Is your view of Jesus the baby in the manger in the nativity scene? The one described in “Away in a Manger”:
Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.
While certainly an accurate picture of Jesus at that point in His life, what about the other titles given Him this time of year in other Christmas carols: Messiah, King, Lord, Prince of Peace, Emmanuel, Savior? What do those really mean? What do you think of when you sing those words or hear them on the radio? These hymns are based on the biblical description of Jesus Christ. Here’s one passage many people are familiar with from Luke, chapter 2:
8That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
What is the good news that will bring joy to all people? That a baby was born? What does “The Savior” really mean? What about these lyrics from “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”?
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new born King,
peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
What is He King of? When will there be peace on Earth? Who are the sinners and how will they be reconciled with God? The Bible tells us He is the King of All Kings, which means no one in history, past, present or future is higher than Jesus Christ. Here is a description of Him from Revelation, chapter 19, as John was shown a glimpse of the future return of Jesus.
11Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war. 12His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him that no one understood except himself. 13He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God. 14The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed him on white horses. 15From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from a winepress. 16On his robe at his thigh was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords.
A little different picture than the sweet baby in a manger don’t you think? This is the King Jesus, the one the world will see again in person someday. There won’t be peace on Earth until after He returns. The rest of Revelation explains this, I urge you to read it.
In between the baby and the King of All Kings is another depiction of Jesus from Isaiah 53:
2My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot,
like a root in dry ground.
There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance,
nothing to attract us to him.
3He was despised and rejected—
a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
He was despised, and we did not care.
4Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!
5But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
This is the Jesus who died on the cross so that verse from “O Come All Ye Faithful” can be fulfilled. The sinners are us, every person who was ever born. The reconciliation, or the restoration of the relationship with God, was done by Jesus when He died. That’s what it means when you read or hear the statement “Jesus died for the sins of the world”. What you may not realize is that is a personal statement, relevant for you, it’s not a blanket condition for everyone. He’s not Savior of the world in a global sense, He’s Savior of each and every individual person on the globe, at least for those who choose to accept His offer of salvation.
That’s the part we often miss at this time of year. We are joyful that Jesus Christ was born, but do we really understand that we need to accept His offer of salvation? This offer requires us to individually, one by one, accept the fact that He is God, He is the Lord of All Lords, He is the King of All Kings. This requires acceptance of that truth, submission to Him, and a change of heart on your part. There are millions that have done so before you, so if you have not done it the beauty is that you don’t have to have anyone lead you through it, you can do directly to Jesus Christ, Son of God, who is God, all by yourself, just by asking Him to forgive you and asking Him to be your personal Lord, King and Savior. If you aren’t quite there yet, then read the Word, the Bible for yourself or find someone like me who has made this choice and ask them your questions. We who have made this choice want everyone to be with us in Heaven, that’s the Good News Luke wrote about!