“But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
Before we can rejoice over the birth of Jesus, we must recognize Him as savior. And to recognize him as savior means to put to light the sins of our own life. You see, the birth of Jesus is most compelling for the sinner! John Piper puts it like this, “Before Christmas can be a delight, it must first be an indictment.” Do we need Jesus this advent?
The word of God says
- All have sinned and fell short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)
- Our hearts are deceitful and desperately sick (Jeremiah 17:9)
- Our hearts are a wellspring of evil (Mark 7:21-23)
- No one is righteous, “not even one” (Romans 3:10)
- We are children of God’s wrath (Ephesians 2:3)
- We are slaves to sin (Romans 6:16-17)
- We are spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1)
What an indictment! And most of us walk around with the guilt that we are not perfect looming over us. We are constantly reminded of our imperfections and the evil deep within our hearts. If people only knew our lusts and addictions and neediness… What great shame we experience when settling on these thoughts! We find ourselves screaming the words of Paul, “Wretched man that I am! Who will save me from this body of death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25). The Word of God does not leave us to ourselves. The name “Jesus” literally means “God saves”. While we were yet sinners, God had mercy on us and gave us His son! What a gospel we have heard!
The practice of recognizing our own depravity is essential in celebrating the birth of Jesus. When we are ill, we must diagnose ourselves properly in order to treat our condition. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of a savior whom we are desperate for. Do you need Jesus this advent? Our prayer is that you might see and savor Jesus Christ as savior. Amen.