The True Meaning and “Extra” Joy of Christmas: Matthew 1:21

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She will bear a son,
and you shall call His name Jesus,
for He will save His people from their sins.
Matthew 1:21

“for He will save His people from their sins.”

Note the specificity as it relates to Matthew’s Gospel as a whole. The angel gives 3 words to Joseph in v21: (1) She will bear a son, (2) you will call Him Jesus, and (3) He will save His people from their sins. V25 only gives the fulfillment of the first 2 – she did in fact give birth to a son and they did in fact call him Jesus. There is where ch1 stops, but thanks be to God that’s not where the Gospel stops – that’s not where Matthew stops. The final component, the final word from the angel is what we desperately need. So the rest of Matthew’s Gospel is essentially the unveiling of the historical events of Jesus saving His people from their sins.

Matthew tells us about the rest of His Incarnation, His perfect life, His crucifixion, and His resurrection – all part of the total work of redemption, salvation. That is, how Christ accomplished our salvation. But there’s more. There’s not only what Christ did to accomplish that work, but how that work is working itself out today.

Matthew doesn’t stop at the resurrection does he? Matthew concludes his Gospel with the Great Commission – Jesus telling His disciples, “Go into all the world and make disciples, baptizing them and teaching them all things and I promise I am with you until the end of the age.” The Great Commission tells us that God continues even today saving His people through Christ by sending His people in the name of Christ. That’s why in Matthew 24 Jesus says, “The Gospel of this kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world and then the end will come.” Now we see how Christology (Matt 1:21), missiology (Matt 28) and eschatology (Matt 24) all come together to fulfill one grand purpose – for He will save His people from their sins.
This is overflowing joy – all of this points to absolute certainty. Jesus will not fail in His mission. Jesus will not lose, not one single soul the Father has given Him. His purpose will be accomplished. For He WILL save His people from their sins! Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Wil Owens, Teaching Pastor

Countdown to Christmas–Hayley Westenra’s “Silent Night”

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It’s suprisingly hard to find a “Slient Night” that has a quiet, lullaby quality to it. But here you go! Enjoy!

A memorial stands today where the song was first performed in the small church of St. Nicola. If you want to know more about the origin of this wonderful tune, here’s a link.

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On the site of former St.Nicola church stands the Silent-Night-Memorial Chapel.

EBH

Humble Shepherds Hear of Christ’s Birth First

Luke 2:8-20

“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

Matthew Henry: “Angels were heralds of the new-born Savior, but they were only sent to some poor, humble, pious, industrious shepherds, who were in the business of their calling, keeping watch over their flock. We are not out of the way of Divine visits, when we are employed in an honest calling, and abide with God in it….

The shepherds lost no time, but came with haste to the place. They were satisfied, and made known abroad concerning this child, that he was the Savior, even Christ the Lord. Mary carefully observed and thought upon all these things, which were so suited to enliven her holy affection. We should be more delivered from errors in judgment and practice, did we more fully ponder these things in our hearts. It is still proclaimed in our ears that to us is born a Savior, Christ the Lord. These should be glad tidings to all.”