Birth of Jesus

Birth of Jesus

What Happened

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.

Bible Verse

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.

Luke 2:8-11

Description

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.

Isaiah’s Prophesy of Immanuel

Isaiah's prophesy of Immanuel
Isaiah’s prophesy of Immanuel

What Happened

About 700 years before the birth of Jesus, the prophet Isaiah made a bold prediction—God would send His own son to earth and He would be known as Immanuel (God with us). The prophet also wrote of the death of this man, with amazing detail (Chapter 53).

Isaiah wrote about the both the grace and the wrath of God. Even his name means “the Lord saves.” The prophet warns a sinful and idolatrous nation that God’s wrath will surely come. He follows that with the hopeful foretelling of the coming of Christ, the Messiah.

It is a remarkable book which encapsulates the entirety of God’s unfolding plan of salvation.

Why it matters

Isaiah warns that God will punish those who are rebellious, but also explains that God will redeem them. If God says it, He will do it.

Isaiah refers to God as “the Holy One of Israel.” Every detail Isaiah shares has either come true, or will come true. God has never gone back on His word.

Isaiah said the King would come from the House of David and Gospels would later outline the complete lineage of Jesus. The Gospel of Luke will show the royal linage of the Messiah. Isaiah also wrote of the virgin birth.

Isaiah’s name “God with us” is particularly interesting because that is exactly what Jesus was and is. God with us.

Bible Verse

13 Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Isaiah 7: 13-14

Why it matters to you

The Bible’s story hinges on an accurate accounting of events. If an account is found to be inaccurate, or false, or if an event is nothing more than a fabrication, the truth of that will shatter the rest of the story.

The Bible is an unfolding story, an event-by-event account of man’s relationship with God. It’s not the whole story, but it’s the important pieces of the story.

Therefore, if the story is true, it matters to you because it was written to you, for your benefit. Isaiah accurately predicts the virgin birth and the crucifixion of Christ, some 700 years before it happened. The book is a microcosm of the Bible.

Description

Isaiah gives a remarkably accurate account of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, in Chapter 53, giving a physical description, writing:

“ He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.”

Isaiah goes on to write of the crucifixion, predicting that the nation would turn on the Jesus:

“ He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.”

He predicts the trial and execution of Jesus. God’s grace is also brought out by the sacrifice of one man for the world:

“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed”

The beauty of God’s grace is illustrated through His understanding of human nature. Isaiah writes:

“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.”

Isaiah tells of the willingness of Jesus to die on the cross, 700 years before it happened. God’s judgment of man is carried out on His own son. Isaiah writes:

“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.”

God’s wrath and God’s grace, the evil acts of men against good people are repeated in this book. But the prophet writes, in Chapter 61, the words that Jesus will repeat when making his formal announcement of his ministry:

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn…”

The prophet tells of the coming Kingdom of God, when Israel will be restored to its full glory, after God’s vengeance is satisfied and He has redeemed His people.

What you may not know

Isaiah refers to himself as “the prophet” and the book might have been written between 740-686 BC. He uses both prose and poetry, which help to punctuate the message and bring home important points about the birth of Jesus and that He continues to be with us.

In the beginning was the Word…

The Bible

.

The Most Important Book

The Bible is an amazing book. It’s the most important book in human history. It defines existence. It is our story, regardless of race, gender or national origin. It’s God’s revelation of Himself to His creation.

No other book in human history has had the kind of scrutiny, has been debated more, or has been the cause of as much social upheaval.

The Bible represents ABSOLUTE TRUTH about how we were created, why we exist and how we should live. Although parts of it were written more than 3400 years ago, it is completely relevant for today.

The Bible represents COMPLETE LOVE, because God is willing to communicate to us through His word. He shows us how to live through His Law, and because of His mercy, He sends His only Son to us so that we can live forever with Him.

The Bible represents UNAVOIDABLE JUSTICE for all. He rights the wrongs that have been committed by the world, delivering the perfect penalty to those who deserve it.

The Bible represents an INFINITE RESOURCE that we can study our entire lives and still find new and exciting revelations in, every day.

Bible Verse

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1

Description

The Bible is the manual for human life. It gives insight and clarity into human behavior by examining man’s psychological makeup, and like no other book ever written, explains why we are the way we are. It is the story of how we came into being, but more importantly, WHY we came into being.

The Bible is not a history book, yet its history is accurate and at times strikingly detailed. It is not a science book, yet its scientific information is solid. It is the story of the relationship between God and man, written over a 1400 year period by over 40 different authors.

The Good Book

By some, the Bible is considered “the good book,” while others consider it to be the inspired word of God. Some consider every word to be the literal truth, while others view it as truths contained in stories of people. Its wisdom is undeniable, and its commandments are the basis of all Western Law.

For some, the Bible may seem too difficult to understand and therefore not useful for practical, every day matters. Still others consider it vital to those mundane aspects of human life and rely on its guidance and directives to avoid calamity.

For some it’s all about religion, rules and regulations, and how to act. Some others view it as the gentle teachings of a loving parent. It was written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, but translated into nearly every written language on the globe.

To set one important fact in place before you go any further, we not trying to prove the existence of God. For the followers of the Bible, namely Jews and Christians, it is a matter of faith more than fact, despite the overwhelming evidence it presents.

The Bible Chronicles Israel and the Life of Christ

The Hebrew texts of the Old Testament chronicle the amazing development of Israel, and the land that God promised to His people. For Christians, the story in the New Testament continues with the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, written about by the Prophets.

The books of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, are one continuous story. Old Testament writings are considered by many Christians to be the very foundation of Christianity, essential to the faith and of equal importance to the New Testament writings. More specifically, Christians see the entire Bible as being the story of Jesus and God’s plan for mankind. It is God’s unfolding plan that can be seen beginning in the opening chapters of Genesis. As the history unfolds, so does insight into the nature and character of God, as he uses human events to shape the future of the world.

God Does Not Change

Human nature never changes. Science and technology certainly do, as does culture, but human nature is the constant. This is important to know because what was true of men and women 6000 years ago, is true today. The emotions are the same, the aspirations the same and the motivations are the same. It’s like the old saying, “the more things change the more they stay the same.”

The accounts of the Israelites in the desert can be easily applied to the motivations of people today, no matter what country they live in. That’s what makes the Bible amazing. It’s amazing because God was the inspiration and God does not change. He is the same—yesterday, today and tomorrow. The people he created are likewise the same and will be tomorrow.

We will try to give you reliable information and at times direct you to authoritative places to gain more knowledge and insight. We do not claim to be apologists (defenders of the faith), nor do we want you to consider our point of view as non-negotiable.

Read The Bible

We invite you to read the Bible for yourself and make up your own mind about what it means. God gave us free will and invited us to use reason to understand the relevance of His word. We just want to meet you where you are at and help your along your spiritual journey.

This site is a brief summary of an enormous topic, and will give you an introduction into the Bible. It is very likely to become the most important and enduring book of your life.