The Birth of Jesus Christ — The Redeemer Has Come
Matthew 1:18–25 (NKJV)
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.
- Following the first seventeen verses of Matthew’s Gospel establishing Jesus Christ’s genealogy as the Son of David, there is a declaration of His supernatural conception and His identity as the Son of God. “she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.”
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.
- For Jesus Christ to appear on the stage of human history as the Son of Man would come at a very high cost, not only for Jesus Himself, but for all those who would choose to obey God and participate in His redemptive plan.
- From the very beginning of the Gospel we see a spiritual tension between sorrow and joy; discord and harmony; sacrifice and redemption.
- Imagine the joy and wonder that Mary experienced with the angelic visitation and announcement that she had been chosen by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to carry into the world the promised and long awaited Saviour and Messiah.
- However, Mary would have to endure the shame and sorrow of being accused of being an immoral and unfaithful woman by those around her.
- Mary’s heartbreak would have multiplied as she witnessed the pain on Joseph’s face as he wrongly believed that the woman he loved and to whom he was engaged and trusted had betrayed him.
- It would have been impossible for Mary to convince Joseph or anyone else that she had been faithful and that her pregnancy was because of the miraculous intervention by the Holy Spirit.
- By submitting to the will of God and giving birth to Jesus, Mary experienced sorrow and danger that far surpassed just being misunderstood and rejected by those around her. According to the Law, a woman guilty of sexual immorality would be subject to capital punishment.
- As we recognize the hardships and danger Mary faced, we can more fully appreciate the depth of Mary’s faithfulness and commitment to God. She willingly and gladly surrendered to the will of God and agreed to carry out His divine purposes even at the expense of her reputation, her relationships, and even her life.
- Mary agreed to make herself vulnerable for the glory of God.
Luke 1:38 NKJV
38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
- We also see Joseph’s godly character. Despite feeling betrayed by Mary’s apparent unfaithfulness, his response was not in any way vindictive. He demonstrated a desire to deal with her pregnancy as discretely as possibly, by not publicly shaming Mary or endangering her life or the life of the baby she was carrying.
“Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.”
20But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
- While Mary was helpless to defend herself or give a satisfactory explanation that made sense to Joseph, God intervened and spoke directly to Joseph through a dream.
- God confirmed and affirmed what Mary had told Joseph. — “do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
- Mary totally trusted God to be her shield and her advocate to intervene on her behalf. Her willingness to be misunderstood, slandered, and shamed for the Gospel provides an example for all believers.
- We need to trust that God will give us the wisdom and strength to face adversity for the sake of Jesus Christ so the Gospel message will shine forth to this world that is filled with so much darkness.
“But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 13:11).
21And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
- In the dream God told Joseph the purpose of this child’s birth. — “you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
- Jesus came to redeem mankind and to be the Saviour of the world.
- The very name given to the Son of God incarnate, Jesus, means “salvation,” “the Lord saves,” “the Lord is salvation.”
- Jesus would bring complete salvation that would not only save us from the penalty of sin which is eternal damnation, but He came to bring us freedom, deliverance, and liberty from every aspect of sin. Only then could mankind experience the abundant life that God always intended for us.
“for He will save His people from their sins.”
22So 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.”
- Jesus’ virgin birth separated His birth from all other human births because it was a declaration that He was more than a mere man. He was actually God incarnate as prophesied in Isaiah 7:14. “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
- Matthew 1:23 references and quotes the prophet Isaiah to validate that Jesus is truly the promised Messiah and that His virgin birth was foretold by the prophet Isaiah some 700 years prior to His birth.
- Even though this prophecy is in itself astounding, it is only one of many direct and indirect prophecies found throughout the Old Testament from the first five Books of Moses, the Law, right through all the writings of all the prophets.
- The purpose of the Old Testament was to point to Jesus Christ beginning with Jesus’ miraculous virgin birth, His life and ministry, and His sacrificial death and glorious resurrection. Every detail of Jesus Christ’s life was foretold.
- The Old Testament is a testimony to the veracity that Jesus Christ is the Promised Messiah, the Son of God.
- Skeptics and atheists quickly dismiss the Gospel, saying that Christ’s virgin birth and bodily resurrection are impossible. Of course, in the natural that is true. However, they have missed the entire point! That is why those two events point to the divine nature of Jesus Christ as the Son of God. They are only possible in the supernatural.
John 1:43-46 NKJV
43 The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.”
44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.
45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
- After Jesus found Philip, Philip went and found Nathanael. Philip told Nathanael that he had found the Messiah who is Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.
- Philip said he had identified Jesus as the Messiah through the writings of Moses and the prophets.
“Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
Romans 3:21-23 NKJV
21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
- Paul identified the purpose of the Law and the Prophets. The Law and the Prophets were never meant to instruct people how to keep the Law so they could become righteous.
“But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,”
- The Law and the Prophets were meant to reveal how we have failed and broken God’s laws and righteous standards and are unable to keep His law because of our sinful and lost state.
“For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”
- The purpose of the Law and the Prophets was not to point the way to Heaven, but to point to the One who would make a way so we could be saved, have eternal life, and be received into Heaven.
- The Law and the Prophets witness that it is through faith in Jesus Christ that we become righteous and receive salvation.
“witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.”
- Legalism occurs when one tries to read and interpret the Bible as a series of rules and regulations, wrongly believing that will make one righteous.
- The purpose of the Bible is to reveal Jesus Christ so we will repent, put our faith in Him, and live a righteous life through our new life in Christ.
- “Jesus didn’t come to make bad people good but to make dead people alive.” Ravi Zacharias
Matthew 22:41-46 NKJV
41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,
42 saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?” They said to Him, “The Son of David.”
43 He said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying:
44 ‘The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”‘?
45 If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?”
46 And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore.
- The Pharisees and the religious leaders thought they understood the Law and the Prophets, but all they saw were rules and regulations. They failed to understand the true purpose of the Law and the Prophets. They failed to recognize that the Law and the Prophets pointed to a Person.
- Jesus asked them what appeared to be a very straightforward question, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?”
- The Pharisees correctly answered Jesus’ question by saying, “The Son of David.” However, there was another level of revelation hidden in the Scriptures to which they were totally oblivious.
- In response to the Pharisees’ answer Jesus posed another question.
“How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying: ‘The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool’”? If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?”
- Here is the apparent paradox — “How could David’s son be his Lord?” Jesus was pointing to the fact that the Messiah, who would be born from the seed of David, would actually be the Son of God.
- The Pharisees were totally stumped by Jesus’s words. They were fearful of asking Jesus any more questions because they could sense the foundation of their understanding of the Law and the Prophets beginning to crumble.
“And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore.”
- In Judaism, the Law and the Prophets, the Tanakh, are not seen as painting a comprehensive picture but as a set of rules, regulations, and commandments that need to be kept. They study the Tanakh focusing on its individual components, and never seeing the Law in context. They saw the Law, but missed what the Law revealed and misunderstood the purpose of the Law. Only if they looked beyond the simple dietary laws, the sacrifices, and the Feasts of the Lord, they would have seen the complete picture and the true purpose.
- Their piecemeal approach resulted in a religious system that contained numerous rules and regulations, but was devoid of life and revelation.
- Judaism sees the Tanakh as innumerable pieces of a puzzle. They fail to see that if one puts the pieces together correctly they form a picture of Jesus, the Messiah.
- The Law and the Prophets are one continuous narrative from the beginning to the end which reveals the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ and His redemptive plan.
Luke 24:25-27 NKJV
25 Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!
26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?”
27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
- After Jesus’ resurrection and before the disciples believed He had been resurrected, Jesus met two very discouraged disciples who had left Jerusalem and were on the road to their village of Emmaus.
- While His disciples still failed to recognize Him, Jesus began to rebuke them for their unbelief and exhorted and instructed them about all the Messiah had to suffer and fulfill. Jesus did this by exclusively referring to the Law and the Prophets. “And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.”
- The Old Testament is so filled with prophecies and prophetic insights into Jesus Christ that we could study the Bible continually for the rest of our lives and never come to the end of them.
- The Old and New Testaments are filled with treasures and riches that God has placed there so we can search them out, study them, and meditate on them to enrich our understanding and our relationship with Him.
- There is one more detail we want to look at today that is found in the Old Testament that will provide us with insights into Jesus Christ coming as the Son of Man in order to redeem us—the silver bases that were used in the construction of the Tabernacle of Moses.
- The Tabernacle building itself can speak of us and God’s plan of redemption for us.
- The Tabernacle structure was made from 48 boards. Each board was made of wood, covered with pure gold, and supported by two pedestals made of pure silver which sat directly on the desert floor.
- Gold was the most precious metal in ancient times. It is a unique metal that does not oxidize or corrode under normal conditions; pure gold is incorruptible. Gold in the tabernacle represented the incorruptible and divine nature of God.
- The boards were made from wood.
- Wood speaks about our humanity and fragility. However, because the boards were completely covered with gold the wood was totally protected from decay and corruption.
- Once we have received Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour we do not lose our human nature; we gain His divine nature through the new birth that preserves our humanity which is incorruptible for all eternity.
- Through Jesus Christ it is not our humanity that is put to death, but our sin nature. “Our old man” has been crucified so we can now live a new life of freedom in Christ.
Romans 6:6 NKJV
6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
- People sometimes misunderstand that Christ did not come to destroy our humanity, but to free us from our sin nature so we can enjoy our humanity. They think they need to reject their humanity and live austere lives and refrain from enjoying life.
1 Timothy 4:3-4 NKJV
3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving;
- Each of the 48 wooden boards covered with pure gold sat on two pedestals made of pure silver.
- Unlike gold, silver is easily tarnished and needs to be polished to retain its lustre. In the Bible, silver is associated with redemption, righteousness, and refining.
Numbers 18:15-16 (NKJV)
15 Everything that first opens the womb of all flesh, which they bring to the LORD, whether man or beast, shall be yours; nevertheless the firstborn of man you shall surely redeem, and the firstborn of unclean animals you shall redeem.
16 And those redeemed of the devoted things you shall redeem when one month old, according to your valuation, for five shekels of silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs.
- The silver used to build the bases that supported the boards of the tabernacle was collected from the redemption money of the first born.
“And those redeemed of the devoted things you shall redeem when one month old, according to your valuation, for five shekels of silver.”
- In the Old Testament the redemption money was always and exclusively paid with silver.
Matthew 26:14-15 NKJV
14 Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests
15 and said, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?” And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver
- Jesus Christ was betrayed for the price of thirty pieces of silver.
- Jesus is our redemption money!
- Thirty pieces of silver was not a lot of money—it was the price of a slave.
Exodus 21:32 NKJV
32 If the ox gores a male or female servant, he shall give to their master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.
- To the world Jesus Christ’s sacrifice is of little or no value. To those who have put their faith in Him and His redemptive work at Calvary, it is the most priceless and wonderful gift, one that is without measure or comparison. Without salvation, nothing has meaning or value.
Matthew 16:26 NKJV
26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
Romans 10:11-13 NKJV
11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”
12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.
13 For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”
- The world uses the name of Jesus Christ as a curse word but to those who have called on His name for salvation, His name is the most precious in all of creation!
- The silver pedestals rested against the hard dry desert floor in the wilderness where they supported the boards of the tabernacle.
- The silver pedestals represent redemption meeting earth—where Jesus Christ the Son of God became man.
- The work of redemption could not take place in Heaven. Our redemption needs to be worked out here on earth and for that reason God the Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ.
John 3:16-17 NKJV
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
- Jesus’ foot touched the hard rocky soil of this life not in the form of an angelic being, or in the omnipotence of God Himself, but as a helpless new born babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and laying in a humble animal feeding trough.
Isaiah 53 NKJV
3 He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.
- Jesus came as a man to redeem mankind. He experienced all our sorrows, pain, and rejection as He walked this earth to redeem mankind just as the silver bases resting on the hard desert floor supported the Tabernacle.
“A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.”
- The silver bases have another prophetic meaning. They speak about how each believer is to work out their own salvation each day during our earthly lives.
Philippians 2:12-13 NKJV
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;
13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
- The foundation of our salvation is solid and firm through Jesus Christ’s finished work on the cross resulting in our justification and freedom from the penalty of sin. This aspect of redemption was eternally complete the moment we put our faith in Jesus Christ.
- However, now God wants to transform our souls and our lives as we daily walk with Christ. Through the ministry of the Holy Spirit we are to develop Jesus’ character within us. He wants to redeem those areas in our lives where we have been broken and disfigured by sin and bring healing and wholeness. This is progressive redemption.
Philippians 1:6 NKJV
6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
- The silver bases can speak about us co-laboring with the Holy Spirit to transform us through our daily walk in this life. It is where we work out our salvation in the day-to-day mundane things of life. Included would be simple things such as getting up each morning and spending time with the Lord in prayer and in His Word.
- It is prophetically significant that the metal that was used to construct these pedestals was silver. Silver, unlike gold, will tarnish unless it is constantly cleaned and polished.
- It is essential to understand the very high price Jesus paid to redeem mankind. When Jesus took on the form of a man He became subject to the same temptations and trials that we are, yet He did not sin.
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.
- Jesus never became defiled or tarnished by the corrosive things in this life. He remained pure and unblemished.
- Even more astounding is to understand that when Jesus came as a man He could have failed. This would have resulted in all mankind being eternally damned, and Jesus Himself would have experienced the same fate.
Hebrews 5:7-8 NKJV
7 who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear,
8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 NKJV
3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality;
4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor,
5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God;
- Just as silver can become tarnished if not kept clean and polished we can easily become defiled by this world if we are not prayerfully vigilant.
- We need to learn how to keep ourselves from being defiled by the things that are in the world. When we fail we can immediately deal with sin through the cleansing process of confessing our sins and repenting.
“that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor,”
John 17:15 NKJV
15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.
- God has placed us in this world to be a light to those in darkness. However, He also wants us to keep ourselves from the sin, defilement, and perversion that has so filled this world.
1 Kings 10 (ESV)
21All King Solomon’s drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the House of the Forest of Lebanon were of pure gold. None were of silver; silver was not considered as anything in the days of Solomon.
- King Solomon was greatly blessed by God and his prosperity surpassed that of any other king of his time. However, he failed in one important area—he took God’s blessings for granted!
- Specifically it says that Solomon was so wealthy and his riches so abundant that silver was no longer considered precious or of any significance.
“silver was not considered as anything in the days of Solomon.”
- Because Solomon neglected God’s commandments and took God’s favour and salvation for granted, Solomon became a careless and reckless man who squandered all of God’s blessings and opportunities.
- The Bible warns believers not to neglect the great and wonderful salvation we have received through Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 2:3 NKJV
3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,
Luke 10:20 NKJV
20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”
- Do not allow successes, comforts, or any of our many blessings to crowd out and obscure our view of the salvation we have received through Jesus Christ.
- Above all else, let our crowning joy be the salvation we have received through Jesus Christ.
- Christians can easily lose the joy of their salvation by seeking contentment and joy in temporal success, riches, and comforts.
- We must be careful not to make what is precious common and what is common precious.
- The most precious thing we have is salvation!
- Never take salvation for granted.
- Stir up the joy of our salvation each day and seek to maintain and pursue our first love for Jesus.
- The joy of our salvation is one key to possessing unending strength. “for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10).
- If we find our joy of salvation waning we can pray as David prayed, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.” (Psalm 51:12).
Luke 2:10-11 NKJV
10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.
11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
- The good news of the Gospel is that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came as a man to bring redemption to all who willing put their faith in Him.
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