As many have experienced, there is nothing quite like the birth of a child. For many reasons it is a joyous occasion. With that being stated, there is one particular birth that above all others gave more reasons to rejoice. That was the birth of Jesus, the Christ. We are privileged to have the event recorded in detail in the New Testament.
Matthew mentions, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS” (Matt. 1:18-25).
Please notice a very important fact that Matthew established. Before Jesus was born, Mary was a virgin. This is referenced four times in that short amount of verses. The first being that Mary was found with child before Joseph and Mary came together in a sexual way (v. 18). The second time is when the angel revealed to Joseph that he had no reason to doubt Mary’s chastity by telling Joseph that the child was not from man but rather from the Holy Spirit (v. 20). The third time was when Matthew referred to an Old Testament prophecy from the prophet Isaiah. That prophecy explicitly stated that a virgin would be the mother of “Emmanuel”, “God with us” (v. 23; Isa. 7:14). The fourth time is at the end of that section when Matthew indicated that Joseph and Mary did not engage in sexual relations until after the birth of Jesus (v. 25), which defeats the false doctrine of Mary staying a perpetual virgin. Joseph and Mary had children after the birth of Jesus. This is implied by stating that Jesus was the firstborn son of Mary, which indicates that there were more born after Him (cf. Matt. 12:46-50; Mark 6:3).
Matthew continued to discuss Jesus’ birth by directly stating that Christ was born in Bethlehem (Matt. 2:1). This is also stated by Luke in what we call Luke 2:4-7. The reference is extremely important because of divine prophecy. Micah had long before recorded, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2; cf. Matt. 2:4-6). Therefore, it was necessary for Jesus to be born in Bethlehem. Unfortunately, there were some in the first century that did not understand that Jesus was born there, and because of such, they did not believe Him to be the Christ (John 7:40-43, 52).
There are other interesting things that have to do with the birth of Jesus. For one, the fact that He was laid in a manger (Luke 2:7). Unfortunately, because of decorative items that exist today, there are some people who misunderstand what a manger really was. It is powerfully symbolic that the King of Kings was born under such humble surroundings! Also, there is the arrival of both “wise men from the east” and country shepherds (Matt. 2:1-12; Luke 2:8-20). These accounts are important because it helps us to understand how word of the birth of Jesus spread. Also, it is indicative of Christ’s Deity because of the worship that the “wise men” did.
In closing, let us reflect on what the angel of the Lord told those country shepherds long ago. “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11). We should never forget how great and important the birth of Jesus is! With that being said, we should also not forget that His birth was only necessary because Jesus came to die. Without His death, mankind would have been left hopeless and lost (1 Tim. 1:15; Matt. 17:22-23). ~ Corey Barnette
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