Summary: The Incarnation took immense planning; a righteous virgin and a carpenter from an obscure town, a pagan emperor taking a census, a journey, a manger, the family lineage. All of these had to be in place and timed perfectly. We serve a great God! PTL!!
Scripture Reading: Luke 2:1-7 Please find this passage in your Bibles.
“O Little Town of Bethlehem” – sing the first verse A Cappella as the folks find the Scripture reading for the day.
We love that little Christmas song, don’t we?
Let’s go ahead and read from the 2nd chapter of Luke about the birth of Jesus in the Little Town of Bethlehem.
References to the little town of Bethlehem are like a tiny thread running through the Bible.
Rachel, the wife of Jacob or Israel was buried near Bethlehem.
Ruth, from Moab who was the daughter in law of Naomi was redeemed and married by Boaz who was in the ancestry of Jesus lived in Bethlehem.
King David and his father’s family were from Bethlehem.
Micah prophesied that the Messiah would come from Bethlehem.
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for Me One who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
So, how on earth did the Lord plan for Jesus to be born in Bethlehem?
Wouldn’t have been easier to just pick and man and a woman from Bethlehem to carry and bear and raise the Son of God?
There must have been at least one righteous virgin in the town of Bethlehem when the time had come for Jesus to enter into the world, right?
There must have been at least one righteous man who in Bethlehem who would take on the ministry of caring for the Son of God, right?
Instead the Lord chose a virgin and a carpenter from Nazareth to birth and care for His One and Only Son, the Son of Man and God the Son.
So, instead of choosing people from Bethlehem, the Lord puts into place a virgin and a carpenter in Nazareth and a dictator in Rome.
Now, the virgin in Nazareth must become pregnant by the Holy Spirit at just the right time, even before the dictator in Rome has decided to conduct a census, so that the birth will take place in Bethlehem as prophesied centuries before.
The dictator in Rome must make a requirement of the census that the head of the family must return to his ancestral home town to register for the census and Joseph being in the line of David must travel to Bethlehem.
Now, Mary who is pregnant, must deliver the newborn King in Bethlehem. He cannot be born before they reach Bethlehem on the 80 mile journey and He cannot be born on their way home.
This requires some excellent timing.
It is certainly amazing to live at this point in history and to observe the fulfillment of prophecies
But Jesus didn’t come just to give us a good story and to show us how smart the Father is. The Father sent His One and Only Son, His Only Begotten Son for one reason; for the salvation of all who would believe on Him.
Mark 1:38 NIV
“Jesus replied, ‘Let us go somewhere else - to the nearby villages - so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.’”
Luke 5:32 NIV
“I (Jesus) have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Luke 19:10 NIV
“For the Son of Man (Jesus) came to seek and save the lost.”
That is why Jesus came to earth; so that those who are eternally lost (all of us) could be saved (those who would believe in Jesus).
The Father did not send His Son just to show off or to perform some neat trick of prophecy. The Father sent His Son for our salvation.
In the gift of Jesus the Father caused something to happen which had never happened before and that is what we celebrate in the Advent season. It is called the Incarnation. God became man. God did not just take on the appearance of humanity but actually became a man; a God-man.
In theology this is called the Hypostatic Union.
One Being – Fully God and fully man.
Nothing less than fully God.
Nothing less than fully man.
The incarnation of Jesus is when the human nature (Jesus the man) was added to the nature of God the second person of the Trinity. It is where God became a man (John 1:1, 14, Phil. 2:5-8). It was the voluntary act of Jesus to humble Himself so that He might die for our sins (1 Pet. 3:18). Thus, Jesus has two natures: Divine and human. This is known as the Hypostatic Union.
Jesus did this so that His death would be the payment for our sins:
1 Peter 3:18a NIV