In verse 11 Luke, quoting the angel of the Lord gives Jesus three titles. These titles reveal this child’s identity and His mission. These titles remind us that the baby born in Bethlehem two thousand years ago was no ordinary baby. That baby was God in the flesh, Philippians 2:6-8; John 1:1, 14.
HE CAME TO REDEEM US
The first title given to Him is that of “Savior”. The word refers to “one who delivers, saves, or preserves”. The baby is identified as One who will save, deliver, and preserve. That title begs the question, who needs to be saved, delivered, and preserved? And, why does anyone need to be saved, delivered, or preserved?
Notice what the angel says to the shepherds. He says, “unto you born this day…a Savior”. The phrase “unto you” speaks directly to the shepherds. It is a personal declaration that those shepherds were in need of a Savior. We have talked at length about the shepherds and their standing in that society. They were, in many cases, social pariahs. They were outcasts from the temple. They were on the lowest rung of the social ladder. These men needed a Savior. They needed someone to deliver them.
But, I also call your attention to verse 10. That verse tells us that the news brought by the angel was “to all people”. That phrase reminds us that we are no different from the shepherds. They need a Savior, and so do we. They needed a deliverer, and so do we. The fact is, we share a common link with those ancient shepherds. They were sinners and so are we. The Bible is crystal clear on this point: Romans 3:10-18; 23.
Since we were sinners, we needed a Savior; we need a Deliverer. Our sin makes us the enemies of God, Romans 8:7. Our sin condemns us in the eyes of God and brings us under His judgment, Romans 6:23. We could never save ourselves. We could never earn our own salvation. Ephesians 2:8-9. We need something that we cannot provide for ourselves. What we cannot do for ourselves was provided for us by the Savior the angels pointed the shepherds to that night in Bethlehem.
His destiny was to go to a place called Calvary where He was:
• Rejected by the people He came to save, John 1:11, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not”.
• Crucified by the Romans, Matthew 27:35, “And they crucified Him…”
• Judged by Almighty God, Matthew 27:46, “And about the ninth hour, Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
• Our sins were placed on Him, 1 Peter 2:24, “Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”
• And God judged Him in our place, 1 Peter 3:18, “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit”.
• On that cross, the Savior redeemed the sinner, 1 Peter 1:18-19,
• He forever satisfied God’s demands for sin, 1 John 4:10, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
• He made it possible for us to be made right with God, 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”
With His death, Jesus Christ the Son of God, fulfilled His mission and He fulfilled the prophecy the angel gave to Joseph before He was born: “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins,” Matthew 1:21.
HE CAME TO RECONCILE US
The second title is that of “Christ”. This word means “the anointed One”. The word refers to someone who has been ceremonially anointed for an office. The title “Christ” speaks of Jesus as the One Who is the fulfillment of all the ancient prophesies. He is the answer to all the promises of the Old Testament.
The list of Old Testament types fulfilled by Jesus is much longer. But the title “Christ” speaks of His as “the Anointed One”. In the Old Testament, anointing was performed for those taking three offices. Those offices are prophets, priests, and kings.
Jesus Christ fulfills all those offices.
• He is the King of Kings, Revelation 19:16.
• He is a prophet, Matthew 13:57.
• He is also our High Priest. Hebrews 9:11 says, “But Christ being come a high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building”.
In the word “Christ”, the office of Jesus as our High Priest is what is in view. The high priest in the Old Testament was a mediator between God and the people. He spoke for the people in the presence of God, and He spoke for God in the presence of the people. The high priest was a man who stood between God and the people. It was His job to sprinkle blood on the mercy seat on the Day of Atonement. The high priest entered the Holy of Holies with the blood of a sacrificial goat and He offered that blood to atone for the sins of Israel.
What sets Jesus apart from the Old Testament priest is that Jesus went before Almighty God with His Own blood. “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us,” Hebrews 9:12. When Jesus died on the cross, He was the true Mercyseat! When His blood was shed, and His life was poured out, God was satisfied.
After His death, Jesus was buried. On the third day, He arose from the dead. Then, He ascended back to Heaven to serve as our Great High Priest. In His position at the right hand of God, “He ever liveth to make intercession” for us, Hebrews 7:25. Not only is Jesus our Savior, but He is also our High Priest. Paul said that Jesus is our “Mediator”. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,” 1 Timothy 2:5. The word “mediator” speaks of “a go-between”. It literally refers to “reconciler”, or to “one Who brings others together”.
That is what the Lord Jesus does for us. He makes it possible for us to approach God. He makes it possible for God to accept us when we do approach Him, “To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved,” Ephesians 1:6.
Isaiah 59:2 tells us that our sins “separate” us from God. Jesus paid for our sins. He died as a man for fallen men. When He died, His death was accepted by God as our death. When we turn to Christ by faith, God accepts us in Jesus Christ. If we tried to approach God in ourselves, we would be rejected and sent to Hell. But, when we approach God through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, we are accepted by God as if we were Christ Himself.
In Christ, two warring parties, holy, righteous God, and wicked, sinful men, are brought together. 2 Corinthians 5:19 reminds us of a powerful truth. It says, “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”
Now, wicked, lost sinners can come to God because we have a Mediator. We have a High Priest in Heaven Who represents us before the throne of grace. We have “an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous”, 1 John 2:1.
Jesus in Bethlehem came to redeem us, and He came to reconcile us to God. He is our Savior, and He is our Great High Priest! Hebrews 7:26-27 says this about Jesus: “For such a high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for His own sins, and then for the people’s: for this, He did once, when he offered up Himself.”
HE CAME TO RULE US
The third title given is that of “Lord”. This word speaks of One Who is “supreme in authority; one who controls; one who is master of all”. This title is one of authority. It speaks of One Who is on absolute control.
This title reminds us of just Who Jesus is.
• He is the Creator of all things.
– “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made,” John 1:3.
– “For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him,” Colossians 1:16.
• He is the Controller of all things.
– “And He is before all things, and by Him, all things consist,” Colossians 1:17.
– He “…worketh all things after the counsel of His own will,” Ephesians 1:11.
– “But our God is in the heavens: He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased,” Psalms 115:3.
– “Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did He in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.” Psalms 135:6.
• He is the Concluder of all this in that He alone will determine the destiny of all people who have ever lived. Faith in Jesus is the dividing line between those who go to Heaven and those who go to Hell, 1 John 5:12.
The title “Lord” reminds all humanity that Jesus Christ is to be obeyed in all things. His Word is to honor as God’s final word to men. Thus, the Bible is to be the final authority for all faith and practice. His will is to be sought and followed in all the choices we make in life. He is Lord, and we are to honor Him as such. When we obey Him, we prove that we love Him, John 14:15. When we disobey Him, we demonstrate the truth that He is not the Lord of our lives.
We have all heard people talk about “making Jesus Lord of their lives”. The fact is, you cannot make Jesus be what He already is. He is Lord whether people recognize Him as Lord or not. Mankind would do well to remember that Jesus is “Lord of all”, Acts 10:36.
How the angels must have marveled when the Lord of Glory concealed His glory behind a robe of human flesh. How they must have wondered as He lived a life of poverty and rejection in this world. How they must have watched with awe and indignation as He died for the very people who cried “crucify Him”. The angels were accustomed to worshiping Him and enjoying His presence in Heaven. That is what they were created to do.
I wonder if they still marvel when they see a lost sinner who has lived his life in open rebellion to God humble himself before Jesus Christ and cry out for salvation. I would imagine that they are amazed when they see that sinner accepted by God, saved by grace, and made a “new creature” in Jesus. How it must amaze them when they see that rebellious sinner become a faithful follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.
That is what Jesus does! He takes rebels and transforms them into children of God who delight in doing the will of the Father. Those who know Him love Him, and the reason we love Him is that He first loved us, 1 John 4:19. Obedience to the word of God is easy for this who loves Jesus. He is our Master, and doing His will is not a difficult thing to do. He has changed us and we recognize Him as Lord.
The lost do not have that opinion of Him. They struggle against His Word and they rebel against His will. They do not know Him because they do not know Him. Even though they rebel against Him, He is still Lord of all, and they will face Him one day in judgment.
Let those of us who know Him yield to His will for our lives. Let us happily bow to His authority in all things, and even when we do not understand what He is doing, let us trust that He can be trusted to do what is right all the time, and in every circumstance of life. He is Lord! Happy is the soul that respects and honors His Lordship!