“The Christmas Babe”
December 8, 2013
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.”
One of the reasons I love the Word of God so much is because it is raw and real and relevant. Who would have expected the pure and innocent Son of God would come from such a background? Who would have thought there would be whispers of divorce and scandal at His birth? We even have a statement of His mother’s sexual activity. WOW! That just blows the prim and proper away! Those who want a surgically pure and idyllic Savior don’t get it. He is real. He is human. He is relevant. And the Bible is painfully truthful.
Last Wednesday, after our Truth Project meeting, I was watching TV and an advertisement for a program that was to come on after Duck Dynasty came on advertizing the ‘real truth of the Bible’. One scholar said that Mary being a virgin was a mistranslation. I thought that was an ignorant and foolish thing to say.
Only a willfully ignorant fool would believe such a thing. If you are ignorant of God’s Word and kind of want to not believe it – you might believe that. You might convince yourself and others that the lie is the truth and the truth is a lie. But the Word is pretty clear – almost embarrassingly so. And Mary’s virginity is not mentioned just one time in one Book of the Bible – it is stated repeatedly. Mary herself, when she was notified by an angel that she was to give birth to the Savior, asked,
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34)
Mary was a virgin and she DID get pregnant by the Spirit of God. God, who created by fiat, by speaking creation into being, by creating something out of nothing, would certainly find placing the seed of God in a virgin womb an easy thing to do. The angel’s response to Mary upon her question of “How is this possible” was, “Nothing is impossible with God.”
And so it happened just as the angel said and the Word of God prophesied. A baby was born in a stable that was to change the world. He was a part of God, Himself. This morning I want to take a closer look at that babe lying in a manger. What does God’s Word reveal about Him?
First of all, He was conceived by the Holy Spirit. The Scripture says,
“...an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 1:20
Let’s read Luke’s record of that event again.
“In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, hand he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” Luke 1:26-35
I don’t have the time to fully develop why it is so important that God, the Spirit, is the Father of this Babe. Theologians have written volumes on this subject. Let me just say that it has to do with the fallen nature of man. We inherit our spiritual depravity from our parents. Our propensity to sin is passed down to us from our parents. The accepted protestant theology is called “the genetic mode of the transmission of inherited depravity”.
Since both of our parents have this fallen nature – we will have it, too. But Jesus didn’t. Why? His Father was not fallen. His Father was the pure and perfect Heavenly Father. And that made all the difference. The line of depravity; the line of sin; the heritage of rebellion was broken. Jesus was born with a holy nature – as Adam and Eve were created. It was His nature to choose to do right – as it was Adam and Eve’s. He was born in the primitive state of holiness – why? Because He was conceived by the Holy Spirit.
The transmission of depravity also explains why Adam is blamed for the fall of man and not Eve. (Romans 5:12) Had Adam resisted Eve’s temptation – mankind would not have fallen. The human race would not have had an absolute history of rebellion. But since Adam choose to sin – the sin gene was passed on to all of Adam’s race.
The first thing we need to remember as we gaze at the Babe in the manger is that He was conceived by God. This baby’s Father is God Almighty.
The second thing we need to realize is that the Babe in the manger, since God is the Father, is divine. He is God’s Son. He is God! The Scripture says,
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Matthew 1:23
Did you hear that? Jesus is ‘God with us’, the angel said. God’s Holy Word declares that Jesus is ‘God with us’. One of the reasons Jesus came to earth is to show us what God looks like in human form. He was ‘very God’ and ‘very human’. Jesus was 100% God and 100% human. Consequently, the Bible says,
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” Hebrews 4:15
Jesus was Human and yet still God. He had that divine nature that enabled Him to be victorious over sin. For that reason only He could break sins hold on us. The Bible says,
“For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”
That Babe in the manger was totally human and yet totally God. That is the only way He could deal with the issue of sin. As you gaze at that Babe in the manger – understand that it is God you are gazing on.
Thirdly, as you look at the Baby, understand that He is the Messiah. This is the long awaited Messiah. The Bible says,
“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.” Matthew 2:3-4
Do you understand that Herod wasn’t disturbed that a baby from royal lineage had been born? He was so disturbed because the MESSIAH was born. The Messiah was the King of kings. Herod knew that Jesus was the Messiah. There are still people today who haven’t accepted that fact. They haven’t realized that there are two advents – two comings of Christ. This is the first. We celebrate Christmas because of it. The second coming is nearing quickly. It could be very soon. People will miss it, too, because they didn’t realize that the Babe in the manger was and is the Messiah. The disciples proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah (Acts 5:42). We need to do the same.
Fourthly, as you gaze upon the Babe, realize that He is the King. The angel said,
“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” Luke 1:32-33
“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:1-2
His Kingdom will never end. That’s awesome news. But here’s even better news – you will rule and reign with Him.
“...with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:9-10
“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:16-18
Lastly, we need to understand, as we look at that tiny baby in the manager, that He is the Savior of the world. The angel said to Joseph,
“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
“They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” John 4:42
Jesus is the Savior of the world. Jesus is the only way to the Father and heaven (John 14:6). Jesus is the only way we can be saved from our sin and death and eternal hell. That is why we celebrate at Christmas. We are not without hope. We are no longer in despair. We have a way of salvation and eternal life. And all it takes for us to pass from death to life is for us to believe on Jesus and make Him our Lord and Savior. The Bible says,
“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.” John 5:24-25
Do you believe the Gospel message? Do you believe that the Babe in the Manger is the Savior of the world? Have you made Him YOUR Savior. All you have to do is believe. Jesus said,
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Believe – and receive eternal life and sonship into God’s family.
When you gaze upon the Baby in the manger remember:
1. Jesus is Conceived by God
2. Jesus is God in Human Form
3. Jesus is the Messiah
4. Jesus is the King
5. Jesus is the Savior