Jesus came to save us | Sunday Observer
From crib to cross:

Jesus came to save us

20 December, 2020

Jesus was born on Christmas Day to start thirty-three years of a weary journey to redeem us sinners.

As we celebrate the joy of Christmas, how many of us pause to realise the significance of the sacrifice baby Jesus is deemed to make even before he feels the warmth of his mother, Mary who cradles him in a lowly manger.

It was over two thousand years ago that Jesus moved among the poor and the humble. There were those who followed him from the mountains to the valleys, from nowhere to somewhere listening to his teachings. He shepherded all who followed him like the shepherd he was.

This is the spiritual legacy he left behind: To love one another in the spirit of Christianity.

Jesus begins his work in Galilee

When Jesus heard that John was put in prison, he went over to Galilee. He did not stay in Nazareth but went to live in Capernaum, a town in Lake Galilee, in the territory of Zebulun and Naptali. This was done to make what prophet Isaiah had said come true.

Jesus kept moving among his people and the crowds and went up a hill where he sat down. His disciples gathered around and he began to teach them.

Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor.

The kingdom of heaven belongs to them.

Happy are those who mourn, God will comfort them.

Happy are those who are humble, they will receive what God has promised.

Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires.

God will satisfy them fully.

Happy are those who are merciful to others

God will be merciful to them.

Happy are the pure in heart, they will see God.

Happy are those who work for peace, God will call them his children.

Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires

The kingdom of heaven belongs to them.

Over two thousand years ago and in 3 B. C. there lived in the Judean Hills nor far away from Jerusalam a new priest by the name of Zachariah and his wife, Elizabeth.

Zacharaiah was very old and Elizabeth too was past the age of having a child. But Zachariah had faith in God that nothing was impossible for him and served God in his temple. Suddenly the angel Gabriel appeared at the right side of the incense altar and spoke to him;

“Have no fear, Zachariah because your supplication have been favourably heard and your wife, Elizabeth will become a mother to a son and you are to name him John. He will prepare the way to the Messiah”. Zachariah was frightened and would not believe what Angel Gabriel announced. People outside the temple were concerned as to why he had delayed to come out and when he did, he was not able to talk. The Angel punished him for not believing his word and until the baby was born, he would remain dumb. True to God’s words, Elizabeth became pregnant and kept away from the temple for about five months…

Later, Gabriel appears again and speaks to a young unmarried woman, named Mary, from the town of Nazareth. Gabriel tells her, “You have found favour with God and will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son and you are to call him Jesus. He will rule as a king over the house of Jacob forever and there will be no end to his kingdom”. Soon after Gabriel leaves, Mary gets up to go and visit her cousin, Elizabeth.

While considering these matters, Joseph falls asleep and an angel appears to him in a dream and says, “Do not be afraid to take Mary your wife home; for that which has been begotten in her is by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you must call him Jesus for he will save his people from their sins”.

Joseph wakes up and without delay he takes Mary to his home.

Birth of Jesus

When the Roman Emperor, Caesar Augustus decreed that all must return to the city of his birth to be registered, Joseph travelled to his birthplace, Bethlehem. A large number of people were in Bethlehem to register. Joseph and Mary had nowhere to stay and the only place left was a stable which donkeys, sheep and other animals occupied.

And it was here, in this lowly stable that baby Jesus was born. Perhaps, it was God’s direction that Caesar Augustus made the registration law. This made it possible for Jesus to be born in Bethlehem, the city of the Scriptures where it was foretold that the Prince of Peace, the promised ruler would be born.

Mary wrapped baby Jesus in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger not knowing that great spiritual happengs were taking place elsewhere which coincided with his birth- angels were singing on this important night and out in the fields a bright light gleamed around a group of shepherds which was God’s glory as the angels tell them.

“Have no fear, for look; I am declaring to you the good news of great joy to you and all people that there is born today the Saviour who is Christ the Lord, in David’s city and this is your sign”. Suddenly, many more angels appeared.

When the angels left the shepherds said to one another. “Let us by all means go to Bethlehem and see these things that have taken place which God has announced”. They followed the star as the angel asked them to do.

The three Wise men

Elsewhere, three Wise men who studied the stars came from the East to Jerusalem and asked “Where is the baby born to be the King of the Jews?. We saw the star when it came up in the East and we have come to worship him”.

It was during Herod’s reign that Jesus was born. He was deeply upset when the three Wise men came searching for the Holy Babe am told him they were guided by the star from the East and that it led them to Bethlehem.

“Herod called the visitors from the East to a secret meeting and found out from them the exact time the star appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem with these instructions.

“Go and make a careful search for the child and when you find him, let me know so that I too may go and worship him” Mathew 2, 1-7

With joy in their hearts, they hurried bearing gifts fit for a King and the Saviour of sinners because it was foretold in the star they studied. The gifts were gold, frankincense and myrrh.

They returned to their country by another road as God had warned them in a dream not to go back to Herod.

Jesus the promised Saviour

Jesus is the promised Saviour, the one through whom God fulfilled the promises he made to his people in the old Testament.

This good news is not only for the Jewish people among whom Jesus was born preached and lived but for the whole world and presents him as the Great Teacher who has the authority to interpret the Law of God.