In the famous proclamation of Luke 2:11, each of the titles that the angel gives Jesus tells something about who he is and what he came to do. Rather than simply identifying him as one among many, the titles identify Jesus as unique, and uniquely significant.
1. The angel called Jesus Lord because he was God in the flesh, master of all.
The Greek term kurios was used in the secular context of any person who had authority over
another. It was also used of a person who owned something. A slave’s master was his kurios. A home’s owner was its kurios. In the political world, kings were called kurios (Acts 25:26), as was Caesar. But in the religious realm of Judaism, the term kurios was reserved for the highest deity. It was the term in Greek that the scribes used to translate the Hebrew word YHVH, the name of God. In the New Testament, many of the texts which referred to God as LORD were quoted in reference to Jesus. For example, Paul tells the Romans that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”1 He quotes Joel 2:32, and applies it to Jesus. Christmas is a time when we celebrate God coming to earth in the form of his Son.
2. The angel called Jesus Saviour because he came to rescue the lost.
The Bible is a story of rescue, from beginning to end. All of its minor stories of rescue point to
one major story of rescue, which we read about in the Gospels. The angel calls Jesus a Saviour, a Rescuer. The Jews in Jesus’ day were looking for a Saviour to rescue them from Roman occupation. But Jesus came to rescue them from their sins, and bring them back into a right relationship with God. Christmas is a time to celebrate God’s intervention in our lives, because we need him.
3. The angel called Jesus Christ (Anointed) because he was set apart by the Holy Spirit, chosen by the Father for the work of deliverance and the authority of leadership.
In biblical times, people were anointed to set them apart for ministry. The act of smearing
someone with cleansing oil signified authority and ability to do a special task, whether that task was proclamation (prophet) intercession (priest) or dominion (king). Christ was to do all three. He is the ultimate anointed One who was prefigured by all the others. In Peter’s words, he is “the Christ, the Son of the living God.”2
May we use this Christmas season to announce to the world that Christ — its Savour and Lord — has come.
- Romans 10:13 ESV.
- Matthew 16:16 ESV.