Jesus The Christ: Born In A Manger
By Joe Keim
November 1, 2010
The story that I am about to share with you only happened once in the history of mankind. And when it happened, it was so special and so precious that for the past 2,000 years, mankind has not been able to stop talking about it. The story that we are going to read in a minute is one that has been preached millions upon millions of times all over the world. Tens of thousands of books have been written about it and for many generations, fathers, mothers, boys and girls have passed this priceless story on to the next generation. It is the story that never grows old and will continue to be spoken of throughout all eternity.
Please understand too that our story today has caused more families and friends, and yes, even churches, to split up than any other story in the history of mankind. Oh, and it has caused more people to die than all the wars put together.
It is the birth story of Jesus! Yes, Jesus! That beautiful sweet name that is ever so precious. The name, when mentioned by someone, causes us to sit up straight and pay close attention. And when we handle His name, we are ever so careful that it comes out clearly and not in a jumbled up way. It's the name that every human being will bow to and confess. The Bible, when it speaks about the name of Jesus, tells us clearly that "...there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved"-Acts 4:12
There is a song that goes like this:
Jesus Jesus Jesus, there's just something about that name. Master, Saviour, Jesus, like the fragrance after the rain Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, let all heaven and earth proclaim Kings and kingdoms will pass away. But there's something about that Name!
But as you know, Jesus has so many other names that He goes by. That's because He fills so many different positions. Just like one man can fill the position of a father, a husband and a son all at the same time, so Jesus can fill many positions all at the same time. In fact, if you were to count up all the different names (or positions) that Jesus has been given in the Bible, you would find that there are a total of 136.
Here are just a few of the more popular names that were given to Him:
Messiah, Christ Jesus, God our Savior,
Lord and Savior, Savior of the World,
Seed of the Woman, Advocate, Anointed,
Author and Finisher of our Faith,
Author of Eternal Salvation,
Beginning and End, Beloved Son,
Bread of God, Bread of Life,
Bright and Morning Star, Chief Cornerstone,
Christ-the New Adam, Deliverer,
Door of the Sheep, Eternal Life,
Faithful and True, Friend of Sinners,
God Manifested in the Flesh,
Gift of God, Head of the Church,
Head of Principality and Power,
Holy and Righteous One, I AM,
Image of the Invisible God,
Judge of the Living and Dead,
King of King and Lord of Lords, Lamb of God,
Lamb without Blemish, Light of the World,
Mediator, Only Begotten of the Father,
Resurrection and life,
Son of God and Son of Man,
Son of the Most High God, Teacher,
The First and the Last, The Life,
The Truth, The Way and The Word of God.
But now that we have this small introduction, let us go to the Bible and read the story that I mentioned at the very beginning. As you read it, try to place yourself in the story. Think about how it must have felt like to be in the Angel Gabriel's shoes or sweet little Mary's shoes.
In Luke 1, verses 26 through 30, we are told that Gabriel, one of God's angels was ordered by God to go to planet earth and find a small town named Nazareth. I'm just guessing that the town of Nazareth in today's world might have had one or two stop signs but no stop lights. It was probably the kind of town that if you blinked while driving through in a car, you would have missed it. It was small enough to mostly go un-noticed by the rest of the world; however, Almighty God was very much aware of it. He had a universe sized plan for this little place on the map. And so we are told that God had a heavenly meeting with Gabriel and in that meeting He said, Gabriel, within that small town of Nazareth, you are going to find a young teenage girl named Mary. I want you to go to her and deliver a message for me. Oh, and when you get there, you are going to find that my little girl, Mary, has never had any children, but she is engaged to a young boy named Joseph.
Can you almost feel the excitement that God and Gabriel were feeling as they discussed this very important meeting that was about to take place down there on earth? It is my guess that all of heaven was jumping for joy and shouting praises from every rooftop and corner of heaven. Yes, this was the moment that all had been waiting on. But hold it for a second, let's imagine for a moment what life on earth must've been like for little Mary at this very same time. I'm guessing that Mary was just going about her daily life, possibly thinking about her future. And I'm sure that if she was like any other teenage girl, she was thinking about her wedding day and a time when she and Joseph would start a family of their own. But while all this heavenly and earthly planning was going on, Luke writes...
Luke 1:28 And the angel came in unto her [Mary], and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
I'm almost sure that there must have been a thousand thoughts and ideas go through Mary's mind as she listened to the words of Gabriel. In verses 29 and 30, we are told that Mary was very troubled and fearful, but the angel Gabriel reminded her a second time, "Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God."
Wow! How would you like it if one of God's angels came whooshing in, uninvited, and tell you, "hey, the God of all creation sent me to tell you that He has found favor with you?" What would you think? How would it make you feel? Would you doubt it? Or, would you believe it with your whole heart? Maybe I need to remind you that God does love you. He loved you so much that He gave His only Son to die in your behalf so that you could live forever.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world [so loved you], that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life..
Oh what great love the Father in heaven has for you and me. It's so big that we can't even begin to wrap our mind around it. Jeremiah 31:3 tells us, "I [God] have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee."
Well, let's keep reading God's message to Mary.
Luke 1:31-35 And, behold, thou [Mary] shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call His name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest... Then said Mary unto the angel, how shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
Now there are several things I would like to look at, but first of all, did you get those last few words? Let's look at them again, "that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" Wow! Let that sink in for a moment. Here's Mary, a young teenage girl, her whole life before her and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, an angle appears and what he tells her will change her whole life instantly and forever. The baby she was going to have was not an everyday baby! No, not at all! The baby she was going to have was the Son of God Himself.
And secondly, have you realized by now that this baby would never have an earthly father. Nope, absolutely not! This baby was going to be born in a way that was unheard of. He, Jesus, was going to be placed into Mary's womb by God Himself, without any involvement from Joseph or any other man on earth.
When Mary heard these things, she immediately had a question that all of us would've had, and that was, "How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?" What Mary was trying to say is, Gabriel, what you are telling me is humanly impossible. No woman, since time began, has ever had a child without the involvement of a man. But the angel said in verse 37, Mary, "with God, nothing is impossible."
And friend, those words in verse 37, the ones we just read, are well worth keeping in mind for our own life; "with God, nothing is impossible."
A while back, a young lady was talking to me about a huge challenge she had going on in her life, and she said, "Joe, the challenge is too big, I will never get out of this one!" It was at that point that I said, "Verna, why don't you open the lid and let God out of your tiny little can?" In other words, let Him out of the pen and let Him live in the big wide open universe. He wants to do universe sized miracles, such as what He did in Mary's case. BIG! So big that all of creation can't help but stand back and say WOW! That is huge!
In ending, I would like to read verse 35 one more time and then ask ourselves the following some questions:
Luke 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
In looking at the virgin birth of Christ, mankind needs to think deeply and honestly. One question needs to be asked. Why would God's Son have to enter the world through a virgin? Or more simply put, why was Christ born of a virgin? Why was a virgin birth necessary?
The birth of God's Son required a miracle. He could not be born through the natural process as other men are. If He had been born as other men, His very birth would indicate that He was no more than mere man. Very simply, any person who enters the world through a man and a woman is a mere man or a mere woman. He or she can be nothing more. But this is not so with Christ. Christ already existed. Therefore, if God willed to send His Son into the world, He would have to choose another way. All Christ needed was a body. As He Himself said to God the Father: "A body hast thou prepared for me" (Hebrews 10:5).
The birth of God's Son required a combined act on God's part and on woman's part. If God's Son was to become a man and identify with men, He had to come through the process of conception through a woman. Why? Because man can only come through the woman. Therefore, if God willed to send His Son into the world as a man, He would have to perform a miracle, causing Mary to conceive by an act of His divine power.
A question needs to be asked. Why is it so hard to believe that God can cause Mary to miraculously conceive? Why is it so hard to believe that God exists and that "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16)?
And with that said, let us end with a Scripture verse that comes in handy when thinking about the great and mighty works of God.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
-- Joe Keim
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