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Grown-Up Bible Stories

A Savior Is Born

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)

The shepherds who heard these words from an unusual source went and worshiped the Savior. We read about their joy in finding the newborn Christ, but we don't read what ongoing impact finding Him made on their lives. The picture of Christ's life-changing power develops later in Scripture.

In fact, the meaning of Christmas becomes most apparent in the lives of people who aren't part of the traditional Christmas story. Some of them may not even have been born yet on that most famous of birthdays. Most of them have remained nameless in history. They were just ordinary people who needed a Savior whom they didn't have until they met Jesus. Yet, it is in their lives that we begin to understand what the angel meant when he said a Savior had been born. Here are the stories of a few of them.

Consider the man from the far side of the lake. He had fallen far enough into sin that evil spirits dominated him. The devil's agents so intermingled with his soul as to guarantee self destruction. He hung out at the cemetery. He ran around naked and screaming. He cut himself with sharp stones. When the community tried to control him, he broke their chains. Whatever the locals believed about God, they had proof of evil spirits. They possessed enough proof to strike terror to the bravest of hearts.

Some thirty years after the angels announced a Savior, Jesus Christ stepped from a boat on that tormented man's side of the lake. Jesus confronted the army of evil spirits within this scary wreck of humanity. He sent those demons over the edge, so to speak, and left the man fully clothed and fully sane. Jesus Christ came to Bethlehem so He could be the Savior of those under Satan's control.

The legal experts who caught the woman committing adultery didn't really care about her. It is doubtful if they really intended to carry out the ancient law that condemned her to death.* It is even more doubtful if they cared about her shame or her ruined life. They only wanted to force Jesus to address a controversial subject so they could publicly criticize His words. Her salvation was far from their intent.

But they could not parade her in front of Jesus without bringing her to the Savior. Unlike her enemies, Jesus saw the ruined life. He knew she faced rejection in the coming guilt-ridden years before she breathed her last and slipped into Hell. The Savior had come even for this adulteress. He reminded her enemies of their own sins. Shamed, they slunk away. Then, Jesus said, “I don't condemn you either. Go and sin no more.” [Quotations are not necessarily exact unless accompanied by a reference.] The Savior came to restore sinful people and keep them from Hell. Jesus was born in Bethlehem so He could be the Savior of the sinful.

Jesus was also born for the dead man he'd one day encounter in a place called Nain. We don't know much about this man beyond the facts that he was dead and that he had supported his widowed mother. Jesus encountered his funeral procession and touched his casket. He said, “Young man, I say to you, 'Get up.'” The young man got up and resumed living. He had met the Savior of the dead.

Of course, being the Savior meant going to the cross. Jesus voluntarily died a slow, miserable death to take the punishment for a world that couldn't be saved any other way. It was while he hung there dying of torture, that He met up with a man who needed saving and needed it soon.

We don't know this man's name either. We just call him the thief on the cross. But he was a condemned man. He had sinned and been sentenced to die for that sin. He knew God's law cursed everyone who hung on a tree. He was hanging to die. His sentence to Hell had already begun.

But he was hanging beside the Savior. His last known words were spoken to the Savior. “Remember me in your kingdom.”

Jesus responded with the most beautiful words a human soul has ever heard. “Today, you will be with me in Paradise.” The Savior the angels announced to the shepherds was also the Savior of the damned.

How many times has the story repeated itself? Jesus Christ rose from the dead and sent His friends to tell the world that He is the Savior. As a result, millions of us remember the day we asked Jesus Christ to save us. Some have dramatic stories. Most of us were just ordinary people with ordinary sins that were carrying us to ordinary death and a bad eternity. We called on Him. We called, maybe with words, maybe silently within our hearts, seeking the Savior by faith. The Savior came to us and changed our lives forever. Jesus came to Bethlehem to save “whosoever will” (Revelation 22:17).

We don't remember the names of many of the biblical people who benefited from Jesus' saving power. Relatively few of us who know Him as Savior today have well-known names. Still, Jesus Christ knew all of us by name before He ever came to Bethlehem. He knew we'd need Him. He knew He would save us. He knew it was going to mean the ultimate sacrifice. He loved us and came anyway. He knew we needed a Savior. He chose to be that Savior, and a bunch of angels told a few shepherds words recorded for us all: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)

* See Adam Clarke's commentary for a discussion of punishment of adultery in the time of Christ.

This work is in the pubic domain and may be copied and distributed freely.


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