Jesus: God Saves Those Who Believe

Jesus: God Saves Those Who Believe

You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.
–Matthew 1:21

The central figure in this entire Christmas story is the baby in the manger, Jesus Christ. C. S. Lewis said the greatest miracle of all time was not the atonement, and it wasn’t even the resurrection. The greatest miracle of all time was the incarnation: that God, the great, majestic creator of this universe poured all of Himself into this tiny baby, Jesus. That is beyond our comprehension. Not only how could God do such a thing, but why would He do such a thing? Why would the Son of God leave the throne of heaven and be born in an animal feeding trough, live a humiliating life, and suffer an excruciating death? He didn’t come to earth to teach us great truth, and He didn’t come to set a great example. Jesus came for one reason: to die for our sins, to provide the only way to God the Father. That’s why He came.

You see that even in His name, Jesus. That’s the Old Testament name Joshua, meaning “the Lord saves.” The 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). The wise men even understood that. The magi brought three gifts. They brought gold. That’s what you bring a king, representing His deity. They also brought frankincense, which was a sign of purity. And the third gift they brought was myrrh. Do you know what myrrh was? One of its most common uses in New Testament times was to preserve a dead body, to prevent premature decomposition of that body. When Jesus died on the cross and they took Him down, before they placed Him in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, they wrapped His body in substances including myrrh to prevent decomposition. They didn’t realize they were wasting their time, but they did it anyway. The wise men brought myrrh as a baby gift. That would be like today going to a baby shower and bringing a tiny coffin for the baby. Can you imagine the reaction? You’d get thrown out of the party for doing such a thing. But the magi understood that this baby was born to die for the sins of the world.

There are not many ways to God; not all roads lead to heaven. If there had been any other way for us to have a right relationship with God, then the Christmas story would have been unnecessary. But the reason that the God of the universe was willing to humiliate Himself, take the form of a bond-servant, and become obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross, was that it was the only way for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you look at the manger, ask yourself: “Have I trusted in God’s only provision for my sins?” God saves those who believe in Jesus for eternal life. Jesus said it this way: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Someone has said, “There is majesty in the name God. There is personality in the name Jehovah. There is power in the name Lord. There is intercession in the name Mediator. But there is salvation in no other name except the name Jesus.” That’s why the Bible says, “You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

***

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Stop and Smell the Manger” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2019.

Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible®, copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.