The Birth of Jesus Christ
Introduction: Galatians 4:4 says that “when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman.” The time was full in the sense that the world was uniquely prepared for the birth of Christ. How so?
· Roman control of the world at the birth of Christ made unrestricted travel on their developed roads possible. This provided a way for the gospel message to spread rapidly.
· The Greek language tied several cultures together and made possible the free course of the gospel message.
· Rome brought relative peace to the world.
· The Jewish people were anticipating the coming of Messiah. Expectation was uniquely high.
· A calling for the Roman census fulfilled prophecy (cf. Psalm 87.6).
God chose just the right time and place for the incarnation to occur. While Jesus existed before His birth at Bethlehem, He became a man when He was conceived in the womb of Mary. John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (Deity) …John 1:14 “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (Humanity).”
The Birth of Christ Fulfills Prophecy
1. The Virgin Birth of Christ (Isaiah 7.10-14; Matthew 1.22-23)
Isaiah 7:10–14 (NKJV) — 10 Moreover the Lord spoke again to Ahaz, saying, 11 “Ask a sign for yourself from the Lord your God; ask it either in the depth or in the height above.” 12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, nor will I test the Lord!” 13 Then he said, “Hear now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.
Matthew 1:22–23 (NKJV) — 22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
All doubt is removed when Matthew states that the virgin birth confirmed the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. If the Word of God is reliable, then Jesus Christ had to be born of a virgin. The Greek word chosen by Matthew under inspiration of God’s Spirit is parthenos. It may only be translated as virgin.
Isaiah prophesied to Ahaz, king of Judah, that an Israelite/Syrian invasion would fail. Both Israel and Syria would be destroyed within 65 years. God offered to validate this sign through a miraculous sign. Ahaz hypocritically deferred. He himself desired an alliance with Assyria. The Lord knew this of course and gave a sign anyway. But Ahaz would never understand its significance. The sign was the virgin birth of the Christ yet to come.
2. An Heir on the Throne of David (2 Samuel 7.16; Luke 3.31)
2 Samuel 7:16 (NKJV) — 16 And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.
Luke 3:31 (NKJV) — 31 the son of Melea, the son of Menan, the son of Mattathah, the son of Nathan, the son of David…
God made the promise to David, but several generations later, Jeremiah wrote:
Jeremiah 22:30 (NKJV) — 30 Thus says the Lord: ‘Write this man (Jehoiachin) down as childless, a man who shall not prosper in his days; for none of his descendants shall prosper, sitting on the throne of David, and ruling anymore in Judah.’ All hope seemed lost that God could keep His promise to David. Joseph, Jesus’ legal father, was from a cursed line.
The problem is solved through Christ’s virgin birth. Christ received legal right to the throne from Joseph and escaped the curse of that line through his mother Mary. Mary descended from the line of another son of David, Nathan.
The only way Jesus could have fulfilled the promise made to David was to escape the curse of His earthly father’s line while retaining legal right to it. This occurred when Joseph adopted Him and the Spirit conceived Jesus in the womb of Mary - bypassing the curse.
3. Born in Bethlehem (Micah 5.2; Matthew 2.6)
Micah 5:2 (NKJV) — 2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”
Matthew 2:6 (NKJV) — 6 ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ ”
Luke records that “it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered” (2.1). Caesar Augustus meant his empire by the words “all the world”. The NKJV has the word registered rather than taxed which is a more accurate translation. The idea is that a registration would take place as in a census. All the people in the empire returned to their hometowns for a census so that the Romans could tax them correctly.
Joseph was living in Nazareth in Galilee. He had to return with Mary to the city of David or Bethlehem because he was of the house or lineage of David. So many came into Bethlehem that he was unable to find a place for Mary to give birth to Jesus. They stayed in an enclosed area for livestock. It is here that Mary gave birth. She wrapped Jesus in swaddling cloths or rags. It was a desperate time for the young couple.
Application: Joseph would travel 70 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem with a wife that was full term only if Caesar Augustus commanded it. Nothing else would move him to do such a thing. Thus, the prophecy of Micah was fulfilled.
We learn from this that we can trust the Word of God. When God tells us something will happen, it will happen. God’s Word is always true!
Why did Christ become a man?
1. So that God could reveal Himself to us like never before.
Colossians 1:15 (NKJV) — 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
2. So that God could save us from our sin.
Matthew 1:21 (NKJV) — 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Romans 5:19 (NKJV) — 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.
3. So that God, as a man, might live a life of perfection.
1 Peter 2:21 (NKJV) — 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps…
4. So that God might experience temptation and suffering as a Man and provide real help for us in our own temptations and sufferings.
Hebrews 2:17–18 (NKJV) — 17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.
Hebrews 4:15 (NKJV) — 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Conclusion: Joseph and Mary suffered shame and embarrassment because no one (including them) understood how she could be with child in such a miraculous way. Jewish leaders would probably later accuse Jesus of being born in an instance of fornication (John 8.41).
Unbelievers think that our allegiance and service to God through His Word is foolish. They think us fools. No one enjoys this, but we bear reproach to honor Christ and His Word. Don’t expect the world to understand why we love the Bible or worship the Lord Jesus Christ. Don’t change what you believe to fit into the world. The world doesn’t understand the birth of Christ because they’ve never experienced the new birth.