The Conqueror of Christmas
The angel said to them, ďDonít be afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be to all the people. For there is born to you today, in Davidís city, a Soter, who is Christ the Lord."
Having conquered every nation between Europe and India, Alexander the Great died in 323 BC without naming his successor and before the birth of his only son. In the aftermath of his death, several leaders divided his conquered lands between themselves, including the famous Ptolemy Soter, who proclaimed himself to be the Pharaoh of Egypt. Ptolemy Soter ensured his lasting fame among the Jews by taking many of them from Jerusalem to Egypt as his captives and by bribing many more Jews to resettle in Egypt as well.
Another Soter should have later ruled the land of Israel when the infamous Antiochus Epiphanes desecrated the Jewish temple. Instead of ruling Israel, Demetrius Soter was held captive in Rome while Antiochus mercilessly persecuted the Jews. Coincidently, Antiochus Epiphanes himself was the great great grandson of Antiochus Soter. Finally, a Jewish family called the Maccabees freed their people from Antiochus Epiphanes, only to lose a few years later to the army of Demetrius Soter when he escaped from Roman imprisonment.
For all the wrong reasons therefore, the title of Soter had been burned into the minds of the Jewish people for several centuries before the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. Soter meant "savior" or "liberator." Those who claimed the title of Soter, did so by great feats of military conquest. Despite the infamy of that title, the angels of heaven appeared to Jewish shepherds by night, and used the same Greek word (soter) for Jesus, which had previously described several brutal enemies who had conquered Israel. The angels joyfully proclaimed that Jesus had been born as Soter to all peoples - the liberating and conquering Ruler.
When we celebrate the incarnation of Jesus, we celebrate the birth not only of the Lamb of God, but also the Lion - the Soter to all peoples. He vanquished that tyrannical king whom Jesus called "ruler of this world." He conquered the bondage of sin by which the ruler of this world had enslaved us all. He broke open the bars of death's prison and led a parade of captives out of Sheol into the glorious captivity of heaven, as Paul described it in Ephesians 4:8. His apostles never asked us to invite Jesus into our hearts. Rather, they demanded that we trust their glad tidings that Jesus is the "Christ" (Greek word for "Anointed") - the King whom Psalm 2:2-12 promised. We all must bow down before the conquering Soter, in humble submission to His reign. For He is the One before whom every human will stand in judgement, one soon and approaching day.
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins.
Now is the judgment of this world. Now the prince of this world will be cast out.
To this end the Son of God was revealed: that He might destroy the works of the enemy.
The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked. But now He commands that all people everywhere should repent, because He has appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom He has ordained; of which He has given assurance to all men, in that He has raised Him from the dead.