. . . to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant . . .
Paul wrote: “For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy” (Rom. 15:8-9). Jesus came “to show the mercy promised to our fathers” and for the Gentiles to also be included in that mercy. Indeed, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10).
When Adam and Eve had sinned, sin and death entered our existence, exercising its dominion. We became its subjects. Everyone sins and everyone dies. God had clearly forewarned them and they were without excuse: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:17). The same is true for us. We’ve no excuse.
When they believed and acted upon the serpent’s lie, “you will not surely die” (Gen. 3:4), all hope and joy seemed forever gone. A sure judgment was awaiting them—eternal separation from their Maker. God, however, in His mercy, promised a Savior—One who would be victorious over their sin and death. Throughout the Old Testament, God continued highlighting man’s need for a Savior and the sure promise of His mercy.
He chose the patriarchs—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—as the ones through whose lineage Jesus would come. He foretold Abraham: “And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 12:3). Amidst sin and judgment, God promised mercy, to be embodied in the person and work of Jesus Christ, “the son of Abraham” (Matt. 1:1). That promise was mankind’s only hope.
Luke also mentioned that Jesus came “to remember his holy covenant.” The promised mercy and God’s holy covenant are synonymous. Throughout the Old Testament God reiterated His merciful promise by stating it in covenant terms. He made it more firm, humanly speaking. Through His covenant, God has committed Himself to be eternally merciful to us. That is the good news of Christmas! Have you already become a partaker of His mercy?
The Devotional Writer