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Luke 1:3035, 38, 4649; 2:17 comment (0)

December 19, 2013

By Dale Younce

Explore the Bible 
Professor of Christian Ministries, University of Mobile

Celebrate Jesus at Christmas!

Luke 1:30–35, 38, 46–49; 2:1–7   

During the holiday season, many people lose sight of the real significance of Christmas and get lost in the hustle and bustle of the activities. Christmastime gives all adults an opportunity to focus their attention on the true magnificence of the season: a celebration of Jesus’ birth — that is, the coming of God in the flesh to provide a way of salvation for sinners.

Declare Who Jesus Is (1:30–33)

The plan for redemption began to unfold fully when Christ took on human flesh in order to become humanity’s salvation. The opening event was the visit of the angel Gabriel with a young girl and announcing to her that God was choosing her to be the mother of the promised Messiah.

The angel’s announcement contained seven astounding bits of information about the identity of the child. 1) The baby’s genuine humanity: “You will conceive in your womb.” 2) The baby would be male: “and bear a son.” 3) The baby’s mission: “You shall name Him Jesus” (which means “Jehovah is salvation”). 4) The baby’s inherent greatness in His person and His work: “He will be great.” 5) The recognition of the baby’s deity: “and shall be called the Son of the Most High” (the title “Most High” is an Old Testament name for the God of Abraham — Gen. 14:18–22). 6) The baby’s right as Messiah to the throne of David (2 Sam. 7): “the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.” 7) The baby will exercise kingly authority over an eternal and universal kingdom: “He will reign over the house of Jacob forever and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

Appreciate How Jesus Came (1:34–35, 38)

Mary’s question, “How can this be?” was not a question of doubt but one of mechanics. Mary knew how children are conceived; she knew what would happen, but she was asking about how it would happen. In fact, this question was an expression of faith. She had already believed the angel’s message and was now asking for clarification.

The angel’s response was more astonishing than his words about the Baby’s identity. His answer was the virgin birth, more correctly, the virgin conception, a miracle accomplished by God. By His creative act, the Holy Spirit would “overshadow” Mary. That word is used in the Old Testament to indicate the presence, protection and power of God in the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle and in the Temple (Ex. 40:35). Consequently Mary’s baby will be holy and will be called God’s Son.

In quiet submission, Mary yielded herself to the Lord for the accomplishment of His purposes. For every follower of Christ, she is an outstanding example of voluntary obedience to the will of God.

Proclaim God’s Greatness (1:46–49)

In song, Mary proclaimed God’s greatness. The song, called “The Magnificat” (the first word in the Latin translation), is filled with Old Testament quotations, demonstrating that Mary’s mind and heart were filled with God’s Word. She did not see herself as one who bestows blessings but as one who receives blessing. In fact, she knew she was not sinless, but needed God as her Savior.

Welcome Jesus (2:1–7)

Augustus Caesar thought he was demonstrating his supreme authority over the Roman Empire when he ordered a census for the purpose of collecting taxes. This edict required Joseph and Mary to make a 90-mile trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Caesar was the tool God used to get Joseph and Mary to the place the prophet Micah said Messiah would be born (Mic. 5:2).

Arriving in Bethlehem, the couple, with childbirth approaching, found no place to stay except an animal shelter, a stable. So the Sovereign Lord of the universe took to Himself a human body and came into our time/space history as a helpless baby in order to provide salvation by means of His death and resurrection. Happy birthday, Lord Jesus!

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