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062 The Messiah is Born

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord’ Luke 2:11

Key Verse:

“For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich” (2 Cor.8:9)

(Luke 2; Matthew 2)

In the last lesson, in our study in the holy Gospel, we saw how God sent His angel, Gabriel, to the land of the Jews, to the city of Nazareth, to a virgin named Mary. The angel appeared to that virgin to tell her that she would become pregnant by the power and Spirit of God, and give birth to a son and name Him Jesus. Jesus means

the LORD saves.

Thus, we saw that the time for which God’s people had been long awaiting had arrived! The Redeemer, whom God had promised on the day that Adam and Eve sinned, was in the womb of a virgin, about to come into the world! Our lesson today is called

“The Messiah is Born!”

Before we return to the Gospel to see how Jesus the Messiah was born, perhaps we should talk a little about the time in which He was born. The emperor {king} of Rome, Caesar Augustus, was ruling over many countries including the land of the Jews. However, the Roman empire {kingdom} would not hinder God’s plan to send the Redeemer into the world. In fact, God planned to use

the Romans

to fulfil the words of the prophets.

Can you remember the words of the prophet Micah who spoke seven hundred years before the Messiah? Micah announced that the Messiah would be born in

Bethlehem,

the hometown of King David. However, Mary, who would give birth to Jesus, did not live in Bethlehem, but in Nazareth, a city found approximately one hundred and fifty kilometres north of Bethlehem.

How then would the Messiah be born in Bethlehem? Ah, friends, as you know,

nothing is too hard for the LORD God!

He is God, and has the final word concerning everything that takes place on earth.

He knows everything that is going to happen.

In this lesson we will read that, as the time for Mary to give birth drew near, the great emperor of Rome issued a decree, saying: “Let every man and woman go to the city of his ancestors to register there and pay a tax!” This meant that both Mary and Joseph would have to go to Bethlehem, to the city of King David, because they belonged to the descendants of David. Now let us return to the Gospel of Luke, chapter two, and hear how Jesus the Messiah was born in Bethlehem,

exactly as God had promised long before.

The Scripture says: (Luke 2:1,3-7) “And it came to pass, in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be registered … and all went to be registered, everyone into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem (because he was of the house and family of David), to be registered with Mary, his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn”.

We must pause here. Did you notice the circumstances in which the Messiah was born? The Messiah was born as a peasant,

in very lowly circumstances.

He was born in an animal stable, because the inn in Bethlehem was full. The One who was to be the Savior and the Judge of the world was born in a smelly stable! Perhaps some are thinking: “This is incredible! If Jesus is the Saviour of the world and the Lord of glory who will judge all the children of Adam,

why was He not born in a palace,

with great glory, so that everyone might know that He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords?”

Friends, what we must remember is this: God’s thoughts are different from man’s thoughts, and the glory of God is different from the glory of the world. Surely, the birth of Jesus was accompanied by great glory, but most of the children of Adam did not recognize it, because

God’s glory and the world’s glory are so different.

To illustrate what we mean, perhaps you have seen rich people who live in large and beautiful houses, wearing beautiful clothes and living a life of luxury with servants attending to their every desire.

That is the glory of the world.

However, God’s glory is different from the world’s glory. That is why the Messiah, who came from the presence of God, was not born in comfort and luxury. He was not like many rich people who do not understand the misery and hardships of the poor. No. The One whom God sent to rescue the children of Adam from the power of Satan and sin was born in lowly circumstances,

even in a stable!

Thus, no one can say that the Messiah came only to save the wealthy, or that He doesn’t understand the feelings of the poor. God wants everyone to know that the Redeemer whom He sent came into the world to deliver everyone who believes in Him–old and young, men and women, rich and poor, free and slave. Thus the Scripture says: 

“For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich” (2 Cor. 8:9)

Now let us continue in the story of the birth of the Messiah and read the most wonderful part.

On the night that Jesus was born in a stable,

God sent His angels to some shepherds who were watching their flocks in the fields surrounding Bethlehem. Listen to how God made known to them the good news about the birth of the Messiah.

The Scripture says: (Luke 2:8-20) “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, an angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were very much afraid. 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, who is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes,

lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known to us. And

they came with haste,

and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But

Mary kept all these things,

and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them”.

To whom did God first make known the good news about the birth of the Messiah? Did He give the good news to the Roman emperor, the wealthy, or the religious leaders? No. God first announced the news of the Messiah’s birth to

the shepherds,

the humble shepherds who were waiting for Him to come! How thrilled the shepherds were to see the baby Jesus!

What a privilege!

They had seen the One about whom all the prophets wrote: the Messiah, the Savior of the world, the Eternal Word of God wrapped in the tiny body of a baby!

Continuing in the Gospel, let us see what happened about one year after Jesus was born. We have just heard how God announced the birth of Jesus to some peasants by His angels which appeared in the sky. Now we are going to hear how God announced the Messiah’s birth to some Magi {or wisemen} by a large and beautiful star which appeared in the sky. Listen to what is written in Matthew 2.

The Scripture says: (Matt. 2:1-12) “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod, the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying,

Where is he that is born King of the Jews?

For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod, the king, heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where the Christ should be born. And they said unto him,

In Bethlehem of Judea;

for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah; for out of thee shall come a Governor that shall rule my people, Israel. Then Herod, when he had privately called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again,

that I may come and worship him also.

(However, in his heart, King Herod planned to kill the child, for he did not want anyone to be king, except himself!). When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star,

they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary, his mother, and fell down,

and worshipped him;

and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts: gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way”.

That, in brief, is the story of the birth of the Messiah. What can we say about all we have read? One thing we can say with certainty is that the birth of Jesus, the Messiah, is unequalled in the history of the world! Among all the prophets and kings and peoples of the world,

never has another been as Jesus was born!

* We have seen that the Messiah was born of a virgin, by the power of God, exactly as God’s prophets had prophesied.

* We have learned that Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem, just as the prophet Micah had announced some seven hundred years earlier.

* We also saw how God sent His angels in glory from heaven to some shepherds to make the good news known to them, saying: “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you;

he is Christ, the Lord!”

* Then we saw how a multitude of angels appeared with the first angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests!”

* We also saw that God placed a great star in the sky to announce to some wisemen who lived in a far away land, that the Messiah, the King of kings, the Saviour of sinners had been born!

Friends, what then shall we say about all of this? We can say this: No man has ever been born like this Man.

Jesus’ birth is unique.

Concerning His birth, Jesus is incomparable! We cannot compare Him with others. Jesus was more than a prophet. He is the One of whom all the prophets spoke.

He is the Messiah from heaven!

If Jesus were simply a prophet among many prophets, then why did all of God’s prophets announce His coming before He was born? Why did the angels come down from heaven to celebrate His birth? If Jesus were merely a prophet among many prophets, then why did God place a great star in the sky to proclaim His birth? And

for what reason was He born of a virgin?

May you carefully consider these important questions to which God wants to give you answers.

In the next lesson, God willing, we will see how Jesus the Messiah began His ministry upon earth.

God bless you as you think upon the angel’s message to the shepherds: 

“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, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10,11)

We would invite you to answer the questions attached and send them together with any questions that you might have