TEXT: “She will bear a Son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. (v.21)”
Here is a good news story of freedom to celebrate Australia Day.
On Christmas day I was privileged and delighted to hear some wonderful news of a family who were literally set free.
On Facebook, an Egyptian Christian friend told me that he and his family were in Australia. They were in Melbourne. Thinking that it would be so nice to meet up with them, I asked how long they were visiting and what were their travel plans.
Then he said that they are now living here, and that they are refugees. He then explained how they were given protection visas and quickly flown out of Egypt, as their lives were in danger. I had not imagined that things had been so bad for them.
In phone conversations since, he told be of how they had been in hiding for two years. It was not safe for them to go out, and whenever they did it was with extreme care. Other Christian brothers and sister would bring them food.
It seemed so uncanny that at this very time I was reading in the Bible how Mary and Joseph had to escape the persecution of Herod. God told them to go to Egypt. And the Bible tells us that “they stayed there until Herod’s death. This fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: ‘I called my Son out of Egypt.’”
And my friends were called out of Egypt, and brought to safety in Australia, free to fly like the birds. They are so happy to be here, and so proud to call Australia their home.
Isn’t that exactly what Jesus does for believers?
He saves us and sets us free, just like His name, JESUS (or in Hebrew, YESHUAH). It means salvation or deliverance. Hence “He will saves His people from their sins.”
And look what I found in my Zodhiate’s Lexicon:
- The Hebrew word for save, ”Yasha”, originally meant “to be open, wide or free.”
- This is the opposite to tsarar (6887) which means “to cramp”, having the connotation of distress, being in trouble or affliction.
- Put simply, when one has plenty of room in which to move, he feels safe and secure.
Just like our Egyptian friends, Jesus came to rescue us from the tyrant Satan, and break the chains of sin that bound down, and set us free. Our Deliverer has opened wide the gates of captivity, released and rescued us. He continually defends and preserves us.
Let us sing with the Psalmist:
If it had not been the Lord who was on our side,
When men rose up against us,
Then they would have swallowed us alive,
When their wrath was kindled against us;
Then the waters would have overwhelmed us,
The stream would have gone over our soul;
Then the swollen waters
Would have gone over our soul.
Blessed be the Lord,
Who has not given us as prey to their teeth.
Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers;
The snare is broken, and we have escaped.
Our help is in the name of the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
However, let remember our Christian brothers and sisters who still face persecution in countries like Egypt. May our Lord deliver them too.
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