Summary: Jesus Christ being born that first Christmas morning was, in my opinion, the greatest miracle of all, because every other miracle results from this miracle.
From a Cradle, to a Cross, to a Crypt, to a Crown
Text: Matthew 1: 18-25
Jesus Christ being born that first Christmas morning was, in my opinion, the greatest miracle of all, because every other miracle results from this miracle. How could fallen, sinful mankind – separated from fellowship with God because of Adam’s original sin, once again have the opportunity to be reunited with the God who made us? The only way was for God to become a man! But how could this be? How could deity stoop so low? But it had to be, because only by God becoming a man, could God’s justice be reconciled with His mercy.
In his book, “Miracles,” C.S. Lewis says it this way: “God…comes down; down from the heights of absolute being into time and space, down into humanity; down further still, to shrink Himself into the womb. To the very roots and seabed of the Nature He has created.”
The why of this was explained by Paul in his letter to the Romans by writing that Jesus came and shed His blood as an atonement for sin, so that God could “…demonstrate His justice at this present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus” (Romans 3: 25, 26 NIV).
On this same theme, in his letter to the Philippians, Paul wrote of Jesus: “Though He was in the form of God, He did not count equality with God, a thing to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men, and being found in human form” (Php. 2: 6-8). What a miracle! In his “Expanded Translation of the New Testament,” Kenneth Wuest, prominent among New Testament Greek Scholars, describes Christ’s mindset like this: “…after weighing the facts, Jesus did not consider His deity a treasure to be clutched and retained at all costs, but He emptied Himself; He made Himself void, having taken the outward expression of a bond slave…He entered into a new existence, that of mankind; and being found in outward guise as a man, He stooped very low, having become obedient to God the Father, to the extent of death, even such a death as that upon a cross” (Philippians 2: 6-8). Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
John Piper is the pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. I’ve been reading his book: “Jesus: The Only Way to God,” for the 2nd time. In it he has this to say about the birth of Jesus: “Something of immense historical significance happened with the coming of the Son of God into the world. So great was the significance of this event that the focus of saving faith was, from that time on, made to center on Jesus Christ alone.” In his sermon on Mars Hill in Athens, recorded in Acts the 17th chapter, Paul says that because of the coming of Christ into the world, the “times of ignorance have ended,” and “…He commands all men everywhere to repent.”
The revelation of God, which had before, been reserved exclusively to the Jews through the sacred writings given to Jewish prophets, would now be open and available to all people everywhere: in fact, to “whosoever will.” Now, through the incarnation of Jesus, all nations and their people would have access to God. Paul wrote about this to the Ephesians: “When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” He goes on to call it “…the mystery hidden for ages” (Ephesians 3: 4-6, 9). In that same passage, Paul said, “Of this gospel, I am made a minister.” Let’s look for a few moments at Christ: from a cradle to a cross to a crypt to a crown.
I. From a Cradle
A. When most people are planning on having a baby, at least in the developed countries, such as America, they do just that: they plan. Many want to know the sex of the child, so they can buy the right kind of clothes, and paint the nursery the proper color. Some go to special classes that teach natural child-birth methods. The mothers shop for maternity clothes, and we pick our doctor and the hospital we want to use; in the case of a Caesarian Section, some can even plan the date for the birth
B. Even in ancient Palestine, I’m sure there was some planning and preparation that went on, but for the parents of Jesus, there would be no opportunity for planning – the planning was done for them by God Himself through the Holy Spirit. God had said the holy child would be born in Bethlehem. Whatever preparation they had made in Nazareth went by the boards.