Isaiah 9:6a For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
God had planned for that first Christmas, no detail came as a surprise to Him.
God gave us these details to make sure that everyone would understand that this was His plan.
Prediction of the specifics of events happening years from now is impossible.
God doesn’t predict the future—He already knows the future
Prophecy is simply telling the truth exactly as God has revealed it.
when it is fulfilled exactly as God said, we understand that God is all-knowing.
God told the Old Testament prophets many specifics about the birth, life and death of Jesus.
To a specific family
For example, before Jesus was born, many rabbis were teaching that the messiah was just going to appear
They didn’t understand that Jesus was God from eternity past and therefore had no beginning, but was going to come to earth as a baby,
Jesus was being offered as a gift from God.
For example the Messiah had to be descended from Abraham
The Messiah had to be a descendant of King David
Jesus’, and only Jesus’ lineage was preserved and documented completely.
Jesus could not have been in the Royal Blood line,
God had cursed the royal line because Jechoniah was so wicked
Jesus was descended from David by blood through Mary, his mother
In a specific place
And of course, the Messiah had to be born in a specific place; in Bethlehem near Jerusalem:
Bethlehem means house of bread.
Bethlehem is where the Passover lambs were born.
Bethlehem was full of livestock, and was a smelly place. The manger was a feeding trough.
In a specific way
Isaiah 7:14: Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
This prophecy eliminates everyone else who has ever lived.
Why God sent Jesus
Jesus illuminates God for us.
God loves us and gave His son to save us.
That God sent His son to redeem the world John 3:16-17.
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17.
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. 19 And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. 20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Joseph was the man that God trusted with His Son!
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.
The focus in the Gospel of Mathew is on Jesus the the God’s promised Messiah
In first century Jewish marriage customs, there were three relationships that a couple had: The engagement, the espousal and the betrothal.
Mathew is careful to mention that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit
It’s Jesus’ sinless nature, along with his humanity, that what qualified Jesus to bear the sins of the world.
Joseph’s life was turned upsidedown. He was heartbroken.
He could so easily have made another decision, to seek vengeance, to be bitter, to punish, but he chose mercy.
As Christians, we are to choose mercy.
But better than sacrifices is not to commit the sins in the first place!
Joseph had a plan to let mercy triumph over judgement, to show compassion, but God had a better plan.
God’s plan is a better plan
“Joseph, son of David,
It immediately begins Joseph thinking about the Messiah.
for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
Christ was born without sin not because of Mary, but because he was conceived by the Holy Spirit.
and you shall call His name Jesus,
What the angel really said was “you shall call His name Yeshua.
It’s not Yeshua or Jesus, is both.
For He will save His people from their sins.”
And of course, it was Yeshua, Joshua who led the Jewish people to the Promised Land of Israel and the name Joshua means “The Lord is salvation”.
14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing; 15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world
So last week we discussed how working out our own salvation has everything to do with humbleobedience to God.
Paul’s example of HOW they can work out their own salvation is: by doing all things without grumbling or disputing.
14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing;
Complaining indicates a problem in the vertical relationship between us and God.
In Exodus 16:2-3 Israel complained.
Exodus 16:4 tells us that God provided the manna as a test.
So we see that complaints and grumbling indicate a lack of trust.
We also see that complaints and grumbling can bring about tests of obedience.
Tests are to show US whether we will obey Him or not.
God, through Paul, wants to let the Philippians know, to let the Philippians grow!
Paul wants them to have Godly sorrow over their shortcomings and repent.
Disputing is the working out of this problem between us and God into problems with us and others.
Disputing disrupts unity; one of the themes of the book of Philippians.
15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent,
A big part of this more intimate relationship is by trusting God more. And this will be evidenced in our lives by not grumbling or disputing.
children of God
Being God’s child has everything to do with trusting Him in humbleobedience.
If God is really our God, then we must trust Him as His children
above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation,
This phrase, “a crooked and perverse generation” is not here by accident.
Our amazinggrouse can hide His amazinggrace, if we’re not careful.
among whom you appear as lights in the world,
The world has no other source of spirituallight than God.
We are lights in the world to the extent that we truly represent God’s character