Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Savior, Christ, God


Yesterday I took some time to reflect on the nativity story in Luke (2:1-20.) The line that catches me most this year is "Today in the city of David there has been born to you Savior who is Messiah Lord." I found it instructive that in his Greek text Luke does not precede these three titles with either "a" or "the," so here I am translating the last five words as they appear in the Greek, even though it is not good English. Luke does not have the angel say that Jesus is "a" savior. He is simply "Savior." "Messiah" is the Hebrew word and "Christos" is the Greek word for "Anointed One." Rather than pronounce God's proper name the Jews used the title "Lord" which Luke translates into his Greek as "Kurios." It is the only time in the New Testament that "Christos Kurios" are used together this way. Luke is having the angel announce here three titles for this baby: Savior, Christ, and God.
The baby lying in the manger is clearly human. Many famous paintings have the baby totally naked to stress that he is a human male. But the angel announces that this baby is also God. The angel challenges the shepherds and us with the profound mystery that the baby lying in the manger is fully divine as well as fully human. I feel myself drawn down into this reality that is beyond my complete comprehension. I am not back with shepherds on the hillside. I am here now. The Jesus whom I meet now in this mystery is no longer a baby. He is the Risen Savior, Christ, and God. He is out beyond the stretching of the farthest star and he is living within me. Peace and Joy!
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