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Sermon 12/25/04
His Birth - Matthew 1:18-25 & Luke 2:1-20

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His Birth

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.’ Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which translated means, ‘God with us.’ And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.” (Matthew 1:18-25)

Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.’ When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, ‘Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.’ So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.” (Luke 2:1-20)

The two accounts of the birth of Jesus Christ in Matthew and Luke SEEM different to some, but they merely describe it from different vantage points, reflecting the remarkably dissimilar backgrounds of those who wrote.  Matthew was a Jew who had held the hated office of tax collector through the auspices of the Roman Empire.  He was a “surprise” disciple of Jesus, who, like the others, left not only his employment, but also his family to follow the Lord.  His emphasis in writing was to view the birth of Jesus as a Jewish event, seeing it correctly as a fulfillment of Old Testament prophesies about the Messiah of Israel.  Luke was a Gentile (non-Jewish) doctor, who became a traveling companion of the Apostle Paul.  While Paul was in prison for two years in Caesarea, Dr. Luke acted as an “investigative reporter,” traveling all over Judea, asking questions of those who were familiar with the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  He without doubt asked many questions of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and likely went to Bethlehem to view the birth records, kept so 1) the Jews would know their lineage, 2) the Romans would know how much to tax, but most of all 3) God was authenticating His Son.

The accounts in Matthew and Luke remind us of Genesis Chapters 1 and 2.  Genesis One takes a “telescopic” look at the creation of the world, whereas Genesis Two gives us a “microscopic” view of mankind.  The first account notes the vegetation that was created on the third day, with humanity arriving on the sixth day.  In Genesis Two, the first man, Adam, is associated with what seems to be the creation of plant life, but if you look carefully, the account is actually about the cultivation of crops of the field.  As Genesis One and Two are simply different perspectives, so are Matthew and Luke.

Genesis tells us how this world was created and if those actions had not been taken by God, we would not exist.  These words would not be written and you would not be reading or hearing them right now.  Matthew and Luke tell us how the Messiah (the Christ, the Anointed One) was brought into this world to save us from our sins, and if God had not acted in such a manner, we couldn’t be with God in eternity.

You should be very interested in the events that surround the birth of Jesus.  He was descended from royalty (“Joseph, son of David”) and yet He allowed His personal state to be low.  “There was no room for them in the inn,” but there would have been room if they were notable people.  You and I are descended from Adam, the Son of God (Luke 3:38), but we have become lowly due to sin.  Jesus’ conception and birth were “questionable” to those in the small town who knew His family.  If your circumstances are questionable, God still cares for you.  God can and will give instruction in dreams, as He did with Jesus’ step-father, Joseph.  He can instruct You through His Holy Spirit, through His Word, through the people of God, through the circumstances of life, and yes, through dreams.  God sent His holy angels to ordinary people, the shepherds.  If He worked through ordinary people like them, he will also work through you and me, no matter what our condition in life.  Jesus is God (He is “Immanuel,” “God with us”) and yet He was essentially a blue-collar worker, most of his life.  He understands what it means to be a non-entity.  He “gets it” when you are suffering.  He is personally aware of the fleeting fame that this world offers and He knows what it means to experience disgrace.  And He loves you enough to come and “save His people from their sins.”  People like you.  Like me.

As Isaiah the prophet said, hundreds of years before the Messiah’s birth, “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” (Isaiah 9:6).  He is all you need and He loves you.  Will you trust in Him now?

Thank You, God, for Your Son.  I trust in Him now.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

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Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries

www.FridayStudy.org
www.FirstChurchontheNet.org
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E-mail: Ron@FridayStudy.org
Tel: (562) 688-5559
PO Box 92131
Long Beach, CA 90809-2131
"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)

 

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