Christ, Christmas, & Chosen!

“Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped tightly in cloth and lying in a manger.”

Luke 2:10-12 (CSB)

A long time ago, in a manger far, far away….

The book of Matthew and the book of Luke are the only two books in the bible that give descriptions and accounts of the birth of Jesus. Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 2:1-20 to be exact. It’s interesting really, given how significant and important his birth was and what it symbolizes for mankind.

Matthew’s Description of Jesus’s Birth

Matthew, for those who don’t know, was one of the 12 disciples of Jesus Christ. He was a tax collector before leaving it all behind when Jesus called him to come with him.

Matthew’s account of Jesus’s birth opens up with describing Jesus’s mother, Mary. He writes,

“After his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant from the Holy Spirit.”

Matthew 1:18 (CSB)

This sentence alone has a bit of context to uncover. So, we have Jesus’s mother, Mary, and we have this man named Joseph. Mary and Joseph were engaged, but not yet married. Mary became pregnant from the Holy Spirit (more details of that in Luke). To make it simple, this basically looked like she was unfaithful to Joseph while they were engaged because she was pregnant with a child that was not his. This was a big no-no during this time and was punishable by stoning/death. Needless to say, the fact that Mary trusted the Lord with something like this carries immense respect on that alone because of the potential consequences of being pregnant when a) engaged to a man and b) the law of adultery was punishable by death.

Matthew continues to describe Joseph having a dream and being visited by an angel of the Lord, telling him to take Mary as his wife and that she had been conceived with a child from the Holy Spirit. The angel of the Lord gives instructions on what the child’s name will be and what the child will do (hint: save humanity).

Now, a quick note on the conceiving part. Mary was a virgin. This is a crucial aspect of Jesus’s birth. Matthew 1:23 reads explains by reciting an Old Testament sign of who the Messiah would be and how he would come to be. It reads,

“See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name him Immanuel.”

Matthew 1:23 (CSB)

Fun fact: Immanuel means “God is with us” which was an indicator that Jesus was in fact the Son of God, not just an ordinary man (as if being born from a virgin mother wasn’t enough proof).

This verse is referring to Isaiah 7:14, which is from the Old Testament (Old Testament = Torah: Jewish scripture). As stated before, God gave His people the signs and things to look for when waiting for the Messiah. A virgin birth was one of them, if not the first of them.

“Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign: See, the virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel.”

Isaiah 7:14 (CSB)

If you’re confused about Jesus or Immanuel (why was Jesus called Jesus type of question) here’s a good article on the nature of Immanuel and the name of Jesus by Apologetics Press called “Why Did Mary and Joseph Not Call Jesus “Immanuel”? .

Matthew’s description of Jesus’s birth kind of just…ends. The last couple sentences sum up Joseph’s dream, him marrying Mary, and saying he didn’t have sexual relations until Jesus was born.

Luke’s Description of Jesus’s Birth

The gospel of Luke is honestly one of the most key books of the Gospels as a whole, in my opinion. First off, Luke wasn’t a direct disciple of Jesus yet his book accounts for Jesus’s entire life, ministry, and resurrection. Second, and possibly the most important note about Luke, was that he wasn’t even a Jew, but a Gentile.

Luke was a physician, meaning that he had a different “style” of writing and intellect compared to other books. His writing is very distinctive (in its original language) and different from the other Gospels. He also wrote Acts (fun fact) which is also an essential book when transitioning between Jesus’s ascension and as the church was just forming (most notable person being Saul->Paul in my opinion). Nevertheless, I digress.

A great video to watch on a cinematic interpretation of Luke’s account of Jesus’s birth is The Chosen‘s pilot episode of their multi-series show on the life of Jesus Christ. The pilot episode was originally a simple video created and directed by Dallas Jenkins for his church. A humble video to tell a humble story, which ultimately became big. (The Chosen is the largest crowd funded tv show ever…and it’s all about Jesus. Highly recommend them!)

The Chosen Special Christmas Episode

While the descriptions of Jesus’s birth is in Luke 2:1-20, it’s important to gloss over Luke 1:26-38 because it goes more in-depth about Mary and how she news that she’d be conceiving Jesus and receiving the Holy Spirit.

Starting in Luke 1:26, it accounts as follows:

“In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.”

Luke 1:26

This verse has some context to go over (I’ll be brief). When it describes Joseph as being “of the house of David” this is important because of King David. Luke did not go into the genealogy of Jesus Christ (family tree); that was done in the first chapter of Matthew. Basically, Jesus was a descendant of King David through Joseph being married to Mary. The reason of noting this is because it’s another sign that Jesus Christ was the Messiah the Jews were waiting for.

“When your time comes and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up after you your descendant, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son…Your house and kingdom will endure before me forever, and your throne will be established forever.”

2 Samuel 7:12-16 (CSB)

If you want to learn more about the significance of King David and Jesus being a descendant, hence fulfillment of this sign, then check out Jews for Jesus’ article called “The Messiah Would Be a Descendant of David“.

Back to the birth of Jesus, going now to Luke 2, the chapter opens up with explaining the census that Caesar Augustus had mandated. Everyone under the Roman Empire had to register in their hometown for the census. Since Joseph was a descendant of David, he was from Bethlehem. So, Jospeh and Mary (while pregnant with Jesus) went from Nazareth to Bethlehem to get registered.

Lo’ and behold that’s when Jesus was born, in Bethlehem. Luke’s description is as follows:

“Then she gave birth to her first born son, and she wrapped him tightly in cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.”

Luke 2:7 (CSB)

Now, at this point we could just end here; however, we won’t because that’s not the finished story for the birth of Jesus. Yes, he’s now born, but Luke describes a “more” that is unique to Luke’s description of Jesus’s birth- the shepherds.

Beginning Luke 2:8, it describes how in the same region of Mary and Joseph (and now Jesus) there were shepherds in the fields tending their sheep. An angel of the Lord appeared, terrifying these mere shepherds. (A Note: Shepherds in this time were considered a lowly/poor profession/people, in Old Testament it was more valued profession). The angel of the Lord spoke to them, telling them the good news.

“Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped tightly in cloth and lying in a manger.”

Luke 2:10-12 (CSB)

After the angel of the Lord spoke to the shepherds, a multitude of heavenly hosts began singing praise.

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people he favors!”

Luke 2:14 (CSB)

The angel of the Lord and the heavenly hosts disappeared, and the shepherds decided to go to Bethlehem to witness the sight of the Messiah- the king who would eventually save humanity and reunite the people of earth with the everlasting God. They went to the manger, saw Jesus, and began telling everyone, praising the God about the coming of the newborn king.

An interesting verse from the last part of Luke’s account of Christ’s birth is Luke 2:19, where it reads,

“But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them.”

Luke 2:19 (CSB)

I think it’s the perfect verse to end on as we spend this Christmas day opening and exchanging gifts, feasting on good food, and gathering in fellowship with either friends, family, or both. Christmas day is a day to rejoice and celebrate the greatest gift of all, the gift of Jesus Christ as salvation for humanity. The freely given gift with no doings on your part, just accepting Jesus Christ.

Treasure all these things in your heart and meditate on them.

Merry Christmas!

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