52 Major Stories of the Bible - Lesson 27

The Birth of Jesus

Back in Genesis 3:15, God promised to do something about sin. The Old Testament shows God working to keep his promise, a promise that is eventually fulfilled in Jesus Christ. But unlike popular expectation, Jesus was more than just a human being. He was fully God at the same time he was fully human. But it is not enough to know these facts; you must receive God’s blessing in order to walk in relationship with God.

Bill Mounce
52 Major Stories of the Bible
Lesson 27
Watching Now
The Birth of Jesus

I. Promises from Old Testament

II. Angel Visits Mary

III. Birth of Jesus

IV. Who Is this Baby Jesus?

A. Fully God

B. Fully Human

  • Genesis 1 is the foundational chapter for the entire Bible. It not only tells us how everything started, but it establishes the basic teaching on who God is and who we are in relationship to him.

  • On the sixth day of creation we learn that people are the apex of creation, stamped with the image of God. This is the source of human dignity, and it is why we pursue spiritual growth, so we will look more like him.

  • Genesis 3 describes how Adam and Eve sinned, how their sin broke the relationship with God for them and for all people, and God’s promise of a redeemer.

  • Genesis 6–9 is not a children’s story. It shows God’s anger against our sin, and yet also shows that he is a redeeming God. Like Noah, it challenges us to step out in faith.

  • Genesis 12:1–15:6 focuses on one man, Abraham, who is part of the fulfillment of the promise God made in the Garden to redeem humanity. Abraham must do two things: believe, and act on that belief. When he does, God makes an eternal covenant with him and with all his descendants, Israel and the church. We too must follow the pattern of our father: believe, and act on that belief.

    The authors of the New Testament refer to Abraham as the person with whom God made the covenant as the father of the nation of Israel. At the time God established the covenant, the man's name was Abram. God changed it later to Abraham and that's how he is referred to in subsequent references.

  • The story of Joseph in Genesis 37–50 is an account of God’s faithfulness to his promises to Abraham, his omnipotence (all-powerful), and his omniscience (all-knowing). Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, but God worked through their evil to accomplish good — the salvation of the entire nation of Abraham’s descendants. We too are called to faith in God’s promises.

  • In Exodus 7:14–Exodus 10, we read of God’s salvation of the Israelite nation. The Egyptians had enslaved them, but through Moses God punished the Egyptians with ten plagues and secured the Israelite’s freedom. God is faithful to his promises, and all praise and honor go to him.

  • The Ten Commandments, found in Exodus 20, are not rules to follow, but they give form and structure to how our love for God (the Shema) should manifest itself in how we treat God and others.

  • Moses wants to see God. Exodus 33 contains the account of how God could not let Moses see him or Moses would have died; but he does allow Moses to see the back of his glory. This is the essence of Christianity: a desire to see God. After all, God created us to have fellowship with us. We were created for community with him.

  • The book of Leviticus is consumed with the holiness of God, that he is separate from all sin. The sacrificial system teaches us that sin violates God’s rules, which extracts the high cost of death.  But Leviticus also teaches us that God forgives, that a sacrifice can pay the penalty of our sin (if we repent), and in so doing prepares us for the cross of Jesus.

  • The Shema is the central affirmation of the Old Testament: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one” (Deuteronomy 6:4). It calls us to rigorous monotheism in which we refuse to worship idols of any shape.

  • The book of Judges shows the necessity of covenant renewal, how each generation must decide for itself if it will follow God. Once the Israelites were given the Promised Land, for the most part they failed to renew the covenant and failed to receive the blessings from God. The same is true of our own families.

  • I Samuel tells of the shift from the nation being ruled by Judges to that of a king. Israel was supposed to be a theocracy, a kingdom ruled by God, and so the people’s desire for a king was a rejection of God. Saul, the first king, did not learn the lesson that God is still king, and what matters for us is to remain faithful. Unfortunately, many people make the same mistake as Saul.

    Update: When Dr. Mounce refers to "theodicy" at the first of the lecture, he means, "theocracy." We have updated the outline and the transcription. We will update the audio when we are able.

  • This is not a story primarily about a young man defeating a great warrior (I Samuel 16-17). It is an account of how faith propels us to trust God, no matter what the appearances.

  • Psalm 23 is David's cry of faith that his divine Shepherd will provide and protect him in all situations, and that God is lavish in his love for his sheep.

  • Psalm 51 gives the pattern for true biblical confession, which admits our own guilt and God's justice, makes no excuses, and appeals not to our good works but to God's mercy.

  • Solomon was the wisest of all people, and yet he died a fool because he ignored his own advice (Proverbs). It is not enough to know the truth; you have to do it. Wisdom begins with knowing that God knows best.

  • Job learned that bad things happen to good people and bad people alike. The question is, will you continue to trust God in the difficult times? Is he worthy of our trust when we don’t know all the answers and our lives are filled with pain?

  • 1 Kings 14–18 tells the story of Elijah and his battle with false religion. The word of the day was “syncretism,” the mixing of two religions. In our day, we are faced with the same challenge, especially the mixing of Christianity and secular culture. Elijah challenges us to not have divided hearts or divided loyalties.

  • Isaiah 6:1-8 tells us of Isaiah’s visit to God’s throne, and there we learn the true meaning of worship: the cycle of revelation and response. As God reveals himself to us, and we must respond appropriately. It asks the question, ”How big is your God?”

  • Isaiah 52–53 give us one of the most exact and theologically helpful looks into the death of Christ. Isaiah prophecies about a servant who was to come, whom God would punish for our sins. This, of course, is a prophecy about Jesus. Here we learn that there is no sin God cannot forgive, and that peace comes not from within ourselves but from outside, from God.

  • Micah prophesied three sets of what we call a “Woe” (judgment”) and “Weal” (restoration). The Israelites believed all they had to do was go through the external motions of worship, and then they could live any way they wanted the rest of the week. This brings judgment, but with judgment God promises a future restoration.

  • Hosea prophesied to people who were caught in persistent sin. Their sin caught them in a downward spiral beginning with idolatry and enforced by luxury. But even at the bottom of spiral, after the people have experienced the necessary punishment, God is still present to forgive. Sinners are called “whores,” living unfaithful lives.

  • Habakkuk asks the question of why do the wicked appear to flourish and the righteous suffer. At the root of his question is whether or not God is righteous. Because Habakkuk asks in faith, God answers his question by telling him to wait. Eventually, the wicked are punished and the righteous are rewarded. In the meantime, the righteous person lives by their faith that God is a righteous God. 

  • Jeremiah and Ezekiel prophesied before and during the exile, when God’s people were conquered by the Babylonians, preaching God's judgment as well as the promise of hope. The hope was the New Covenant where God's law would be written on the person's heart and empowered through the work of God's Spirit.

  • The book of Lamentations teaches us that there is an end to God’s patience with sin. It is a national lament in which Israel expresses their deep sorrow over sin. It starts by being honest about the cause of sin, not blaming anyone but themselves. But it concludes by expressing their faith in the God who forgives.

  • Back in Genesis 3:15, God promised to do something about sin. The Old Testament shows God working to keep his promise, a promise that is eventually fulfilled in Jesus Christ. But unlike popular expectation, Jesus was more than just a human being. He was fully God at the same time he was fully human. But it is not enough to know these facts; you must receive God’s blessing in order to walk in relationship with God.

  • The Old Testament ends on a note of promise, that God would send Elijah to prepare the people for their coming savior, the Messiah. This Elijah turns out to be John the Baptist, who prepares the people by teaching them about repentance. Much to their surprise, the people learned that being born Jewish was of no advantage, and that they too had to learn that they have nothing of value to offer God if they are to enter his kingdom.

  • Perhaps the most common term used about Christians is being “born again,” or “reborn.” This comes from the account of the Jewish leader Nicodemus. Jesus tells him that if he is to enter God’s kingdom, he cannot get there naturally, through what he can do. Only the supernatural work of God’s Spirit in making us new — so new that it is a rebirth — can accomplish our salvation. All this is explained by the most famous verse in the Bible, John 3:16.

  • Do you want to be blessed by God? Jesus tells us how this happens with eight statements at the beginning of his famous “Sermon on the Mount.” Contrary to popular belief, blessing comes through recognizing our spiritual depravity, mourning over our sin, and as a result being meek, pure in heart, and pursuing peace. How will the world respond? It will persecute you, which is also a blessing.

  • Jesus teaches us that prayer begins with us orienting ourselves to our heavenly father, being most concerned with his glory and the advance of his kingdom, and concludes with our admission of total dependence on him for our physical and spiritual needs. Prayer is primarily about God.

  • Worry carries the illusion that we have some control and that worry can accomplish something. Of course, it can do no such thing. Disciples are to have unwavering loyalty to God. As we see Gods care of his creation, we can rest assured that he will also care for us. Our focus is to be on his kingdom and his righteous; in return, he will simply give us what we need.

  • Many years before Christ, God told Moses that his name is “I AM.” Jesus picks this name up to assert that he is in fact the Great I AM, and as such he says things like, “I am the bread of life,” “I am the light of the world.” The mystery of the Trinity is that there is one God, and yet God is three – Father, Son, Spirit. This is difficult to understand, and yet we should not expect to know everything there is to know about God.

  • When Jesus calls us to follow him, as one person has said, he bids us come and die. Die to our personal ambitions, and live daily as one who has died to himself and lives for God. Only disciples are in heaven.

  • What is the single most important thing you can do? What is the central thing required of us by God? It is to love him him with everything we are. Our love must be emotional (not just obedience) and it must be personal (loving God and not things about him). But if we love God, we must then love our neighbor.

  • Two major events await the disciples: the destruction of the temple and Jesus’ return. There will be signs, warning them to flee Jerusalem, which happened in A.D. 70. But there are no warning signs for when Jesus will return and this age will end. The disciple’s role is not to wonder about when this will happen — not even Jesus knows — but to live a life of preparedness.

  • In Jesus’ last teaching before his death and resurrection, among other things he taught the disciples about the coming Spirit who will convict the world of its sin, show the world Jesus’ righteousness, and convict the world of its coming judgment. We know this “Spirit” to be the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity.

  • The greatest act of salvation before the cross was God freeing the Israelites from Egypt. To celebrate that event, God instituted the Passover celebration, commemorating God’s graciousness act of passing over the Israelite houses and killing the first-born of only the Egyptian homes. But now God is about to perform and even greater salvation event, Jesus dying on the cross. Christians are to celebrate Passover not looking back to Egypt but looking at Jesus’ death and forward to his eventual return.

  • The death and resurrection of Jesus is the culmination of not only Jesus' life but of all history to that point. Jesus died on the cross so that we can be friends of God, and he was shown to have conquered death by his resurrection from the grave. The temple curtain, which symbolized the separation between God and people, was torn in two, from the top to the bottom, and we can now live in direct relationship with God.

  • Jesus’ final act on earth was to commission his followers. Their central mission is to make disciples. They are to make new disciples by sharing the gospel and baptizing them; and they are to make fully-devoted disciples by teaching people to obey everything Jesus taught. Because God is sovereign over all, we must do this. Because he will never leave us, we are able to do this.

  • During the Jewish festival of Pentecost, 50 days after Passover, Jesus’ promise was fulfilled and the Holy Spirit came and empowered all of Jesus’ followers, giving them supernatural power to, among other things, speak in human languages they had not learned. Peter explains the phenomena as a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy and then preaches the basic message found throughout Acts: Jesus lived, died, was raised form the dead, and therefore all people are called to repent of their misunderstanding of who Jesus is.

  • The church is not a building or an activity. The church is the sum total of all true believers. Christ is the head. We are the body. We are a family. We are the temple of God, the place that he inhabits.

  • Justification is the doctrine of being declared not guilty of our sins. It is a work of God alone; we do not help. In Romans 1:16–17 and 3:21–26, Paul makes it clear that this declaration of righteousness is based not on what we do (“works”) but on what we believe about Jesus (“faith”), that Jesus did on the cross for us what we could not do for ourselves.

  • We are not only saved by God’s grace, but his grace continues to sustain us throughout our life. One way that God’s grace shows itself is in how we give, financially. God’s grace enables to to both want to give and to be able to give. If someone is not giving, they should wonder about the condition of their heart and why God’s grace is not active in it.

  • In Romans 5–8, Paul reminds us of the many reasons why we are joyful. We are at peace with God. We are reconciled to him. We have been set free from sin. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit lives within us. We are adopted into God’s family, assured that we are his children. This is the joy of the righteous life.

  • Paul wants the church in Philippi to understand humility. They should agree on one central focus, and that is a humility that stems from a right understanding of who you are in Christ. As an example, we look no further than Jesus, who is God, lowering himself to be human, and in return being exalted. In response, we should take great care at working out the implications of what it means to be saved.

  • Christians are people of the book. We believe that all of Scripture came from the very mouth of God. It is true in all it affirms and authoritative over our lives. The challenge is to come to the point where you really believe this.

  • The book of Hebrews is a deep theological study on the superiority of Christ over everyone and everything else. Interspersed throughout the teaching are the “Warning” passages in which the author encourages his readers to not fall away from their faith. If people do leave the Christian faith, they can have no assurance that they truly are Christians.

  • James tells us that there is nothing more difficult to control than  the tongue. It destroys people’s reputation, often under the guise that what is being said is accurate. We are hurt, so we verbally lash out. We want to be well thought of, so we feign piety. The only way to gain any victory over the tongue is to work on the heart, since it is out of the heart that the mouth speaks. Unfortunately, gossip often is the natural language of the church, but there can be victory.

  • 1 Peter asks one of the fundamental question of life is, how can an all-powerful, all-good God allow pain and suffering. It helps us grapple with this question by pointing our attention to the realities of our lives, especially the fact that we are exiles on earth and our true home is heaven. We are to recognize in the midst of suffering that God is still at work for our good.

  • The letter we call 1 John is primarily about love. We have been loved by God, and so we should love others as well. Love is not  some simplistic emotion but it involves action: God loved us and therefore sent his Son. Love is the giving of oneself for the benefit of the other.

  • The Bible closes with the prophecy of how all things will end. While there are many questions as to the precise meaning of this book, it’s central message is crystal clear. God will not keep us from suffering and persecution; it is going to get worst; God calls us to be faithful in the midst of our pain. If we are faithful to the end, we will be rewarded. This is what we are waiting for, a new heaven and a new earth where there will be no pain, no sorrow, no sin. The Garden of Eden will be restored, at last. We were created for fellowship with God, and we long for the day when Jesus will return again and take us home.

English | Hindi | Swahili

The Bible is one continuous story filled with adventure, heroes and villains, triumph and defeat, good and evil, love and jealousy, plot twists and ultimately, a happy ending. As you read each of the short Bible stories along the way, you begin to see how the Bible stories combine to form the structure of the one big story. The individual characters and their experiences of tragedy and triumph draw you into their Bible stories and help you see the overarching themes of cosmic love, judgment and redemption.

Telling stories is an effective way of communicating ideas so you remember them. Immersing yourself into the 26 Bible stories from the Old Testament and 26 from the New Testament helps you to understand and internalize the character of God, the splendor of his creation, his love for humans, the evil and destructiveness of sin, the wonder of the plan of redemption and the completeness of restoration at the end of history.

Each of these stories can be considered as Bible stories for kids because the plot and main teaching of the story is something that most children will understand. They are also Bible stories for youth and adults because if you are wise, the examples you see and the lessons you learn will guide you for a lifetime.


Recommended Books

52 Major Stories of the Bible - Student Guide

52 Major Stories of the Bible - Student Guide

The Bible is one continuous story, from the story of creation to the story of Jesus' future return at the end of time. And yet there are smaller, pivotal stories that...

52 Major Stories of the Bible - Student Guide

Dr. Bill Mounce
52 Major Stories of the Bible
The Birth of Jesus
Lesson Transcript


Promises from Old Testament

Well, the first part of the Bible makes some amazing promises. In the very beginning, when God created Adam and Eve, He created them so that they could have a relationship with Him and enjoy Him. And then they did what they were not supposed to do--the Bible calls that sin--and as a result they and their descendants lost their relationship with God. In Genesis 3, God makes an amazing promise, because He promises the He will do something about their sin. In Genesis 3:15 we read God’s curse on the snake who was Satan and He says, “I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and her offspring. He shall bruise your head and you shall bruise His heel.” A promise that one of Eve’s descendants would deliver the mortal, crushing blow and kill Satan even though Satan was going to be able to bruise His heel, was going to be able to hurt this descendent. In 1800 B.C. God makes another amazing promise to Abraham. In Genesis Chapter 12 He promises: “In you all the families of the Earth will be blessed.” He promises that through Abraham God is going to bless all people, all families. Eight hundred years later, in 1000 B.C., He makes a promise to King David in the Book of 2nd Samuel: “When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers [In other words God says “King David, when you die”] I will raise up your offspring after you who shall come from your body, and I will establish His kingdom and He shall build a house for my name and I will establish the throne of His Kingdom forever and I will be to Him a father and He shall be to me a son.” Three amazing promises rolled into one, that David would have a physical descendant, someone who would come from his body, and this descendant would rule over an eternal kingdom, and that God would have a Father/Son relationship with this descendant. This descendent came to be know as the Messiah, or Christ. They both mean the same thing. Three hundred years later, in about 70 B.C. God makes a related promise through a prophet named Micah and in the 5th Chapter of his book he writes: “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, [Ephrathah is just an old name for Bethlehem] who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me One who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is of old, from ancient days.” It is a prophecy that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, yet the phrase “origin is of old from ancient days” is the promise that this Messiah who is to be born in Bethlehem is going to be supernatural. He is going to have existed before he was born.

At the same time that Micah was prophesying, another prophet named Isaiah was prophesying and God made a most amazing promise through him. In Chapter 7 God says: “The virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Emanuel.” The promise of a miraculous, to say the least, birth from a virgin. The name Emanuel means “God with us,” so God is not only promising a miraculous birth, but He is promising that there will be something supernatural about the child Himself who is born. Those are some amazing promises scattered throughout the first part of the Bible.

Angel Visits Mary

About 700 years later, in His timing and in His way, God started to keep His promises and an angel by the name of Gabriel paid a visit to a young woman, a virgin, named Mary. We read about this in the book of Luke, Chapter 1 starting at verse 26,
 “In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent form God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, 'Greetings, O favored one. The LORD is with you.' But she was greatly troubled at the saying and tried to discern what sort of greeting that might be and the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God and behold you will conceive in your womb and bear a son and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High and the LORD God will give him the throne of His father David and He will reign over the House of Jacob forever and of His kingdom, there will be no end.' And Mary said to the angel, 'How will this be since I am a virgin?' And the angel answered her, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you, therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold your relative, Elizabeth, in her old age has also conceived a son and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.' And Mary said, 'Behold, I am the servant of the Lord. Let it be to me according to your word.' And the angel departed from her.”

Notice all the promises that God is starting to keep: Mary was a virgin. Her son, Jesus, will fulfill God’s promise made through Isaiah that a virgin shall conceive and have a child. In fact, the connection between Jesus’ birth and Isaiah’s prophesy is made explicit in Matthew, and in the telling of the same story in Matthew, Chapter 1, we read the following: “All this took place to fulfill what the LORD had spoken by the prophet. Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a son and they shall call his name Emanuel, which means 'God with us.'” There are other promises being kept. Joseph, as is clearly pointed out, is a physical descendant of King David and therefore Jesus fulfills God’s promise to David that one of his body would sit on the throne and that Jesus will reign over this eternal kingdom forever. Promises are being kept in the fact that his name is “Jesus,” because the name “Jesus” means “God is Salvation.” Again, back in Matthew 1:21, it is made explicit: “She shall bear a son and you shall call his name ‘Jesus’ for he shall save his people from their sins.” And hence the promise to Adam and Eve that something would be done to take care of their sins is being kept. Jesus will also be a blessing to all and thereby fulfill God’s promise to Abraham. The blessing will be the blessing of forgiveness, but it is more than just that. The name Emanuel means “God with us,” and the greatest blessing that we could ever receive, whether it is through Abraham or through anyone else, is to enjoy a personal relationship with our Creator, to live in the very presence of God, for God to be with us. The greatest blessing that could ever come. Many promises and many promises being kept.

As the story continues, Mary does in fact become pregnant as God promised. She goes to see her friend, Elizabeth, and when she gets there she recites a song. Evidently she had been composing one in her mind as a way. In a typical Jewish way of expressing her joy and thankfulness, she sings this song to Elizabeth. In verse 50 she says an amazing thing (Luke 1:50). Speaking of God Mary says, “And His mercy is for those who fear Him.” Mary is starting to make a distinction that is going to be continued through the rest of the Christmas story. The blessing of Abraham is available for all. It is good news to all people, yet God will treat only some with mercy, only those who fear Him, who approach Him with reverential awe, and who approach Him in worship are going to be the recipients of His mercy. Blessing for all, mercy for those who fear God.

Birth of Jesus

As the story continues into Luke Chapter 2, at verses 1 and 7 we actually read the story of Jesus’ birth. “In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town and Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea to the City of David which is called Bethlehem because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there the time came for her to give birth and she gave birth to her first born son and wrapped him in a swaddling cloth and laid him in a manger because there was no place for them in the Inn.” How could something so wonderful happen without it being announced? So the angels come and announce Jesus’ birth to the shepherds. “And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field keeping watch over their flock by night, and an angel of the LORD appeared to them and the glory of the LORD shown around them and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them 'Fear not, for behold I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day, in the City of David, a Savior who is Christ the LORD and this will be a sign for you. You will find a baby, wrapped in a swaddling cloth and lying in a manger.' Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly Hosts praising God and saying 'Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace among those with whom He is pleased.' How appropriate that the birth of God’s son would be first announced to shepherds, people who are very much at the bottom of the ancient social ladder. The blessing of Abraham is available for all, even shepherds. There is great joy that will be for all people, the angels say.

Yet notice the distinction that is made between verse 10 and verse 14; that God’s peace is only on those with whom He is pleased. God’s peace is only upon those who fear Him. Peace means that the conflict has ceased. Peace means that the relationship has been restored. And we all need that peace desperately, do we not? Some people live their entire lives without peace, fighting God and not allowing that void in their life to be filled by the only source that can fill it and that is the relationship with God through Jesus Christ. The fact of the matter is that God does not treat all people the same. He is always fair, but He determines what is fair. He is fair to all and yet only some will receive His mercy and only some will receive His peace.

Who Is this Baby Jesus?

Who, then, is this baby? Who, then, is this baby, Jesus?

Fully God

On the one hand He is fully God, just as God promised the Messiah is supernatural. He existed before He was born. That is a pretty good trick. He existed before He was born because He is the Son of the Most High. He is the Son of God and God has fulfilled His promise to David that he will have a Father/Son relationship with the Messiah. This Messiah, the Son of God, is a supernatural being, but He is more than just that. Son of God is Biblical language for God himself. This baby is God.

The very first verse in the Gospel of John says, “In the Beginning was the WORD [John’s word for Jesus] and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” Later on in his life, in John 10, Jesus will say, “I and the Father are one.” Jesus is fully God. And you know, God could have sent His Messiah some other way. Other than the prophesy he had laid down, He did not have to have His son born of a virgin, but He did send Jesus in the way He did to make it clear to you and to me that Jesus is God and that his father is God. It was absolutely necessary that Jesus be fully God, because in 33 years this baby is going to die on the cross and on that cross this baby is going to carry the sins of all the people. No human being could possibly endure the pain of that much sin. No human being could pay the penalty for others' sins. It is just not possible. Only God could endure the pain on the cross and only God could apply His death to the sins of others and, therefore, Jesus the Messiah had to be God.

Fully Human

Along with being fully God this Messiah is also fully human. He was born of a human mother. In John 1:14, he is going to say “The Word [Jesus], became flesh," the stuff that hangs on your bones. “The Word became flesh and He dwelt among us.” He was fully human. This mystery we call the incarnation. It is the greatest miracle in all the Bible. The resurrection can hardly hold a candle to this mystery of the incarnation because the incarnation is the fact that God was incarnated, that God was made flesh. The greatest miracle that has ever happened. Yes, God could have sent His Messiah, His Son, some other way, but He sent Jesus this way to make it clear that He was also fully human and it was necessary that Jesus, that the Messiah, be fully human because only a human can pay the penalty for human sin. Oranges cannot pay the penalty for fig trees and only a human being can pay the penalty for human sin. This is what the Book of Hebrews is talking about in Chapter 2 where the author says, “He had to be made like His brothers in every respect, [He had to be fully human] so that He [Jesus] might become a merciful and faithful High Priest in the service of God [he is interceding for us. He stands between us and the Throne.] in order to make propitiation [in order to make a sacrifice] for the sins of many people.” He ''had'' to be like us if he was going to make a sacrifice for the sins of people. Jesus was and had to be fully God. Yet He was and had to be fully human. Because Jesus then, as the incarnated God, becomes the unique revealer of what God the Father is like. John 1:18: “No one has ever seen God. The only God [this is Jesus] who is at the Father’s side, He has made Him known.”

Jesus as the incarnated God becomes the unique mediator, the unique intercessor, the only High Priest that we have. Paul tells Timothy in I Timothy 2:5, “For there is one God and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” Jesus as the incarnated God is the unique Savior of ''all'' of mankind. Again, Hebrews 7:“Consequently, Jesus is able to save to the uppermost [In other words, completely and totally] those who draw near to God through Jesus since Jesus always lives to make intercession for them.” No one else, especially no other human being, can possibly reveal God because only Jesus knows God. Only Jesus can stand between us and God at the Throne of Judgment interceding for us. Only the God-man Jesus can save us from our sins because only the God-man Jesus ''did'' something about sin. This is the mystery and this is the beauty of the incarnation of God. No wonder it was Good News being announced to the shepherds. But it is not enough to simply know these facts. It is not even enough to, in a sense, believe them because even the demons believe and shudder. The demons knew exactly who Jesus was. That is why whenever they saw Him they cried out “Holy one of God” or some other similar name. It is not enough to simply know the facts. It takes more than intellectual assent to be at peace with God and received His mercy. But, it is as simple as A, B, C. If we are to be at peace with God, if we are to receive His mercy, then we must 1) Admit like Adam and Eve, that we are sinners. That we are separated from the relationship that we so desperately need and want; the only relationship in which we can find forgiveness, the only relationship within which we can find mercy, the only relationship within which we can become at peace with God. We have to admit that we are separated from that. 2) Believe that Jesus, the God-man, died for my sin, carried my sin and hence paid the penalty for my sin and for yours. Finally, 3) Commit ourselves to Him. That once we are born again, to live out our lives as God’s children. It is ''all'' about Jesus. The longer I do this, the more I see it. It is all about Jesus and about our separate-ness from Him and about His act of mercy and peace on our behalf and then Jesus’ enablement of us to respond and become His children. It is no wonder that God prepared us for His birth by making so many amazing promises.The offer of salvation from sin, the offer of a relationship with God that we so desperately need, is offered freely to each one of us. It is truly Good News to all people. We invite you, today, to receive God’s blessing and through the A, B, C’s, to be saved by His mercy and then enjoy the wonderful walk with Jesus, hand in hand, day by day, to finally, finally be at peace with yourself and to be at peace with your Creator.

Memory Verse

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14).

Reflection Questions

  • How does it encourage you to know that God made promises centuries before Jesus was born, and that He kept his word?
  • Do you or anyone you know struggle with the idea of the virgin birth? If you or they believe in God, why do you think this is an obstacle for some?
  • Jesus came to save us from our sins. Do you think you need to be saved from your sins? If not, then what can you give in exchange for your sin and soul?
  • In what ways is the presence of God a blessing beyond compare?
  • Have a great Christmas. Please don’t forget to read the Christmas story especially to your children. A relationship with a God who desires to be with us is more significant and j oyful than presents, is it not?
  • How can you know for sure that you have received God’s mercy and are now at peace with him?
  • What has Jesus done for you that was possible only because he is both God and human?
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