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Summary: The Gospels show many illustrations of Jesus. Which did He consider to be the most important?

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• IT'S WONDERFUL TO BE A CHILD. ESPECIALLY THIS TIME OF YEAR!

• THE ANTICIPATION OF CHRISTMAS...SANTA CLAUS, GIFTS, FAMILY COMING TOGETHER...ALL THE EXCITEMENT OF THE SEASON!

• IT'S EASY FOR CHILDREN TO GET CAUGHT UP IN THE JOY OF CHRISTMAS.

• EVEN SWEETER STILL TO BE A BABY AT CHRISTMAS TIME.

• IMAGINE BABY'S FIRST CHRISTMAS...LAST YEAR BABY CARSON HAD HIS FIRST, THIS YEAR IT'S BABY BRADY'S FIRST CHRISTMAS!

• MY FIRST CHRISTMAS WAS IN 1960 - I DON'T REMEMBER IT. BUT THEY DID TAKE A PICTURE!

• LIKE ALL OF US, WHEN I WAS A BABY I WAS HELPLESS. HELPLESS AT CHRISTMASTIME AND ANY OTHER TIME.

• THAT'S HOW HELPLESS A BABY IS.

• BABIES COO AND GIGGLE AND GURGLE - THEY CAN DO NOTHING FOR THEMSELVES.

• WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT, IT IS TRULY REMARKABLE THAT GOD WOULD ALLOW HIS SON, WITH ALL HIS POWER,

• TO COME TO EARTH AS A HELPLESS CHILD.

• BUT THEN, IT'S NOT LIKE GOD GAVE HIS SON OVER TO A HUMAN COUPLE TO RAISE AND TAKE CARE OF HIS SON,

• GOD WAS TOTALLY IN CHARGE OF THE RAISING OF JESUS.

• HE JUST HAPPENED TO ALLOW THE FAMILY OF JOSEPH AND MARY TO TAKE ON THE HUMAN RESPONSIBILITY.

• THE BIBLE SAYS VERY LITTLE ABOUT THE INFANCY AND CHILDHOOD OF THE LORD.

• IN LUKE 2 - THE BABY JESUS IS BROUGHT TO THE JERUSALEM TEMPLE FOR HIS CIRCUMCISION.

• THERE HE IS BLESSED BY THE RIGHTEOUS SIMEON AND ADORED BY THE PROPHETESS ANNA.

• IN MATTHEW 2:13 JESUS AND HIS FAMILY FLEE TO EGYPT AFTER BEING WARNED BY AN ANGEL OF THE MURDEROUS PLANS OF KING HEROD.

• INCIDENTALLY, SOME WRITERS HAVE SPECULATED THAT THE REASON THE FAMILY OF JESUS RECEIVED THE GIFTS OF GOLD, MYRRH AND FRANKINCENSE WAS TO SUSTAIN THEM FOR THE TWO YEARS THEY WERE IN EGYPT.

• AND IN LUKE 2:41 THE TWELVE YEAR OLD JESUS RETURNS TO THE TEMPLE WITH HIS PARENTS TO CELEBRATE THE PASSOVER.

• AFTER BEING SEPARATED FROM HIS FAMILY HE IS FOUND IN THE MIDST OF THE TEACHERS OF JERUSALEM.

• HIS EXCUSE, IF YOU COULD CALL IT THAT...

LUKE 2:49 - 50 - WHY IS IT THAT YOU WERE LOOKING FOR ME? DID

YOU NOT KNOW THAT I HAD TO BE IN MY FATHER'S HOUSE?...

• WHY IS THERE SO LITTLE INFORMATION ON THE FORMATIVE YEARS OF JESUS?

• THERE HAS BEEN MUCH SPECULATION - SOME HAVE IMAGINED THAT HE TRAVELED IN HIS YOUTH,

• AS FAR EAST AS CHINA AND AS FAR WEST AS STONEHENGE.

• BUT WE HAVE NO EVIDENCE OF EITHER.

• SOME HAVE SPECULATED THAT JESUS WAS A MIRACLE WORKING CHILD - THAT HE MADE BIRDS OUT OF PAPER AND BROUGHT THEM TO LIFE.

• OTHERS SAY THAT HE HEALED THE SICK AND RAISED THE DEAD EVEN IN HIS CHILDHOOD.

• SO WHICH JESUS DO WE NEED? WHICH JESUS DO YOU NEED?

• DO WE NEED THE BABY IN A MANGER? DO WE NEED THE MIRACLE WORKING CHILD?

• DO WE NEED THE JESUS OF MYTH, SUPPOSITION AND SPECULATION OR...

• DO WE NEED THE JESUS OF THE REALITY OF THE SCRIPTURE AND EXACTLY WHO IS THIS CHILD JESUS AND WHAT DOES HE OFFER?

• BUT BEFORE WE START THAT PART OF THE LESSON, LET'S PRAY.

• SOME HUMAN PARENTS PLAN TO BE PARENTS.

• THEY MAY SPEND YEARS GETTING AN EDUCATION, SAVING MONEY, GETTING THEIR LIVES IN ORDER SO THAT WHEN BABY ARRIVES, THE FAMILY WILL BE PREPARED.

• SOME CHILDBIRTHS ARE UNPLANNED. PARENTS MIGHT BE "PAST" CHILDBEARING AGE IN WHICH CASE THEY GAIN THE BLESSING OF A SURPRISE BUNDLE OF JOY.

• SOME PARENTS IN SOME CASES MOTHER MAY NOT EVEN KNOW THAT SHE IS WITH CHILD.

• IN THE CASE OF JESUS, THE TIMING AND PLANNING OF HIS BIRTH WAS OF THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD.

GALATIANS 4:1-5

• THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD PROVIDED FOR THE HUMAN BIRTH OF HIS SON AS WELL AS OUR LIBERATION IN THE SALVATION OF JESUS FROM THINGS OF THE WORLD.

• WE ALSO SEE THAT IT WAS NECESSARY FOR JESUS TO HAVE BEEN BORN UNDER THE SYSTEM OF LAW. HEBREW LAW.

• IMAGINE IF JESUS HAD JUST APPEARED IN THE WILDERNESS LIKE SOME MYTHICAL HOLY MAN. A MAN UNTO HIMSELF WITH NO HUMAN ORIGIN, LIKE MELCHIZEDEK OF GENESIS.

• I DOUBT THE SUSTAINABILITY OF A MINISTRY LIKE THAT OVER TIME WITH NO HUMAN LIFE EXPERIENCE TO SERVE AS EXAMPLE OF HOW WE SHOULD COME TO GOD AND LEARN TO LIVE, LEARN AND GROW IN RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM.

• EVEN THOUGH JESUS WAS HELPLESS AS A BABY HE IS THE PERFECT EXAMPLE OF NOT ONLY OF HELPLESSNESS,

• BUT OF OUR POTENTIAL TO BECOME CHILDREN OF GOD AND TO LIVE IN FOR HIM.

• LIKE US, THE BABY JESUS HAD NO POWER TO SAVE BUT LIKE US HE WAS COMPLETELY RELIANT ON GOD THROUGH HIS PARENTS, JOSEPH AND MARY FOR THE THINGS NECESSARY TO HIS LIFE.

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