I would like to invite you to take your Bible and turn with me to the gospel of Luke, chapter 1. As we begin this Christmas season, I want us to focus upon not only the Christmas story, but the purpose of Christ’s coming to this earth.
Luke 1: 26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 To a virgin, espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. 30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of His father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
The angel Gabriel made some amazing statements to Mary:
1. You will give birth to a son
You have to remember that Mary is still a virgin at this point. Although she’s engaged, or ‘legally betrothed’ to be married to Joseph, she has never slept with Joseph, nor any man for that matter. Many Bible scholars believe that she might only be about twelve or thirteen years old. Just being engaged to be married is probably overwhelming to her, let alone having a baby.
2. You will give birth to the one called the Messiah
Luke 1:32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of His father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
Last week Pastor Bruce preached about the covenant God made with David where the Lord promised David a son that would sit upon his throne and rule forever.
2 Samuel 7:12 When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. NIV
This particular son was known to the Jews as the Messiah. The word messiah means ‘anointed.’
I have read that almost every Jewish woman prayed to be the one who would give birth to the Messiah. I’m not sure if Mary had ever prayed that prayer or not. Even if she has thought about it somewhere along the way, I can pretty much guarantee you that she’s not thinking about it at this point in her life. She’s probably trying to take in what it will mean to become Joseph’s wife. And yet, before her is an angel, telling her that she will be the one to bring the Messiah to the nation of Israel.
But Gabriel says something even more amazing.
3. You will give birth to the Son of God
Luke 1:31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest…
You’re not just going to give birth to a son, you’re going to give birth to the Messiah who is the Son of the Most High God. Probably no one in Israel at that time understood that the Messiah would be the Son of God. For the most part, this is a brand-new revelation.
Friday night Tammy and I went to see the new movie The Star. It’s pretty good and there were parts of it that really made me think. As we watched it, I sat there thinking about the truth behind the story. The tiny baby, lying in a manger, would not only grow up to die on a cross, He was also a part of God’s eternal Trinity. Truthfully, God was lying in that manger. How do we even begin to try to comprehend all of this?
I. THE FULFILLMENT OF A PROMISE
For centuries, the Jewish people had longed for this son to come. As we have already noticed, God made this promise to David around 1,000 BC. But David was not the only one who received promises about the coming of the Messiah.
Around 500 BC, Daniel received a vision of one coming who was like the ‘son of man’ and who would be given both ‘authority, power and glory’ and a ‘kingdom that would never be destroyed.’ (see Daniel 7:9-14)
Two hundred years before that, the prophet Isaiah received a revelation concerning this special child. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever.” (see Isaiah 9:6-7)
But even before David, Isaiah or Daniel learned of the Messiah, a man by the name of Abraham was promised a special son. “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing… and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:2-3) What’s most amazing about this prophecy is that at the time God promised a nation to Abraham, Abraham didn’t even have a son. He was childless.
But even before these men received their revelation concerning the Messiah, someone else was promised a deliverer. The first person to ever receive the promise of a special son was a woman. Way back in the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve first sinned against God, the LORD promised Eve a special son who would ‘crush the head of the serpent.’ (see Genesis 3:15)
The promise of a special son who would deliver us from the curse is as old as mankind itself. Yet it’s even older.
II. THE FULFILLMENT OF A PLAN
Are you familiar with what they call Google Earth? Even if you’ve never downloaded it onto your computer, you’ve seen it used on the evening news. One moment we’re zoomed into New York City, and then we zoom out, travel quickly fly across the globe and zoom into to somewhere in the Middle East.
Let’s zoom away from earth for a moment and consider the birth of God’s Son from heaven’s perspective.
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world…
Before Genesis 1:1 ‘In the beginning…’, before ‘Let there be light…’, ‘Let us make man in our image…’, before we had even sinned – God had a plan for how He would save us.
Many read Ephesians 1 and focus upon the ‘who’ God would save and who He wouldn’t. They read this passage and focus upon what they call ‘the elect’
But I am led to focus upon something else. I don’t focus upon the ‘who’ God will save, but ‘how’ He would do it. Before time began, God determined that He would save us through His Son. We read in Ephesians 3:11 According to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord…’
We need to understand that ‘Christ’ is not a name, it’s a title. It’s the Greek version of the Hebrew word, ‘Messiah.’ Before time began, God anointed His Son to be our Savior. We read from the book of 1 Peter –
1 Peter 1:18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed… 19 but with the precious blood of Christ… 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.
There are at least three things the Son of the Most High God was chosen to do:
A. He Was Chosen to Save Us from Our Sins
I love this verse written by the Apostle Paul.
1 Timothy 1:15 This is a trustworthy saying, worthy of full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst.
Many of you are familiar with this verse from the King James Version: ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.’ Literally Paul is saying, “Christ Jesus came to save sinners and I am at the front of the line.” Some of us might argue with Paul. We see ourselves as being at the front of the line as sinful people. Regardless of where you see yourself, the Son of the Most-High God came into this world to save you from your sins.
B. He Was Chosen to Redeem This World from the Curse
We read from the book of Genesis that a part of the results of Adam and Eve’s sin was a curse placed upon creation.
“…cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you… and by the sweat of your face you shall eat bread…” (Genesis 3:17-19)
Why is life so hard? Why is there so much sorrow? Why do people get sick and die? It’s all because of the curse that was placed upon creation as a consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin.
What’s more, the Bible refers to Satan as now being ‘the god of this world.’ (see 2 Corinthians 4:4) That doesn’t mean that Satan created this world or that he has a legitimate claim over it. But that this world is under his power and influence. Why does a man sit in a hotel room and randomly shoot over 500 innocent people, killing many of them? Why is this world in such chaos? It’s because this world is under the curse of Satan’s power and influence.
But one day this curse is going to be broken. One day the rose will no longer bear a thorn. We read from the book of Revelation:
Revelation 11:15 The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
The Bible tells us that one day, King Jesus is going to come back and rule and reign over the earth. He’s going to cast Satan into a lake of fire. He’s going to deal with all those who refuse to receive Him as their Savior, and He’s going to create a new heaven and a new earth wherein righteousness will dwell. One day, there will be no more sickness or sorrow. One day, there will be no more disease or death. One day, the wolf will lie down with the lamb.
C. He Was Chosen to Return All of Creation to the Authority of His Father
There’s a third thing the Son of the Most High was chosen to do. He was chosen to return all of creation to the authority of His Father.
1 Corinthians 15:58 Then, when all things are under his authority, the Son will put himself under God’s authority, so that God, who gave his Son authority over all things, will be utterly supreme over everything everywhere.
The plan to send the Son of the Most High to this earth to be our Redeemer, was established from eternity past and reaches into eternity future. When you zoom all the way out and look at everything from God’s perspective, you see that it all has been within God’s plan and for His glory.
Here’s a question that many have asked: ‘Why did God create a world where men could sin? Why didn’t God make us incapable of sinning? I believe that Paul answers that question in Ephesians 1:6
“According to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved.” (Ephesians 1:5-6)
What is grace? Grace is God’s favor that we don’t deserve. The Bible says that God is rich in mercy and grace. If so, how would God demonstrate such mercy and grace to a perfect world? God had to create a world that was capable of sinning so that He could demonstrate His grace. And as He does, we give Him praise for the glory of His grace.
A moment ago, we zoomed out from the stable to outside the universe. Let’s zoom back in for a moment. Not only is God able to see from eternity past to eternity future, He knows the number of hairs on your head. God is able to zoom into every detail of your life. God knows the deepest part of your being. He knows your thoughts and feelings. He knows everything there is to know about you. He even knows about the sin in your heart.
Before God created the world, He knew about the sin that would one day be in your heart and He made a way through His own Son for you to be forgiven of your sin and become His child. What does He want back from you? Your praise and glory. God wants you to receive His gift of salvation and then forever praise Him for it.