The angel declares, “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21).
Many people view Jesus as a great philosopher – a spiritual guru. They think He imparted some special teaching while on earth. Of course, they’re very selective in what they accept of His teaching. They’re prepared to uphold His ideals and truisms as a standard for all civilized people. Yet, they ignore His references to redemption from sin. They’re prepared to accept Jesus as a great philosopher.
But the angel doesn’t say anything about a philosopher.
Many people view Jesus as a great philanthropist – a humanitarian ahead of His time. He ministered to the destitute, cared for the homeless, helped widows and orphans, walked with social outcasts, and championed the oppressed. They view Him as a social reformer – a standard for modern-day humanitarian efforts. They emulate what they perceive to be His compassion. They’re prepared to accept Him as a great philanthropist.
But the angel doesn’t say anything about a philanthropist.
Many people view Jesus as a great prophet. They think He’s one in a long series of prophets who’ve shown us something of the way to God. They affirm that the way to God is the common denominator that’s shared by all these prophets. Anything beyond that common denominator isn’t important. Jesus (along with Muhammad, Moses, Confucius, etc.) had great insight into this way to God. People are prepared to accept Him as a great prophet.
But the angel doesn’t say anything about a prophet.
Many people view Jesus as a great psychologist. If He were alive today, He would have written “Chicken Soup for the Soul.” They see Him as possessing a modern-view into the human psyche. They accept those segments of His teaching, which they think are aimed at improving human experience, human awareness, human behavior, human society, or whatever else is man-centered. They’re prepared to accept Him as a great psychologist.
But the angel doesn’t say anything about a psychologist.
The angel is very explicit: “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Consider the three components to this declaration . . .
First, Jesus will save His people from their sins. We’ve broken God’s law. Therefore, we don’t need a moral philosopher. We don’t need a warm-hearted philanthropist. We don’t need a sympathetic psychologist. We need an answer to our sin. We need a mighty Savior.
Second, Jesus will save His people from their sins. In the eternal purpose of God, there are two groups of people. According to Gen. 3:15, there’s the seed of the serpent. This includes Satan’s people: those who are in the first Adam. There’s also the seed of the woman. This includes God’s people: those who are in the last Adam (Jesus).
Third, Jesus will save His people from the sins. How? “He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed” (Isa. 53:5). “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly . . . while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:6-10). “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13). “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross” (1 Pet. 2:24). Jesus bore the sins of His people. He became a curse for His people. He died for His people. His blood satisfied God’s holy demands for sin. And His blood secured God’s mercy toward sinners.
Quotable: “The knowledge of Jesus Christ is the most sweet and comfortable knowledge . . . How our hearts are ravished with the discoveries of Christ in the gospel!” (John Flavel).