December 2017 Evangelical Christmas message by NEAB President Lance Lewis. Christmas greeting to one and all. We wish you the warmth of Christ love in these wonderful wintry days!
The birth of Jesus Christ is a miracle and a pivotal part of God’s Word. In the Gospel of Matthew chapter 1:18-25, we read the fascinating story of the birth of Jesus Christ.
True followers of Christ accept the Virgin Birth of Christ and the other miracles of Christ. In the passage a few things stand out for me.
First of all we see THE DIVINE INTERVENTION IN JOSEPH AND MARY’S WEDDING PLAN (Matt 1:18-19).
Here we see:
a) Pledge to be married.
Our modern society differs from the Jewish culture of Joseph and Mary’s time. They did things differently then in regards to getting married. We see three stages.
i) Engagement: began when the couple were young, even below teenage years. The parents made some arrangement for their children’s future marriage.
ii) Betrothal : This stage ratified the engagement done earlier by the parents. It could be broken off if the girl was unwilling to go forward with it. During this time the couple was in a sense man and wife without being involved intimately. No one could break this stage except through a divorce!
iiii) Marriage: This took place at the end of the betrothal stage (usually one year after). This was the norm in Jewish weddings.
b) Pregnant before marriage.
Mary ‘was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit’ (Matthew 1:18).
Joseph encountered a tough situation. His wife to be was pregnant and he was not involved at all in this situation.
This Virgin birth had never happened to anyone else, and never will. Mary became pregnant through the work of the Holy Spirit!
The Virgin birth of Christ fits into the pre-incarnate dignity and glory of Christ. Scripture supports this in passages such as John 1:1-9; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:15-17 and Hebrews 1:1-3.
The Holy Spirit originated Mary’s pregnancy. It was the move of God and not of man.
Whenever something powerful happens, the Holy Spirit plays a pivotal part as in the case of Creation, the Birth of the Church and the New birth.
Unlike Jesus, no other religious leader ever experienced the Virgin birth. Neither did any Scripture prophesy the coming of any other Religious leader, or when or where he would be born. Only Jesus!
c) Principled man.
Joseph was a principled man and a prince among men. Even although he did not understand at first, the situation with the pregnancy of his wife-to-be, he did not want her to be put away publicly. He was prepared to do so privately. Therefore, Joseph was indeed a righteous man, a just man.
We find few principled men. We need men who will not get involved sexually until they are following the direction of the Spirit and following God’s Word. They wait for God’s time.
Secondly, we see “DIVINE APPEARANCE OF AN ANGEL TO JOSEPH (Matthew 1:20-23).
The angel appeared to Joseph before Christ was born and was a powerful means of assurance to him of what was happening in the case of Mary. We also see in this second section some interesting things.
a) The dream.
Dreams played a big part in guidance. As we saw with Joseph of The Old Testament, so we see with Joseph here in Matthews gospel.
Today we have the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit. So dreams are not as important to understand things today as they were then.
b) The message of the angel. “Don’t be afraid to take home Mary as your wife. That which is conceived in her is of The Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:20).
c) The Ministry and Mission of Jesus.
“Thou shalt call his name Jesus for he shall save his people from their sins” (verse 21). The mission of Jesus is to save people from sins . Accordingly, our Christmas message must carry a message of salvation through Jesus Christ. He is God revealed. He is the source of light and life as Wesley’s powerful hymn tells us:
“Hark the herald angels sing… light and life to all he brings , risen with healing in his wings..”
Therefore, no true Christmas celebration can take place without the message of salvation. “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10)
Thirdly, we see DELIBERATE ACTION BY JOSEPH (Matthew 1:24-25)
Angels won’t do everything: Look at what Joseph did.
a) He woke up. (Life is real.)
b) He did what the angel of the Lord commanded him. This shows a principled man who obeyed God’s plan. When we get a revelation from God we need to act on it . We need to wake up!
c) Finally, he took Mary home to be his wife. Joseph had no union with her until after Christ birth. He was principled and patient because he knew God’s plan and God’s purpose. Suffice it to say Mary had other children so was only a virgin for the birth of Jesus.
Have a blessed Christmas and experience God’s guidance and power in your life!
DailyInsight. For 1000s of years God gave us His voice, His messengers, His words. But in the manger God gave us Himself-Max Lucado (see Mt. 1:18-25).
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