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From the Pastor’s Heart

Discover the true identity of our Savior.

What a wonderful time of year! For those of us who are alive in Christ, the very air sparkles with excitement as we look forward to celebrating the birth of our Savior and King. We hope you’ll enjoy reading these seasonal words from Dr. Stanley below. 

Let’s reflect with him on the true identity of our wonderful Lord.

The most important question every person must answer is: “Who is Jesus?” 

When He was with His disciples, He asked this same question: “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (Matt. 16:13). They gave Him several opinions they’d heard—all of which were wrong. So He then asked, “But who do you yourselves say that I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (vv. 15-17). Jesus said the future apostle was blessed because God alone, not human reasoning, had revealed the correct answer to him. 

I want to give you a glimpse of the real Jesus, not based on man’s opinions, but on God’s Word.

So let’s begin with His birth. I once drove by a church at Christmastime and saw a sign in front that read, “Just Another Baby.” Let me tell you, Jesus was anything but an ordinary baby. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in a virgin’s womb—God’s Son in human flesh (Luke 1:26-35). 

His birth was prophesied 700 years prior. Even the location was predicted: “But as for you Bethlehem Ephrathah … from you One will come forth for Me to be ruler in Israel, His times of coming forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity” (Micah 5:2). Just think about that—the Son of God existed eternally and was the Creator of all things, yet He entered His own created world as a helpless baby.

Second, let’s consider the names He was given and what they say about Him. 

An angel told Joseph to name Him “Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). The prophets said He would be called Immanuel, which means “God with us” (Matt. 1:23). Jesus is the God-man who came to walk among us and be our Savior. 

Isn’t it amazing the emotions that the name Jesus stirs up in human hearts? To believers it’s the sweetest name ever heard, but to others it’s offensive. Some believe and embrace the Savior while others revile and hate Him. 

But because of His perfect obedience, love, and sacrifice, “God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name” (Phil. 2:9). One day, at the name of Jesus every knee will bow either in loving submission or dread (vv. 9-11). It all depends on how we respond to Jesus in this life.

Third, let’s examine Christ’s claims.

Jesus caused much consternation among the religious leaders because He declared Himself equal with God, saying, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). There’s no room to downsize Jesus to a mere prophet or a wise teacher. Based on His own words, He either had to be the Son of God—or a notorious fraud and liar.

Christ’s divine identity was authenticated by both the angel Gabriel and the heavenly Father (Luke 1:35; Matt. 3:17). In addition, Jesus proved it by doing things that only God could do—calming the sea, multiplying food to feed an enormous crowd, healing the sick, and raising the dead.

Finally, let’s consider Jesus’ ministry and purpose.

Why did the Father send the Son to earth? It wasn’t just to teach and heal people, or even to reveal who God is in a more understandable way. His main purpose was to save His people from their sins by dying on the cross and suffering the penalty they deserved so they could be forgiven and declared righteous (Matt. 20:28).

Is this the Jesus you know? Or do you need to make some adjustments in your understanding of Him? Do you need to encounter Him in a deeper, fuller way—in prayer and by participating in His body, the church? 

What you believe about the most remarkable Man who ever walked on earth determines your eternal destiny.

If you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, your heart will rejoice whenever you hear His name. But if you don’t, turn to Him now in faith and receive His gift. Receive eternal life.

Have Dr. Stanley’s words filled you with thoughtful consideration about Christ Jesus? We hope your heart will be encouraged to rejoice this month. We’re blessed by your companionship on the journey of faith, and wish you a truly wonderful Christmas. May it be filled with reverent joy and deep peace. Till next time, God bless you.

For His Glory, 

Your Friends at In Touch Ministries