Friday, December 10, 2010

Jesus' Purpose: To Save His People From Their Sins (Part 1) - Matthew 1:21

The virgin birth, in and of itself, was a great miracle, but the child to be born would bring about even greater miracles. In the past few verses, Matthew has mainly focused on Mary and Joseph. The emphasis has been on Mary's unique pregnancy, but now the emphasis shifts to the infant who is soon to be born:
She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21)
In a dream, the angel of the Lord told Joseph concerning his wife, "She will bear a Son". This event would certainly come to pass. Nothing could be done to stop or prevent Mary's pregnancy. What Joseph may have wished to happen did not matter, for if God deems that something will happen, it will happen.

The angel of the Lord commanded Joseph, "And you shall call His name Jesus". Jesus means Saviour. He is the Anointed One— the Messiah. Through His life, Jesus would bring about dramatic change, but not the change which many had expected. At His first coming, Jesus did not disturb the world order. He didn't overthrow the Roman government and restore governing power to Israel. He didn't launch an assault against the Gentiles, nor did He make Himself the ruling king of the known world. In short, Jesus did not lead an army so that He could reign over the earth.

At His second coming, Jesus will reign over the earth (the book of Revelation describes the bloody scene leading up to Jesus' reign). However, if Jesus had not come for a different purpose the first time, then no man would be able to dwell in His kingdom. God is perfect in holiness; He requires man to have a perfect record. All men have fallen incredibly short of this standard of perfection. Not even the animal sacrifices offered up to God in the Old Testament times were enough to blot out man's innumerable sins. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. (Hebrews 10:4)

Jesus did something of infinite greatness at His first coming. No words can fully describe this supreme act of sovereign love. Jesus told His disciples, "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13) That is what Jesus did: He laid down His life— He died. But death did not hold Him, He defeated the grave! He rose again! He did what only God can do, He saved His people from their sins.

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Related Posts:
Jesus' Purpose: To Save His People From Their Sins (Part 2) - Matthew 1:21
Joseph, Do Not Be Afraid to Take Mary as Your Wife - Matthew 1:20
Joseph's Dilemma - Matthew 1:19
The Virgin Birth - Matthew 1:18
Isaiah's Prophecy: It's Fulfillment (Part 1) - Matthew 1:22-23

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