When a Child Is born.
- When A CHILD IS BORN:
Every year on December 25th, we celebrate the birth of a child, a very special child. Many people walking in today's society would prefer that this special child would stay in His cradle, "Gentle Jesus, meek and mild, Bless this little child." but like all children, Jesus grew up in the home of His step father and mother in the little town of Nazareth, learning the skills of a carpeter (Some scholars believe He was a builder, rather than a carpenter), it is a point of view that I don't share. However, the scriptures use the term, carpenter, Mt. 13:55;
55 "Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?
3 "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?" And they took offense at Him.
Conception of Jesus:
Luke's account has Mary at home in Nazareth, where the angel Gabriel visited her and said to her, "you are favoured in the eyes of the Lord and will bear a son for Him. He will be of the house of David. He will sit on the throne of David and His kingdom shall have no end." Understandably, Mary is some what troubled by her visiter and the message he has delivered to her. "How can this be?" she asks, "Since I'm a virgin." The angel Gabriel replies: Lk. 1:35;
35 The angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God."
Gabriel goes on to tell her that her kinswoman is also six months pregnant. He finishes His message by saying to her, "For nothing will be impossible with God." Lk. 1:37.
Jesus is born of both the blood line and the royal line of David, if only because Mary's lineage goes back to David through her Father Eli, to Nathan, who was one of David's sons and so it is also a royal line. In Jewish culture, the blood line usually goes through the male line, but because the blood line through Solomon is cursed during Jeconiah's reign in the days before the siege and captivity of Jerusalem, Jer. 22:30; Joseph's blood line cannot ever sit on the throne of David, so jesus blood cannot be allowed to be tainted by the curse of God. God, therefore, gets around the problem by allowing the blessing to go through Nathan's blood line, even though he did not sit on the throne, he was still a descendant of David's and therefore both the blood line and the royal line was not cursed in any way by God, allowing God to keep His promise to David, 2 Sam. 7:12-16; 1 Chr. 17:11-14; Ps. 89:4, 29, 33-36.
If you notice in V. 35 of Luke's account, the Holy Spirit comes upon Mary and the power of the Lord God most high over shadows her, causing her to conceive the male child, Jesus, Thereby allowing the Son of God to be born of a woman, making Him the son of man, Gal. 4:4;
4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,
completing His work of salvation through Him in Gal. 4:5;
5 so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
We can see from the quotes above, the Jesus is called, The son of God and the Son of man. Is this a contradiction? No. Both statements are true. Jesus is the only living being that can truly be both God and Man. He emptied Himself of all heavenly powers Phil. 2:7;
7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.
He did this in order to identify with you and me, experiencing the pain of rejection, being reviled by men, being made of no account, feeling pain of loss, feeling the pain of nails being driven through His flesh and experiencing the ultimate humiliation and death in the most painful way, known to mankind. Nevertheless He is God, the second person of the God-head, Heb. 1:2-3, 5, 8; So we can see that Jesus is fully man and fully God. We have a tendency to forget that Jesus can sympathise in everyway with our weaknesses, pain and sufferings, which makes Him so approachable.
In the Jewish culture, it was usual for marriages to be arranged by the parents of both the groom and the bride to be, while they were yet small children. They were considered at that stage to be betrothed, which is as good as a marriage contract.
When Joseph realised that Mary was pregnant, he knew that it wasn't by him, so he considered divorce in accordance with Jewish traditions, which was permissible for a man to do for infidelity, Mt. 5:32; 19:9; which Joseph considered doing seriously by sending her away, so as not to disgrace her. However, the angel Gabriel came to him and explained that the child Mary was carrying, was by the Holy Spirit, Mt. 1:20-25; So he was to continue and take her as his wife, calling the child Jesus, as it was a fulfillment of the prophet Isaiah, Isa. 7:14; 9:6-7.
The birth of Jesus:
14 "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.
23"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."
I think it is significant that the angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds in the hills, looking after their sheep, first, giving them the message to gladden their hearts and also giving them hope for their eternal life to come, Lk. 2:8-20; An angel of the Lord appeared to them suddenly, explaining what was happening down in the city and the sign they were to find, Lk. 2:9-14; . They related the story to Mary and Joseph when they arrived, which Mary took and pondered in her heart. Mary was obviously remembering all that the angel had said to her and Joseph, back in Nazareth and her subsequent visit to Elizabeth, Lk. 1:39-56. We can see that the angel and the shepherds were bathed in the Shechinah glory, which seems to have startled and frightened them, as the angel found it necessary to reassure them that they had nothing to fear. When they went looking, they found things to be as they had been told, returning to their flocks with great joy in their hearts.
We are not told how many Magi came to Judah looking for the child king predicted in scriptures, only that they came from the east to worship Him. We have traditionally believed there to be three wise men, because of three gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh. Herod was disturbed and so were the Jewish authorities, Mt. 2:3; because they were not ready for the Messiah to come, but they were aware of the prophesy from Micah, the prophet, Mic. 5:2. Why weren't they aware of the times? Why didn't they go looking with the three wise men to seek the Messiah? They were either complacently lazy, indifferent to the prophesy, not really believing it or, they just didn't care, being too busy with their own enjoyments, riches and sense of power over the people, ensnaring them in the Jewish traditions and their own self importance, to be bothered about checking it all out for themselves? Can we be accused of the same sense of priorities in today's society? I wonder ...
What could this star that the Magi had followed be? Did they actually see it? Was this a figment of their fertile imagination? or, did it actually exist? We are told in Numbers, Num. 24:17; "... A star shall come forth from Jacob, A scepter shall rise from Israel, ..." The scepter was also mentioned in Jacob's prophesy in Gen. 49:10; Which goes with the rising of the star, suggesting that the kingship belongs to jesus Christ. Was the star the Magi had been following be the Shechinah glory they had been following? This is the conclusion that I personally accept. The Shechinah glory guided them to the place where jesus was Mt. 2:9.
Bethlehem is known as the City of David, Bethlehem means, "House of Bread" which is fitting when you consider that Jesus is the bread of life that God sent from heaven, Jn. 6:33. Bethlehem is also important because it was here that Ruth met and married Boaz, who was the grandfather of Jesse, David's father.
In Mt. 2:10-11 we can see that the Magi had followed the star till they found Jesus and falling at His feet, they worshipped Him, before they opened their treasures of gold frankincense and myrrh. These are a strange combination of gifts to present to a child, don't you think? What is the significance of these gifts, that makes them so strange to give to a child of less than two years of age? I think it is important that these Magi fell at His feet to worship the King of heaven and earth, before presenting the gifts they had brought with them. Ask yourself whether you worship Jesus Christ as the King of heaven? Who is seated at the right hand of God the Father, recognising that He is God almighty, the second person of the God-head, worshipping Him in the right way, putting His position before all else in your life?
Gold is the precious metal that is always given to a king or queen of a royal household as a gift, in this case, they were paying homage to a royal king of heaven, even if they did not express it in those terms. It was also useful, as it could be changed into currency for Joseph, Mary and Jesus to flee to Egypt, which is where they were told to hide from Herod, Mt. 2:12; who desired to find Jesus to put Him to death, eliminating any rivalry to the throne of Judah, where Herod was currently king. We are told by Paul in his letter to the Philippians, Phil. 2:9-11; that God has highly exalted His name above every name. Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Rev. 19:16.
Frankincense is a highly fragrant herb burnt on any altar of supplecation and was extensively used in the tabernacle in the days of the wilderness and the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. it presents the prayers of the saints by the High Priest, before the vale leading to the Holy of Holies and the ark of the covenant of God, Ex. 30:7, 8; Rev. 8:3-4. We can see from these references that the incense was used to lift the fragrant odours of the prayers of the saints to the nostrils of God, the odours of which our God adores. This is a task that is only performed by priests, so we can see that our Lord Jesus is considered and worshipped as both a king and a priest, the only other character in the bible, is Melchizedek, who is king of Salem and a priest to God most high, Gen. 14:18. Melchizedek is possibly a theophany of Christ, or, to be put into plain text, a preincarnate Christ, or an appearance of jesus before His birth in Bethlehem?
The final gift of Myrrh would have given Mary pause to think. This indeed, is a really strange gift to give to a newly born child, or at best, a child that was approaching the age of two years. Myrrh is one of those spiced ointments used by the Jewish as a highly perfumed embalming fluid and usually combined with alloes, another embalming oil, Jn. 19:39;
39 Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, Jn. 3:1; also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight.
A mixture of embalming fluids and oils was about half the body weight and rubbed into the skin of the deceased, suggesting that Jesus weighed approximately LB200 two hundred pounds, before His limbs were bound by winding strips of materials, then the whole body wrapped from feet to neck, then another separate cloth used to wrap the head entirely alone, Jn. 11:44; 20:7.
It is clear from Lukes account in Lk. 2:21-24; that Joseph and Mary kept the laws of the Lord, Lev. 5:11; 12:8; by taking Jesus up to the temple to dedicate Him to the Lord God of Israel, in order that both they and their newly born son should fulfill the laws of Moses exactly without deviation. Jesus did not come to break the laws of Moses, but to fulfill them completely to the letter, Mt. `5:17;
17 "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill."
We read in Luke's account, that Simeon, an elderly man had been promised that he would not see death before he saw the Christ, V. 26. When he saw Jesus, he took Him from the arms of His mother and praised the Lord God of Israel, saying: Lk. 2:29-32;
29 "Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace,
According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation,
31 Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES,
And the glory of Your people Israel."
I think it is significant that we are not only seeing the fulfillment of the law of Moses here, but that Simeon also sees that Jesus is the light of the gentiles or, nations other than Israel as God intended. Consider, Jesus is the light of the world, Jn. 8:12;
12 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, "I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life."
also see: Jn. 1:4; 9:5; 12:35;
If we, the children of God and heirs with Christ follow Him, we shall also become the light to the world, however imperfectly, Mt. 5:14, 15.
Simeon goes on to mention that Mary's heart will be pierced with sadness and severe distress, indicating that she shall see the death of her first born.
Anna the prophetess who had dedicated her life to the praise and worship of God in the temple since her husband's death, also spoke of the work of redemption that jesus would perform, to all who would listen to her in the temple.
It is clear to us, that jesus is more than a special child. So often I have had it said to me, that Jesus was a good man, a noteable prophet. To me, Jesus is more than a good man and yes, even more than just a prophet, although He is that too. Jesus is the fulfillment of all the prophesies in the bible, and has given life to many that would otherwise continue in their diselute and rebel rousing lives, finding no peace in their hearts, resulting in disappointment and a sad end to their lives, with no hope for the world to come.
This child's birth, whose birth we celebrate brings hope for the future of many believers, is all that stands between us and real despairing death, for he brings us the gift of forgiveness of our sins and the gift of eternal life, providing we follow His footsteps to the heavenly kingdom, which the believer in Christ reaches for. All that is required, is that we not only accept Him as the Son of God, but vow to surrender all control of our sad lives to jesus Christ, to perform great miracles of healing and insight in to His true nature and the hope to come, as He has promised all the saints throughout the ages.
Printed and published
Dated: 24 December, 2012
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