“For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. ~ Luke 2:11
The beautiful Christmas carol asks the question, “What Child is this, who laid to rest on Mary’s lap, is sleeping?” And, of course, that is the real question. Who is the baby in Bethlehem born to Joseph and Mary? Who is this child whose birth established the world’s calendars? Who is this child whose life and work have impacted more souls than all other influential people in history combined? Who is this child who determines the eternal destiny of every human who has ever or will ever be born? What Child is this?
In Luke 2:11b, the angel told the shepherds that this child is “a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” This clear declaration eradicates any question. There is no need for further clarification as to who this child is because the angel’s terms are clear and explicit. Jesus is Savior and Lord.
First, the child is Savior. That’s the great affirmation of the angel in verse 10, “I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” And what is the good news that produces universal joy? “There has been born to you a Savior.” A Savior has been born!
The word “savior” implies that we need to be saved from something. “Saved” is a synonym for “rescued.” It’s a synonym for “delivered.” And it implies that there’s some kind of threatening condition. Indeed, it is a dangerous, desperate, and deadly condition from which we need to be rescued.
The universal problem for which God sent a Savior is the problem of sin. It’s to rescue us from the consequences of our sins. We have all broken the law of God, are on our way to eternal hell, and need a Savior to rescue us from our sins. That’s the crux of the gospel message, which is the message of Christmas: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). God loved. God gave a Savior.
God sent His Son into the world to save His people from perishing from their sins. Any presentation of the gospel must include this truth. That is precisely what is bound up in the announcement of the angel that the one who is born today and is now lying in a feed trough in Bethlehem is the Savior. As the angel told Joseph: “He will save His people from their sins,” and it’s why “you shall call His name Jesus” (Matthew 1:21). Jesus is Savior.
Even more than his earthly name, in Luke 2:11, we find Jesus’ title: “Christ the Lord.” He is both christos and kyrios. He is both Christ and the Lord. This is an exalted title for a baby in such humble circumstances. It would be hard to convince anybody there looking into the face of that baby that this was the Christ, the promised Messiah, the Anointed One, and the Lord. Unlike the artwork we see on Christmas cards, Jesus did not have a gold halo around His head. There were no visibly distinctive marks of His sovereignty, deity, or messiahship.
To say that this Child is Lord is to say that this Child is God. In Greek, the word used for “Lord” implies the word Yahweh, the Hebrew name for God. Saying Jesus is Lord is to, first and foremost, say that Jesus is God. The most fundamental and basic confession of Christianity is “Jesus is Lord.” If you want to be saved, Romans 10:9 says, you must “confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord.” That is unequivocal.
The One who was born on that first Christmas day was a Savior, King, Priest, Prophet, and Lord who is God. The wealth, grandeur, and majesty of those titles stand in stark contrast to the conditions in a stinking manger.
Emmanuel. Jesus. And now, Christ the Lord. The facets of Jesus’ identity sparkle with the clarity of a flawless diamond; however, not everyone who encounters Jesus has the spiritual eyesight to see His true worth. For those that do, a life of redemption and purpose is found.
That’s my story. On Christmas Day, 1987, my wife, Cindy, and I prayed to receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord using a tract left on a restaurant table. We were alone in our living room with a two-year-old son and an infant daughter. I then read the second chapter of Luke aloud as I have every year since. Our two children have now grown to become Christians, and are raising our six grandchildren to know that the answer to the question “What Child is this?” is Jesus—Christ the Lord!
Questions for Thought
- How does understanding the names and titles given to Jesus help you better comprehend who the baby in the manger was?
- How would you explain Christmas to someone who knows little or nothing about the true meaning of the holiday?
Heavenly Father, it is too easy to become preoccupied with Christmas shopping, decorating, and holiday activities. Help us to never lose sight of what happened 2,000 years ago. Thank You for so loving us that You sent Your Son, Jesus so that we would not perish but have eternal life. Thank You that none other than an angel proclaimed Jesus is both Savior and Lord. Thank You that Your Christmas gift to us remains available to all who “confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead” (Romans 10:9).
To comprehend what Christmas is all about and who Jesus is, we must also understand the Trinity because all three members of the Godhead are inseparably linked both in nature and in accomplishing our salvation.
- God the Father “so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
- God the Son died on the cross to pay the penalty for mankind’s sins.
- God the Spirit opens people’s hearts to believe in Christ for the forgiveness of sins and the salvation of their souls.
Take a minute to thank God for how He has worked to bring you salvation.
Director of Pathway to Victory
Michael Clarke serves as the Director of Pathway to Victory. With business acumen and a passion for ministry, Michael has held executive leadership roles in major international faith-based media organizations for over 25 years. He authored the best-selling Canada: Portraits of Faith and has owned and operated restaurants with McDonald’s and Dairy Queen. Born in Canada, he has lived in Texas since 2000, where he and his wife of 38 years, Cindy, enjoy a very close relationship with their two adult children and their six grandchildren.