Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Story of Christmas

The Christmas story can be found in the New Testament books of Matthew  and Luke
 in the Bible.  Matthew 1:18-25; Matthew 2:1-12; Luke 1:26-38; Luke 2:1-20.  
Isaiah 7:14 - Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (KJV)

Matthew 1:23 - Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. (KJV)

The Birth of Jesus:

While Mary was still engaged to Joseph, she miraculously became pregnant through the Holy Spirit, as foretold to her by the angel. When Mary told Joseph she was pregnant, he had every right to feel disgraced. He knew the child was not his own, and Mary's apparent unfaithfulness carried a grave social stigma. Joseph not only had the right to divorce Mary, under Jewish law she could be put to death by stoning.
Although Joseph's initial reaction was to break the engagement, the appropriate thing for a righteous man to do, he treated Mary with extreme kindness. He did not want to cause her further shame, so he decided to act quietly. But God sent an angel to Joseph in a dream to verify Mary's story and reassure him that his marriage to her was God's will. The angel explained that the child within Mary was conceived by the Holy Spirit, that his name would be Jesus and that he was the Messiah, God with us.
When Joseph woke from his dream, he willingly obeyed God and took Mary home to be his wife, in spite of the public humiliation he would face. Perhaps this noble quality is one of the reasons God chose him to be the Messiah's earthly father.
Joseph too must have wondered in awe as he remembered the words found in Isaiah 7:14, "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel." (NIV)
At that time, Caesar Augustus decreed that a census be taken, and every person in the entire Roman world had to go to his own town to register. Joseph, being of the line of  David, was required to go to Bethlehem to register with Mary. While in Bethlehem, Mary gave birth to Jesus. Probably due to the census, the inn was too crowded, and Mary gave birth in a crude stable. She wrapped the baby in cloths and placed him in a manger.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he 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. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. Isaiah  9:6-7
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." Luke 2:14

Matthew 1:18-25; Matthew 2:1-12; Luke 1:26-38; Luke 2:1-20

·       Matthew & Luke affirm the virgin conception and attributes the conception to the Holy Spirit (Is. 7:14 – The Virgin Birth Prophecy)
o  The prophecy of the virgin birth of Jesus Christ fulfilled
·       Only through the virgin conception could Jesus be both God and man; thus making atonement for sin
·       A woman giving birth to a son is not a miracle; a virgin giving birth to a son is a miracle
·       Mary didn’t question the word of God, she only questioned the method God would use to bring about His word (Luke 1:34)
·       Jesus is the Greek name for Joshua meaning “Jehovah is Salvation.” Joshua was a common name among the Hebrews, for the parents hope their son would be the salvation of Israel
o  His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us
·       Matt 2:9-11 Jesus was a young child in a house not a baby in a stable by the time the wise men reach Him.
·       The gifts from the Magi (Matthew 2:11)
o  Gold symbolized His kingly role
o  Frankincense symbolized His priestly role
o  Myrrh symbolized His sacrificial death (myrrh was used for embalming)

Jesus is the Reason for the Season

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