• Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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  • December 2010
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A Christmas Birth At Bethlehem

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 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, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (Luke 2)

When we speak of Jesus, we’re not simply dealing with a man, nor just a great man, we’re talking about the creator and sustainer of the whole universe. Whatever is, it’s all created by Him. Jesus is before all of it and in Him all of it hangs together. He is the creator. He is God born as man. John MacArthur points out:

The humble birth of Jesus Christ that we read . . . from Luke’s gospel in the manger, which is a feed trough in a stable, the humble garment that wrapped His little body was never intended to be a quiet facade to hide the reality that God was being born. Although the world has tried to make it that, it was really a demonstration of condescension, servanthood, humiliation. And frankly, those people who have tried to find in the accoutrements of Christmas a simplicity and a humility that covers up reality have a hard time explaining how an event so humble could be the most widely known event on the face of the earth. If Jesus wasn’t so unique, how in the world do we set the calendars of history by His birth? It seems to me that all the protesting about Jesus, all the trivializing of His birth is like the confession of which Shakespeare commented when he had one of his characters say, “Me thinks you protest too much.” The betrayal of a wicked motive.

The truth is that as the angel said, “This is Jesus who will save His people from their sins,” and as the prophet said, “His name shall be called Emanuel which is God with us,” the truth is what you have in the birth of Christ is a Savior who is God in human form. God entered our sin-polluted world. Without being tainted by it, He took our guilt, He bore our griefs, He carried our sorrows. He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities. He was raised for our justification. He ascended to intercede for us, to prepare us a place and will return to take us to be with Him forever. This is Emanuel, this is God with us. To slight the child of Christmas is to blaspheme the God of heaven. He is unique. No one has ever been like Him. No one ever will be. (“The Child Who Was God”)

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