and create chaos in society. Despite all the campaigns and reforms, we still don’t know how to deal with our sin and shame. We’re unable to bring about what we need most—freedom from our sinful hearts.
But Jesus alone was born to do what we’re powerless to do. He would save us in the most fundamental sense because he would save us from ourselves. He didn’t come to condemn or crush dirty sinners; he came to bring life to the dead, healing to the broken, and hope to the downtrodden. Jesus lives to save sinners and we can trust that he’s able to do so because he’s Immanuel!