by Dr. Michael Whiting, DBU Staff

Day 28 of Advent

Today's Reading

Matthew 1:21

“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

For the last several weeks during the month of Advent, we have studied various titles and names throughout the Scriptures ascribed to our Lord and Savior. He is truly unlike any person who ever walked the earth, and in Him, the hope of all human history and the restoration of all creation is grounded. 

For our last devotional in celebration that Christmas Day has arrived, we are looking at the most common name given to Him – Jesus. This name is the Greek rendering of the Hebrew Yeshua, or what we more commonly say in English as “Joshua.” It means “the Lord saves.” And that name says it all. He is the only true Savior, the great Restorer. All the things that have been ruined by sin, including our communion with God, Jesus can repair and restore. He is the undoing of evil and the hope of a more peace and just world without death. Jesus is and does what no one else can be or do for us. 

Like Joshua who led Old Covenant Israel into the Promised Land with a bronze sword, Jesus leads His New Covenant followers into the Kingdom of God with the mightier sword of His mouth - with the power to heal diseases, cast out demons, and bring reconciliation to God with “words of eternal life” (John 6:68). These words Jesus not only preached but lived and modeled all the way through death on a cross for us. 

Our present exile on this fallen earth is the consequence of sin, but the child born to Mary and given the name Jesus was the living promise that God had come at last to save Israel – and all the nations beyond – from their sins. 

“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. Isaiah 1:18

To be saved from our sins is not only the removal of personal guilt by the sacrifice of Jesus but God also wills by His indwelling Spirit to break the power of sin for the repairing of our lives in obedience to His reign, which overflows outward in renewing the world around us in reflection of heaven. The Kingdom of God has come in Jesus and is already here and on the move to cancel sin, though it is not yet fully realized. 

One day, upon the future return of Jesus, we will be rescued forever from the presence of sin where we will enjoy all the wonders of a new creation without the sting of sin’s curse. At last, with the leaven of sin once and for all removed, God’s peace will be fully known on the earth when He dwells with and among us in perfect and unbroken fellowship. 

This is our hope in Jesus. In Him, the corruption of sin can be cleansed away, but many of us are needlessly bearing the weight of our sins. There is no sin that is beyond forgiveness and no sin that is beyond life correction. Draw close to Him whose very name is salvation – Jesus, “the Lord saves” – and know true freedom.   

Today, we remember the beginning of His life with us as a child born to a poor Jewish family in an animal manger in Bethlehem, but as you do remember all the meditations we have shared with you this Advent season, consider the full magnificence of this extraordinary child, and look nowhere else to rest your trust, hope, and joy.