All Christians would agree that Jesus is good news. That Jesus makes a difference in our lives.
But how exactly does that happen? What does Jesus do?
Well, at Christmas, we are given a very clear answer to that question - in the message that the angels give to the shepherds when they appear to them on the night that Jesus is born.
The first angel to appear says, ‘Fear not.’ Don’t be afraid. ‘For, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day…a SAVIOUR!’
There. We have it.
The most important thing about Jesus is that he is our SAVIOUR.
And saviours are people who save, who rescue us.
Now lots of people get very hung up on the idea of salvation and saving and think it is all about whether people get to go to heaven or are condemned to hell in the afterlife. But that’s not really what salvation is about.
The salvation that Christ brings is right here and now. Salvation is what happens the moment we turn to him, the moment we let him into our hearts
We cannot turn to Christ and not be saved. Because he IS the Saviour.
So the question is what do we need to be saved from. What is putting our lives in danger? What is causing us hurt and diminishing our lives?
Fear and Anxiety
We might need saving from fear and anxiety. But the angel says, ‘Fear not.’ And the Bible says (1 Peter 5.7) ‘Cast all you anxieties on Christ - because he loves you.’ Even when things are going badly, knowing we are loved makes all the difference.
We might need saving from guilt. But Christ assures us that, through him, all our sins are forgiven. That they are blotted out. We can put our sins down at the foot of Christ’s cross and walk away free. Free to be the people he has called us to be.
We might need saving from sickness. But the gospel (Mark 6.56) says, ‘All who touched him were healed.’ We cannot come to Christ, touch him and not be healed. This might not be a miraculous physical healing – although sometimes this does happen – but there is always an inner healing when we come to Christ. A sense that in God we are made whole.
We might need saving from despair. But trusting in Christ and his promises gives us new hope. The Bible (Jeremiah 29.11) says, ‘For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.’
We might need saving from isolation and loneliness. But the angel who appeared to Matthew said that Jesus would be called Emmanuel which means God is with us. And Jesus’s very last words and promise to his disciples were that he would be with them to the very end of time. We are never alone in our lives. Christ is always with us.
So, this Christmas ask yourself how you need to be rescued. Ask what is hurting you most at this time. Then invite Christ into your life and see how he saves you and brings you new life.