Summary: Today I want to share the Christmas story with you from both the Old and New Testaments to show how this birth of Jesus was written into the history of the world before it was even created. We will see how prophecy was so perfectly fulfilled and why we
The Bible is such an amazing collection of inspired writings. How the whole collection can so perfectly from start to finish come together to give us the entire story of Jesus with so many authors over so many hundreds of years.
I’m going to focus on maybe the most neglected characters in the Christmas story, the shepherds and Joseph. They would have been very knowledgeable about the Old Testament prophecies about a Messiah, and this birth of Christ would have absolutely blown them away after their chosen nation had not heard from God for about 4 hundred years. They certainly would have been wondering if God was going to fulfill his promise of the Messiah.
Right from the very first book of the Bible Genesis, we hear prophecy about the coming of Jesus. In Genesis we hear that he would born of a woman and would come from the tribe of Judah. In Isaiah we hear that his name will be Immanuel, that he would be born of a virgin, that he would bring light to Galilee, that a messenger would prepare the way for him.
In the Psalms we hear that he would be declared the son of God and be called a King. Jeremiah tells us that there would be a massacre of children at his birthplace, and Micah tells us where that birthplace would be, Bethlehem, even though that’s not where Joseph and Mary lived. All of these prophecies from hundreds of years earlier are confirmed as we read through the books of Matthew and Luke, and Hebrews and Galatians.
So imagine the Jewish people, they had not heard from a prophet for over 400 years, much like we are waiting for His return. They were probably going about their business, and though they would still have the promise in the back of their minds once in a while, after 4 or five generations, I’m sure like us they got locked into many religious rituals, but the reality of God’s presence was a very distant memory.
Then one day as they as they would have heard about in the life of Abraham, something happens to Zechariah and Elizabeth (read Lk 1:5-25).
This was to be the birth of a very special child that would be the start of a great revolution and activity of God. In essence John the Baptist was an angel (meaning messenger) born to man, that would set the stage for the Messiah.
In the next verse there is another visit from a heavenly being, this time to the young teenage virgin Mary. (Read vv26-45).
Now we see in Mary’s song of praise, the magnificat the momentousness of this revelation (Read vv 46-56). She understood what this was all about and essentially quoted about 20 Old Testament passages right there. Zechariah also figured it out as he prophecies after the birth of His son when the Lord opened his mouth and filled him with the Holy Spirit (Read vv 65-80).
Notice how everything seems to start in the wilderness. Israel roamed the wilderness for 40 years when they left Egypt, John the baptist spends time in the wilderness before starting his ministry, and Jesus himself spent 40 days in the wilderness before starting his ministry. There must be something about getting alone with God for extended periods of time that benefits our ability to be used by God.
Let’s move over to the Book of Matthew and see what’s going on with poor Joseph. First we see at the beginning of the book a genealogy just in case we are not sure about the promised lineage of Jesus. He was definitely from the tribe of Judah and came through the line of David as promised by God.
Now Mary and Joseph were engaged, this was a very serious arrangement back then. So much so that you needed a divorce to break the engagement. Let’s read about how God didn’t get poor Joseph’s permission before putting all this stuff on him. (Read MT 1:18-20). Here’s how there journey might have looked… Show Video.
I’m not sure we can imagine the shock for Joseph. He was just going about his business, preparing to marry this beautiful young woman when all the sudden he is drafted into a very difficult position, the father of the Son of God. Have we ever considered the possibility of God using us in such a way? What that would do to our lives?
We also see that Joseph acted in a very righteous way. Joseph’s first concern wasn’t for himself but, “he didn’t want to expose Mary to public shame”. Maybe this is why Joseph was labelled by Scripture as a righteous man. Joseph here is a great example for us of what true righteousness looks like. It is obedient to God and respectful of others even above ourselves.