“Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16, NIV).

The babe in Bethlehem, whom we celebrate at Christmas, is “Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David and … his kingdom will never end” (Luke 1:32–33). “Messiah” (Hebrew) in the Old Testament becomes “Christ” (Greek) in the New Testament. The name meant “anointed one” and focused Israel’s hope on the promise of the ideal, Davidic king, who would deliver them from bondage (Psalms 89:20–29, Micah 5:2).

By the time that Mary gave birth, hope in God’s promises for forgiveness and deliverance from the empire had reached a fever pitch. Some were looking for a beneficent dictator. Others expected a high-profile miracle worker. Others hoped that a famous prophet like Elijah had come with a spectacular message. » Continue reading Dr. Lanier Burns’s devotional