December 19, 2012 - Born at Bethlehem
By Robert C. Cunningham
At Christmas we pause to marvel once again at the miracle of the Incarnation. "God manifest in the flesh." The simple story of the Christ Child's birth never loses its sentiment, its appeal, its sweet charm. At the same time there is a mystery here that is profound enough to cause the greatest theologians to ponder its depths without ceasing.
The citizens of Bethlehem probably thought of it as just another birth. Some people, hearing of the circumstances, may have remarked, "Too bad the town was so crowded with visitors that the poor mother couldn't find better accommodations than a stable." But the shepherds must have realized this Babe was different.
The angel had said to them, "Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:10,11). Here were good tidings indeed. Here was a joyful gospel to all people -- for the word "gospel" means "good tidings." Here in the angel's words we have the substance of the message that has changed the world and transformed millions of lives.
"A Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." Each of these three names has a distinct meaning. They are not repetitions. All three are needed to express the office and work of the Babe of Bethlehem.
A Saviour. That is the meaning of the word "Jesus." A Saviour from what? From political tyranny? No. From economic troubles? No. From physical sickness? Not entirely. The angel said, "Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). It is sin that spoils human life. Sin is the root cause of every problem; therefore Jesus was born to set men free from all sin.
Christ. He is "the Anointed One," for that is the meaning of the word. He is the One who was anointed with the Holy Ghost above all others, and who imparts the same Holy Ghost to us today. He is the One who not only begins the process of salvation but carries it on to its glorious consummation. He is the Christ who has gone up to the right hand of God to help us. He is the Christ who has sent down the power of God's Spirit to teach us, to sanctify us, to empower us, to bless us. He is the Messiah. Peter said, "God hath made this same Jesus, whom ye crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36).
The Lord. This means that the Babe of Bethlehem was born to rule. He has authority. He is King. He is to conquer us and then He is to reign over us and conquer all our enemies. "Thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to all them that thou has given him" (John 17:2). He has to be our Lord in order to be our Saviour. Our hearts have to be willing and yielded and responsive to His rulership.
At this Christmas season, be sure Jesus is Your personal Saviour and the Lord of your life. Let Him have His way. He who can rule the universe is surely able to do a good job of ruling your personal life.
-- "Born at Bethlehem" by Editor Robert C. Cunningham, was the editorial for the December 20, 1959, Pentecostal Evangel.