Yesterday we considered the fact of Jesus’ birth. He was born. At the end of verse 2 in Silent Night, Joseph Mohr emphasizes that at his birth he was both Christ and Savior.
We often think of Christ as his last name, as in Jesus Christ. Admit it, you may have thought that once. Christ is not his last name, but actually the word Christ is a title, like President, Senator, or Mayor. When Jesus is called the Christ, something very significant is being stated about this little baby.
This title means Anointed One. The coming One that the Jews looked forward to was to be in the line of David, a king anointed to rule on David’s throne forever (2 Sam. 7:13). Matthew often uses this title, especially in his first chapter, to speak of Jesus.
In Luke 2, we see Simeon waiting in the temple because “it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ” (Luke 2:26). People of Jesus’ day wanted to be freed by God’s promised ruler. They didn’t understand, though, that the ruler who was coming was a ruler who was to be their Savior by dying for their sins.
Whoever heard of a ruler who leads by dying? That was God’s plan. Jesus (Yeshua or Joshua) means God saves. In giving Jesus that “first name,” God tells us his purpose in and through Jesus. God doesn’t want to save us from the bad rulers around us, as the Jews thought, but rather to save us from ourselves and our sin.
The Anointed One who will be God’s planned rescue for his people has been born. Joseph Mohr wrote it much more poetically, but the meaning still applies. Sing, rejoice, and be glad that Christ the Savior is born!