Religion & Spirituality:Christianity
Easter 2020 - Day 2
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: his mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’
22 All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 ‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ (which means ‘God with us’).
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. Matthew 1:18-25
That Jesus was a human male is not really disputed. The birth of Jesus is extraordinary at every level. The primary documents about him, found in the Bible, states that he was born of a woman, which in itself tells us that at least in a prenatal state he was nurtured and formed as any other male baby was and is. On the physical level, Jesus was born as any person is, but as regards his conception, He was conceived like no other person – conceived by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35). This was so that Jesus would not be given the sinful nature past that all humans have. Jesus was fully human and fully divine. Other documents, outside of the Bible from that time period also attest to Jesus and his existence.
Throughout the Old Testament, there is a witness to the birth of the Messiah, the Saviour. From the time of the first sin done by Adam, through the creation of Israel, the life of the Patriarchs and Kings and the oracles of the Prophets – all looking forward to the Messiah coming. The 5 Covenants that God made with people all look forward to this Messiah, this King. This King was to be their hope, their Saviour. His genealogy takes his physical line back to Abraham via David. Abraham was the father of Israel and David the first King. He grew into maturity as any young Jewish boy did.
When Jesus was born, his name imbued the very reason he was born. His conception and birth were extraordinary at every level. So important is our understanding of the birth of Jesus that no fewer than 4 angels come to give us a full picture of the event. Do you think that his parents, Joseph & Mary, or God, ever gazed upon him, and thought “How misnamed he is”! They did not, because they knew the very purpose for which he was born. Did Jesus ever think of how misnamed he was? Certainly not! His name means one who saves, or a rescuer. The entirety of his birth, life and death were centred on this very role. His role was to save all those who would follow Him.
He is the most talked about person in history. Almost everyone has an opinion about him. He was born to confirm God's promises, to reveal God as a Father, and to be our representative before Him. He gave us an example of how to live a holy life to the full. He was not merely a man who received some special power. He was not some strange creation that was half man and half God, with his human nature somehow absorbed into the divine. He was, as we shall see in this series, much more than those ideas! One of the Church Fathers, Anselm, wrote that God’s salvation plan for humans involved triumphant victory over sin, death and the grave. However no person could be found that was eligible or capable to do this.
Because of this, God stepped into human history, so that this victory could be achieved. This God-man would be fully human, so as to live every feature of humanity, including suffering and death. This God-man would also need to remain fully God, so as to defeat sin, death and the grave. Jesus, being sinless, was this God-man, consisting as he did of two complete natures, the God nature and the human nature. That is why Jesus being both fully God and fully human is all important – without either, He could not be the long awaited Messiah and Saviour. That Jesus is both human and divine is what makes Christianity unique amongst the world’s religions. It is why Jesus’ claims to be the only way to God are true and make sense, and it is why millions of people today worship Him and acknowledge Him as their Lord and their God. From what we know of his childhood and early life, we know that he grew in stature and wisdom (Luke 2:52)
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