The Reason to Celebrate
A little over 2,000 years ago a Hebrew Baby Boy was born. He was and is unique — unlike any other human being – ever. You see, He did not come into existence when He was miraculously conceived in His mother’s womb, although every child conceived is a blessing from God. However, this Precious One is eternal – He had lived from eternity past, He lives now, and He will live forever. He is eternal because He is God. There is one God in three Persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The Father in the power of the Holy Spirit sent the Son into the world to become a Man – the perfect, sinless God-Man – in order to save people from their sins, so that they could go to Heaven and be with God when their lives on earth are completed. At one point after He came to earth He did physically die, but I will get back to that, later.
This little Boy, Who was given the Hebrew name “Yeshua”, which we call “Jesus”, was born to a young lady named “Mary” who was, still, a virgin. You may ask, “How can this be?” Well, when an angel from God told Mary that she would bear a Son, she wondered the same thing.
The Bible in Luke, Chapter 1, says:
“Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, ‘Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!’
But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.’
Then Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I do not know a man?’
And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.’
Then Mary said, ‘Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her” (Luke 1:26-38).
So, you see, this Child doesn’t have a human father. Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. (“Only begotten Son” means that Jesus is the only, unique One — Who is Himself Divine, not a creation of God.) Actually, the people in those days should not have been surprised that God would send His Holy Son in human flesh. Many centuries earlier the prophet Isaiah had foretold:
“For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”
Isaiah also said:
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)
The word “Immanuel” means “God with us”. Jesus of Nazareth, the Jesus I’m talking about, was sent to be “God with us”. He is God’s “Anointed One” or “Chosen One”, that is “Messiah” or “Christ”. This means God chose Jesus to be: (1) the King (of kings), that is, the One Who rules over us; (2) the Savior, that is, the One to give His life to pay for our sins; and (3) the High Priest, that is, the One Who intercedes directly between God and man. God sent Jesus to do what we needed, but could not do for ourselves – bridge the gap between all-holy God and sinful human beings.
How wonderful it is that God loved us so much that He sent His Own Dear Son, Jesus, to bear the punishment for our sins! This proves, just, how much God loves you.
John 3 states:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him,should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
The purpose that God had in sending Jesus is indicated very early in Jesus’ earthly life. Though He came down from the glory of Heaven, He was born in a lowly stable. Even before His mother laid Him to rest — in a feeding trough for livestock — she wrapped Him in swaddling cloths or swaddling bands. In those days Jewish people used swaddling bands to wrap dead people for burial, not just to wrap up babies. Jesus was born in order to die on the Cross of Calvary to provide payment for every sin that people commit against God. If you have, ever, sinned – that is, done wrong, whether in what you have said, done, or wanted – then, you need Jesus’ forgiveness. It is good to know that Jesus will forgive you as soon as you ask him to do so, if you really mean to turn away from doing wrong, give him control of your whole life, and trust in Him to take care
of this matter. He loves you; he will take care of you. I will talk more about trusting in the Lord Jesus a little later. Right now, let us read more about Jesus’ birth and infancy.
Matthew, Chapter 1, reports part of the account, as follows:
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.’ So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’ Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.” (Matthew 1:18-25)
Luke, Chapter 2, supplies additional information concerning the early period of our Savior’s “First Coming”:
“And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign tomyou: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.’nAnd suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!’
So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.’ And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.
And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called JESUS, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.
Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, ‘Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the LORD’), and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, ‘A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.’ And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:
‘Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;
For my eyes have seen Your salvation
Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.’
And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, ‘Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.’
Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.” (Luke 2:1-40)
Woven together, these two reports help to provide us with a basic understanding of Jesus’ early life on earth. As you, probably, noticed, nothing about winter, December 25th, decorated trees, toys, someone called “Santa Claus”, stuffed stockings, and so forth – even, the word “Christmas” — are anywhere to be found in the Bible’s record about Jesus’ birth. We should remember Christ, His death for our sins, and that He rose from the dead — victorious over sin, death, hell, and the devil. King Jesus is alive! Those who offer any so-called “mas[s]” concerning Him (a supposed repetition of His death), do not honor Him by doing so, because Jesus is the risen, living Lord and Savior. Concerning “Christmas”, only “Christ” matters.
Now, our Lord Jesus Christ grew up and taught people about God and His will, and performed many wonderful deeds — including miracles — during His life and ministry. He, always, did God’s will and, never, sinned. That is why He was qualified to die in our place for our sins. First Peter tells us that Christ “suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit…” (1st Peter 3)
Romans, Chapter 5, tells us:
“…God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” (Romans 5:8-10)
I mentioned earlier that I would speak more about trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, I will do so. The greatest gift of all is Jesus – no matter what his actual birthday is – and we should celebrate Him throughout the year… and the best gift you can give Him for His birthday is yourself. Acts 16:31 says, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved…” You may ask, “How do you ‘believe’ in Christ?” and “What does it mean to ‘be saved’?” Well, let us deal with the second question first. To “be saved” means, simply, to be forgiven by God of all your sins, that you will go to Heaven when your life on earth is over, and that you have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ now and forever. When you believe in/trust in/place your faith in Jesus (alone) for salvation, you are born again into God’s family; He forgives you and sends His Own Spirit to live in you, giving you fellowship with Himself and eternal life. In the Bible “believing in” and “trusting in” mean the same thing. “Placing your faith
in” has the same meaning, too.
Trusting in or placing your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation involves believing that Henthe sinless God-Man, Who physically died on the Cross for our sins, was buried, and rose physically from the dead after three days. You must repent (that is, have a heart-felt change of mind), choosing to turn from your sins to the Lord and welcome Him into your life to forgive you and rule over you. Simply stated, you must sincerely give yourself to Him on His terms, seeking and asking His forgiveness.
In First Corinthians 15 the Apostle Paul writes: “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures…” (First Corinthians 15:3-4)
And, Romans 10 says:
“that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For ‘whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.’” (Romans 10:9-13)So, if you believe in the unique, precious Son of God, Who was virgin-born in a manger, came to
die for your sins and rise from the dead to provide you with eternal life and Paradise, why not exercise faith in Him in order to receive His salvation, right now? You can call upon the Lord Jesus with a simple, sincere prayer and, in this way exercise faith in Him. The condition of your heart, not the words, is what is important.
If you seriously mean it – that is, if you mean what you say — you can say the following prayer to the Lord, Who is in Heaven, and He will hear you and save you.
Dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I know and confess that I have sinned and that I am a sinner. All my sins are against you, Oh God, my God. Lord, I believe that You died on the Cross for my sins, that You were buried, and rose from the dead on the third day – and that you live forever. I believe that You returned to Heaven and one day will come back to take Your people home to Heaven. Please, forgive my sins and save me. By faith in You, alone, I choose to turn away from my sins in repentance and receive You – yes, welcome You – into my life, giving myself fully to You to be my Lord and Savior. In Your Name, I pray. Thank you for saving me, holy, precious Lord! Amen!
If you meant that prayer, then, now, you know the Reason to celebrate – whatever the season!
Truth in Love Fellowship
December 14, 2014