McKnight on the Good News of Christ’s Birth {Advent}

From The King Jesus Gospel by Scot McKnight (Zondervan, 2011)

The word sin occurs forty-one times in the Gospels, and it is not accidental that in the opening chapter of the opening gospel we have an opening statement about who Jesus is. Matthew 1:21 says it this way: “She [Mary] will give birth to a son, and you [Joseph] are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” “Jesus” translates the Hebrew Yeshua, which means “YHWH is salvation.” By naming Mary’s son “Jesus,” Joseph named him “Savior.” From what was he saving people? “From their sins.”

The profundity of this cannot be missed: “YHWH is salvation” has just become “God-in-flesh-salvation” and “Jesus-is-salvation.” Israel–having failed to live up to a covenant calling and wrecked by disobedience, nor mired in subjugation to Rome, blanketed with petty wars and ripping at the seams with religious and political infighting–would be rescued and the kingdom would come, and the this would all occur through Mary’s son. He would rescue Israel by saving Israel from the burden of its sin.

Not only Israel’s sins, but our’s as well. In our waiting for our Has Come and Is Coming King, our hearts are stretched by joy for our Rescuer has come and our burden is lifted. Let not the innocence of the babe in the manger cause us to forget that He is the One who redeems the sin-wrecked–oh, how terribly sin-wrecked–state of our hearts. Joy has come!

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