The Coming of the Savior
Topic: Advent Scripture: Matthew 1:20–1:23
What is Christmas all about? Is it about presents under the tree? Or spending time with family? Or about the “magic” of the season? Biblically speaking, Christmas is about none of those things - it’s about the coming of the savior who redeemed sinners and secured the restoration of all things by the grace of God. Christmas is about the coming of the Savior.
Jesus did not come to re-establish the Kingdom of Israel, but to secure the foundations of the Kingdom of Heaven. As the angel announced, “He will save his people from their sins.” Afterall, what good would it be for Jesus to restore Israel’s glory without redeeming sinful hearts? This is immediately followed by a quotation from Isaiah 7:14 . Israel received this prophecy of a coming savior-messiah while they were under constant attack. In the midst of grave danger and anxiety, God sends Isaiah to speak a message about a virgin who will give birth to a messiah. That generation of Israel perished. But they didn’t die without hope. They, and the generations who followed, lived in Advent… they lived with faithful expectation in God’s salvation.
The angel’s message to Joseph in Matthew 1:20-23 is an announcement of great hope for all people. Mary’s pregnancy, as improbable as it sounds, isn’t the result of anything Mary has done… it is the work of God to fulfill the prophecy spoken in Isaiah 7:14 . The angel essentially declares, “This long awaited prophecy is now fulfilled.” Our observance of Advent reflects our identity with the Jewish longing for the Messiah. We proclaim that Jesus is that Messiah, God in flesh who came to save his people. While the work of salvation is secure, it is not yet complete. We continue to wait for Jesus to return where everything that continues to bear the curse of sin will be either judged or glorified. Salvation doesn’t end with you individually. It is fulfilled in the New Heavens and the New Earth.
Christmas is not simply a festive season for children to be awed by the “magic of the season.” Christmas is a bold declaration of rescue. It is a proclamation of “good news of great joy for all peoples.” So as you reflect on your life today, identify with Israel’s longing for salvation while
Remember the meaning of Advent. It is a season of hopeful waiting and expectation. Israel waited for the coming Messiah, and we wait for him to complete the saving work he began through his life and death and resurrection. But the work of the gospel doesn’t end in the resurrection… it is completed by his return and final judgment. That is what we await: the completion of our salvation. So when you wonder what good salvation does when your mother is on her deathbed or when you’ve lost your job; cling to the message of Advent. Wait expectantly, trusting that Jesus will return again, and when he does God will complete the work of salvation (see Philippians 1:6 ). This is the gospel: hope in God.