This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement[a] quietly. As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All of this occurred to fulfil the Lord’s message through his prophet: “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’” When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus. -Matthew 1:18-25
Jesus, there is no greater name than His. His name in Hebrew is Yeshua, which is close to the name Joshua. His name simply means “Yahweh is salvation.” Yeshua is also related to the Hebrew word ‘yeshu’ah,’ which means ‘salvation.’ Peter declares to the early church “salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Jesus came to save man from sin and eternal death. The trouble is today, the world doesn’t see the need for salvation. People are blinded to His truth, His love. They don’t understand what they need saving from because “sin” is a word that is foreign to them. Sin is simply our actions, thoughts, and lifestyles that go contrary to God’s holiness. God desired man to have a relationship with Him. Through Jesus’ death on the cross, we can have salvation.
God continues to seek for souls to be saved. Jesus hung out with the “sinners.” Sadly, the ones who thought they were right with God were just religious people who had the look of holiness but honestly didn’t have a clue what true holiness was. They followed the religious traditions and laws, but their hearts were far from what God desired. God has always only desired man’s hearts to be in love with Him and love others as He does. The “sinners” were those who were considered the outcasts, sadly are still today. They were the prostitutes, infirm, tax collectors, demon possessed, the poor and the weak. Yet, Jesus spent most of His time with them.
These so-called sinners were ones that knew their lives were off course. They were searching for meaning, longing to be loved and accepted. They were responsive to Jesus’ love and grace. They weren’t ones like the “religious” people who thought they knew it all and acted like they had already arrived.
Not much has changed today. There are people that have gone to church since they were christened. They think because they have always gone to church, they are automatically saved and going to heaven. The church’s God or even their family God has not become their own personal God. They have the appearance of a Christian, they know the Bible and can quote scriptures, they know all the Christian songs and can give generously. Yet, inside they have no relationship with Jesus. Don’t get me wrong there are those who have a relationship with Jesus and live that salvation out in their lives- they bear the fruit of Jesus.
Then there are those who have struggled with alcoholism, child abuse, prostitution, drug abuse, etc. who come to Jesus and have an amazing encounter with Him and give their lives totally to Him. There are those who are infirm, poor and weak who each day they continue to give praise, they continue to quietly show their love for Him.
We need to be careful not to judge the “sinners.” We all are sinners as we all were born into sin. Everyone needs Jesus. Jesus came as salvation for everyone – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that WHOSOEVER believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). We all need Jesus. We need His saving grace to have more compassion-less judgement, more patience-less anger and irritability, more faith-less doubt and more praise and thanksgiving-less complaining. We all need Yeshua.
Jesus, Yeshua, thank you for your salvation. Thank you for coming to die for me and giving me eternal life. I admit at times I can be like the religious people being pious in my thinking, forgetting those around me who need you. Please forgive me. Give me grace to love others the way you do. Help me to live in such a way that others will see Jesus in me and will want to know you as their personal Saviour. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Luke 19:8-9; John 3:1-21; Acts 4:8-12