The Message of Christmas
December 16, 2001
Every person in America is bombarded each and every day with a wide variety of messages. Messages come in many forms and fashions. There are printed messages that come to us through books, newspapers or magazines. There are audio messages that come to us through radio or stereo. There are messages that are visual that come to us from television or movies. There are personal messages that come to us through contact with people.
Just as there are a wide variety of forms of messages there are a variety of types of messages that come attempt to influence us on a daily basis. There are messages that inform. There are messages that entertain. There are messages that advertise. The most powerful types of messages are those that inspire.
The whole purpose of messages is to communicate, to influence and to assist. Messages are a vital but often overlooked aspect of our daily lives.
Christmas is all about the message of God and the coming of our Savior.
Remember the words of the angel to the frightened shepherds in that field outside of Bethlehem. “Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you.”
The message of the angels was God’s declaration of deliverance. The promise of God was fulfilled through the birth of the Savior. The message of the angels was God’s announcement of action. The purpose of God was being completed through the coming of the great light. The message of the angels was God’s proclamation of joy. The plan of God was being achieved through the one who was the way and the truth and the life.
The message of the angels is the message of the Savior and the message of God. This message gives us a direct and specific picture of our Savior, His role and His power. Let’s take just a few moments this morning to once again examine the message of Christmas.
I. The Person who is the Savior
You will be with child and give birth to a son and you are to give him the name Jesus. Luke 1:31
She 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
A. The meaning of Jesus
The name Jesus was given to both Joseph and Mary by the angel, before His birth; it was not chosen by them. This was an act of God to give the name to His Son and God chose the name Jesus. Why would God chose the name Jesus? Jesus is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew name Joshua, which means, God saves or God is our savior. The name Jesus communicates the idea of deliverance or of being saved from a terrible disaster or death.
B. The implication of the name Jesus
In Hebrew thought a person’s name revealed an aspect of their character or the hope placed in their eventual role in life. Names were also a testimony to the faithfulness and power of God. God is making a clear statement here with the name Jesus. He is making a divine declaration that His salvation has entered the world and that Jesus is the embodiment of the deliverance of God.
The message of Christmas is found in God bringing the Savior into the world.
II. The Purpose of the Savior
The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and they will call him Immanuel – which means God with us. Matthew 1:23
A. The meaning of Immanuel
As a part of the message to Joseph, the angel tells him that the child in Mary’s womb will be know as Immanuel. Matthew gives us the definition of Immanuel, as God with us. The deeper understanding of this term sheds some additional light on the purpose of our Savior. Literally this term means that God has come to dwell with us and this is not a partial or temporary arrangement. God has come to be with His people and has come to stay. Jesus Himself said, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
B. The Mission of Jesus
The message of Immanuel is that God has met us on our level. God is bringing His presence into the world in a whole new way. The Old Testament records the presence of God in numerous ways, a burning bush, a prophetic vision, a pillar of cloud, a fire from heaven but this is something very new and very different. God was coming to his people through the womb of a virgin.
The God of the universe would experience human life as a human being. Jesus saw things through human eyes. Jesus heard things through human ears. Jesus even tasted food through a human mouth. This may seem rather insignificant but stop and think about it for just a moment. Jesus experienced life on our level and He has seen life up close and personal. Not only does he understand the very basics of life but also He knows the reality of human suffering and pain. Jesus knows what it is like to loose a loved one. Jesus knows what it is like to be betrayed. Jesus knows what it is like to have physical pain. Immanuel means that we have a God who understands us because he has been through the realities of life.
The message of Christmas is found in God coming down to our level.
III. The Position of the Savior
10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11
A. The Meaning of Christ
Christ is the Greek form of the Hebrew title messiah. The word messiah literally means “anointed one” and was a title given to the kings of Israel. The kings were anointed before they took the office of king and were considered an anointed one of the LORD. The promise of a messiah to the people of Israel meant a great deal because they believed that God was going to send them a great king like David to be a champion that would conquer their enemies.
B. The Mission of Christ
The mission of Christ was to bring deliverance to his people. The mission of Christ was to lead the people back into a right relationship with God the Father
The Message of Christmas is found in God keeping His promise to send the Messiah