We cannot contemplate the birth of Christ without looking to His death and resurrection. They will forever be joined together with the overarching purpose of Love. Love brought Jesus to earth so that He could demonstrate the personality of Father God and then pay the penalty for our sins. Like the sacrificial lambs offered as sin offerings, He had to become as one of them—spotless and pure. He was the only acceptable offering.
Jesus is called the Son of God and the Son of Man. He shared God's nature and represents His intentions. "This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: Not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." (1 John 4:9, 10) Jesus is God in His mercy form. He came to satisfy the justice of God.
Jesus Himself told us that He is the Good Shepherd in John 10:11. "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." We should be interacting with this Shepherd King. "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; No one will snatch them from my hand." (John 10:27, 28) God allowed the prophet Ezekiel to identify the Lord as Israel's Shepherd. "'You are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, and I am your God,' declares the Sovereign Lord." (Ezekiel 34:31)
The prophet Isaiah also explains what is to come. "Therefore, the Lord will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel." (Isaiah 7:14) When an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph to confirm that Mary would conceive a son who comes from the Holy Spirit, we are told, "All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet." (Matthew 1:22) We are encouraged by Jesus Himself in John 15:9. "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love." Immanuel is such a comforting name for Jesus who is "God with us."
In order for Jesus to be "God with us," He had to humble Himself to come to earth so that He could become one of us. He came not just to be with us, but to be our Savior. His ministry on the earth would only last for three years. The culmination of that time was at the end, when He willingly died for our sins so that He could be our Savior. Not only has He saved us, but He also redeemed us. He came to reverse the curse of sin and death and to free us from the power of evil. That is why He has the name Redeemer.
As we can see from some of the names Jesus is called, He came to earth to fulfill the mercy of God. He is the sharer of God's nature as the Son of God. His role as our Good Shepherd and Savior has been accomplished, and His title, Redeemer is still being accomplished. Romans 8:34 assures us that, "...Christ Jesus who died--more than that, who was raised to life--is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us." What part does God want us to play in all of this? We should see that as children of God, we are also being sent. "As the Father has sent Me, I also send you." (John 20:21)
This season should be one of great awe and wonder for us as we contemplate the miraculous events of our Savior and Redeemer's life. This should also be a season of great gratitude for the humility and love that has been shown us. All praise and honor belong to Him.
Joan E. Mathias