For centuries the prophets of Israel had predicted the birth of the Messiah, the Anointed One. Jesus would be a first born, male and without flaw. He was carried by a virgin girl, but not conceived in the regular manner, as His mother Mary, was never touched by Joseph. Rather, God Himself, created her baby.
Joseph took Mary to Bethlehem for the census. That is where she delivered Jesus. There was no place for them to stay, so they took refuge in a stable. In those times, it was common for animals to be kept in a stable, which was the ground level of a house. Living quarters would have been on the second level.
The Messiah, Jesus, has now been born and all of human civilization will never be the same. And as John so eloquently wrote:
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.“
Why it matters
The Biblical story moves into the critical final events with the birth of Jesus. All the previous events of the Bible including: the Law, the Prophets and the Writings, lead up to the coming of the Messiah. Jesus is the focal point of the Bible, as everything is about Him, everything is written for Him and everything centers around Him.
Without Jesus, the promise of the Messiah remains unfulfilled, man’s chance to be reconciled to God is ripped apart and there is no promise of eternal life. Without the birth of Jesus, the Bible is just another religious text, but not the transformation of the entire human race.
Because of Jesus’ birth and eventual resurrection, the Bible becomes the most important book in all of human existence.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
The Angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her that God had chosen her to carry His son. Mary was engaged to Joseph and was a virgin. Knowing that Joseph would probably not understand, God came to him in a dream and explained what had happened.
Joseph, by law, could have called everything off, but he didn’t. The two lived in Nazareth, and like most small towns, word would have gotten around quickly that something was not right. Joseph and Mary had to suffer through that difficult humiliation.
Then, the Roman emperor Caesar Augustus decreed that a census was to be taken, so everyone had to return to their town of origin to be counted. Joseph took Mary to Bethlehem, his birthplace. It was there that she delivered the child that they called Jesus just as God had instructed.
God, as promised, delivered His only son Jesus, to be with us. Jesus was both man and God, and throughout His life offers us a path away from our sin and destruction toward salvation.
Why it matters to you
The coming of the Messiah marks the final chapter in God’s plan of salvation for man. Since the Garden of Eden, God had made covenants with man and had guided man through periods of prosperity, followed by periods of separation.
Man cannot save himself. Only God can save us.
The Holy One of Israel will not allow imperfection into His Kingdom, and man, by his very nature, is imperfect and has turned away from God in one way or another.
The Holy and Almighty God, will never and cannot ever go back on His word. Therefore, sin must be punished. Rather than destroying all of mankind, which He nearly did with the flood, God chose to allow His own son to take the punishment.
Jesus led a perfect life, a sinless life in obedience and service to His father. Led to the slaughter, as Isaiah wrote, Jesus was the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world. Only Jesus, fully man and fully God, could have offered this sacrifice.
His laying down of His own life, by choice, was his gift to man. Jesus said, “whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
What you may not know
Jesus was not born on December 25, but most likely during the lambing season (December-January) in Israel, as the shepherds described in the Gospels.
Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus but likely is not exactly on His birthday. Conversely, Easter is celebrated during the Jewish celebration of Passover, and does represent the exact date that Jesus was crucified and resurrected.
Jesus fulfills more than 400 prophecies
The question of how many prophecies Jesus fulfilled is difficult to answer exactly. But what is clear, is that much of what Jesus did and said and what happened to Him
while He was living as a man in Israel, fulfilled exactly what had been predicted in the Bible since Genesis.
Joseph could not be the father of Jesus
We also learn that Joseph could not be the father of Jesus, because Jesus would be the one to take the throne of David and rule eternally. A king in Joseph’s bloodline, Jeconiah, turned from God. Because of his transgression, God cursed his bloodline and that demonstrates that Jesus was not in that bloodline.
Matthew’s gospel shows the bloodline to Joseph, while Luke’s gospel shows the bloodline to Mary. The line of succession to the throne from David to Jesus, goes through David’s first son, Nathan down to Mary. Joseph’s line comes from Solomon. Interestingly, God makes sure we know this.