Born to be Your Saviour
11 December 2016
A series of messages ending the year 2016
Grace Bible Church, Tulsa
Full Audio Message
Born To Be Your Savior
People need a savior but we don’t automatically realize that. God uses the threats of enemies and calamities as teachers in our lives to help us realize how much we all truly need a savior. God Himself is THE ONE Savior that we need. When He saves people, He demonstrates to them what He is like. He redeems people. He forgives people. He restores people.
Before we dig in to Luke 2, we need to understand the background to this idea about God being our Savior. Long ago, God used the threats of enemies and disasters to show OT people how they need Him as their Savior. King David had fought a lot of enemies before his kingdom really became settled. Look with me at 2 Sam 22:1-7 [read]. Through all of that turmoil, he came to realize that Yahweh was his mighty Savior, powerful enough to protect him and to deliver him from the destruction that his enemies wanted to bring upon him. Turn now to Psalm 17:1-2 and Psalm 17:7-10.
David trusted that Yahweh would bring justice against his wicked enemies. Turn to Ps 106. Another writer told about how Israel was so rebellious against the Lord. Here, the focus turns to their own sins. This writer confesses in v. 6, “we have sinned like our fathers”. The question is, does God only deliver perfect people from their enemies? No, He delivers sinners from their enemies. And in so doing, they learn that God delivers them—saves them—from their greatest enemy which is sin. Even after God had been so good to them, the people of Israel “forgot God their Savior” (vs. 21). So after being so rebellious for so long, look at what the writer says in v. Psalm 106:44-48,
As they faced fierce enemies, the prophet Isaiah promised that Yahweh would send to His people “a Savior and a Champion” to deliver them (Isa 19:20). Who will that Savior and mighty Champion be? Let’s look further into this one’s identity. Turn to Isa 43 [read vv. 3a and 11]. Yahweh Himself is this Savior. Look now at Isa 45: 15, 21. There is no Savior besides Yahweh. He alone is the Savior for sinners (see also Hos 13:4). But Yahweh pointed them to His work as Savior which will bring future blessings. In Isa 60:16 and Isa 63:7-9 we find Him presented as Savior and Redeemer who will bring future blessing.
So here’s what we’ve learned from this OT background:
- Yahweh Himself and no one but Yahweh is Savior
- Yahweh will bring justice against the enemies of His people
- Yahweh delivers His people from enemies and calamity to teach them they need a Savior
- Yahweh is their Redeemer who delivers His people from their greatest enemy which is sin
- OT promises pointed God’s people to a future Savior and Champion
The question then becomes, “how can God save and redeem sinful people”? At the end of OT times, God sent someone named Jesus who would “save His people from their sins” (Mt 1:21). Only by being saved from their sins can all of these other blessings come to His people. But there’s still a question about how Yahweh would do this. Now, turn to Luke 2:1-7.
To set the stage for Jesus’ birth, Luke explains what it was that brought Joseph and his pregnant wife to Bethlehem. God used the political situation to bring them there. During the reign of Caesar Augustus (31 B.C. – A.D. 14), the Romans restructured their empire. In order to determine the new taxes for each region, they held a new census to determine how many people lived in each region. God used this census to bring Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem where Messiah was to be born.
Luke says that Mary was engaged to Joseph. However, since she was traveling with Joseph, they were married by this time. Luke chooses this wording because they had not yet consummated the marriage because Jesus would be born to a virgin (Mt 1:25; Isa 7).
Who is this ‘Messiah’? God promised in the OT to send that Savior and Champion we spoke of earlier. This One who was going to come, was also called by other names like “Servant of Yahweh” as in Isa 53. He is the One who would be born of a virgin (Isa 7), would reign on the throne of David (Isa 9) and so He would have to be born in the same town as David (Micah 5:2).
David was born in Bethlehem (1 Sam 16), so Bethlehem came to be known as the city of David. Since Mary was carrying Messiah in her womb, she must give birth to Him in Bethlehem. Messiah is sometimes called the Son of God to stress His deity. But He is also called the Son of Man to stress His humanity. He took on human flesh like us (Jn 1:14) and was born in humble circumstances (Phil 2:7-8). Luke describes those humble circumstances for us here.
After He was born, Mary wrapped Jesus in strips of cloth to protect Him and keep His limbs straight and then laid Him in a manger. This is where livestock were usually fed. When an inn was full and the animals out to pasture, an inn keeper might use animal shelters to improvise a place for the poorer visitors to sleep in. Look now at Luke 2:8-9.
Shepherds were somewhat despised at this time. The good news of Jesus’ birth was announced first not to royalty but to social outcasts. This will underscore the importance of the angel’s words in Luke 2:10-11 that it is “unto you” that the Savior has been born, “to all the people”. The angel included social outcasts in the reason for Jesus’ death. It is for the sake of all classes of people.
An angel appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them. This was a most unusual sight and it terrified the shepherds. Literally, “they feared a great fear”. Their fear was intense. But the angel wasn’t there to terrify them. He was there with a joyful message [Luke 2:10].
I. Jesus’ birth is reason for great joy!
The angel came to announce that something tremendous has taken place near them. His announcement was good news that is cause for great joy. There is no better news to sinful people like you and me than to hear that God has provided a Savior for us! And it is such wonderful news that it should produce in us great joy! This news is for all the people. While this is speaking of all Israel (not just certain classes), it hints toward Lk 2:32 which brings in all the nations.
I know that often the difficulties of life can steal our joy. But how often do we lose sight of this angel’s wonderful news? The hustle and bustle of this season distracts us. To restore our joy we ought to spend more time thinking about what this good news means to us. Look at Luke 2:11-12.
II. Jesus’ birth brought us our Savior!
That very day, a Savior was born. Luke had already used the term Savior in 1:47 where Mary referred to God as “God my Savior”. That is consistent with its use in the OT where Yahweh claims to be the only Savior. The Pastoral Epistles and 2 Peter use it this way in connection with God (1 Tim 1:1; 2:3; Titus 1:3; 2:10; 2:13; 3:4; 2 Pet 1:1; Jude 25). So now the term Savior is being applied to a baby. That identifies this baby with God. Remember, Yahweh alone is Savior (Is 43; 45; Hos 13).
The angel is making a staggering claim here. This baby that was born to Mary is Yahweh, the one true God! Another staggering claim the angel makes is that this baby was born unto God’s people. It was for our sakes that He was born! Then the angel answers an important question the Jews had. The OT seemed to make some pretty big claims about Christ (Greek word for Messiah). It seemed to suggest that Messiah would be divine. And indeed He is. This baby, who is God, also bears the title Messiah. He is God’s appointed Servant who will redeem God’s people and reign over them forever.
And then if the shepherds missed all of that, the angel mentions another title that belongs to this baby. This baby is also the Lord. That title referred back to the OT where God is Lord. But recall that prior to Jesus’ birth the Jews became uncomfortable calling God by His personal name, Yahweh. So how did they refer to Him? With the title Adonai. And guess what Adonai means—Lord. So this is a way of saying that Mary’s baby is none other than Yahweh! Look now at Luke 2:13-14.
III. Jesus’ birth is reason for praising God!
How good was this news? It was so glorious that a multitude of angels appeared and broke forth praising God and giving Him glory. If you study the OT passages about Yahweh as Savior, you find that the writers tend to break into praise as a result of thinking about this glorious truth!
I mentioned that it is “unto you” or “for you” that this Savior has been born. Those OT truths about Yahweh as Savior hold true for Jesus as Savior. It is by Jesus alone that sinners may be saved. Jesus is the One who will bring justice against our enemies. Jesus delivers us from our greatest enemy which is sin. As our Savior and Champion, He will return to save even our bodies—giving us the fulness of our inheritance in Him. This is reason for great joy and praising God, isn’t it?